Don't Make This Mistake With Your Employee Engagement Survey

by Dora Wang on Jan 5, 2015 2:00:00 PM

What You Should Do Before Introducing Employee Engagement SurveysIf you want to make sure your employees are happy, you should ask them, right? That’s the idea behind employee engagement surveys and all the people who advise you to use them. And it’s true: surveys get you a ton of useful data about the workforce.

So why shouldn't you jump right in and send out your first questionnaire? There’s actually something really important that you have to do first.

What’s Your Game Plan?

In a nutshell, you can’t start an employee engagement survey before you plan your next step. Not exactly, of course—you don’t know what the responses will say yet! But you need to know how you will process the feedback and figure out how to respond to it.

Without this preparation, you actually run the risk of your survey making things worse. Take a look at employee engagement levels based on what happens after the survey:
  • Before surveys are started, 27% of employees are engaged
  • If the survey is followed up with action, engagement increases to 47%
  • But if the survey is not followed up with action, engagement drops to 24%

When you send out a survey, you have to be prepared to take the feedback seriously and make changes. Otherwise, it might be seen as nothing more than lip service toward engagement. The result? Employees who feel betrayed by an empty promise—and end up feeling less engaged than they did before you did anything at all.

How To Know Where To Go

If you want to figure out how to respond to employee feedback, tap into your biggest resource: your employees! Make sure your engagement survey includes places to write in suggestions. It’s even better if this is part of each separate topic.

Letting employees give their input shows them that they have a say in what happens next. They know that their survey responses won’t just get tallied up as a set of “strongly agree”s or “strongly disagree”s. It also shows that you value their perspective and ideas on issues that matter to them.

Of course, a pile of suggestions from each member of your company can be overwhelming you and your team leaders. Don’t let the responses build up into a giant project you won’t have the time or energy to handle. It’s in your best interest to go for short and frequent surveys that bring back data in manageable chunks.

When employees know that a survey is coming every month or even every week—rather than once a year—they’ll feel better knowing they won’t have to wait for months and months to address problems. And when you show that solutions will happen in real time, you’ll be rewarded with happier, more engaged employees.



Free Guide to Pulsing Employee Surveys

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This post was written by Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement researcher for TINYpulse and managing editor of TINYinstitute. Having grown up in Texas, she is now firmly settled in Seattle, where she spends her free time reading comic books, wrangling her three cats, and (of course) rooting for the Seahawks.

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