Why conduct employee engagement surveys?
We all know that employee engagement is key to a successful business – after all the businesses with the most engaged workforces are the ones who are producing better business outcomes, regardless of other factors such as industry, company size and current economic outlook.
So understanding how motivated your team is to do a good job will give you plenty of opportunities to look at ways to increase motivation. If you’re not aware that some staff may be disengaged, demotivated and generally not want to be at work, then the chances are your company is significantly under-performing.
But how do you go about measuring how engaged your staff are? The most common method of measuring engagement is through an engagement survey – which will help you gather the insight you need to better understand what is important to your employees, how engaged they are in their roles, and the key drivers that you could use to boost engagement.
Why conduct an employee engagement survey?
There are many reasons why employee engagement surveys are a crucial tool in any workplace – some of the most important are:
Giving employees a voice:
There’s little point in implementing methods that you think will drive engagement if you’ve not asked the question to the people who really matter. Engagement surveys provide your team with a voice, to feedback on how they’re feeling, what motivates them and crucially actively involves them in the engagement process from the outset.
Understand what drives individuals:
An employee engagement survey will allow you not only to understand how engaged or otherwise workers are but also what drives them to do a good job. This information is invaluable in helping you shape how you motivate staff.
If you can understand the state of your team’s engagement today, then you have the benchmark to then measure the outcomes of any changes you make. Making changes without fully being aware of how to measure their impact means you’ll never be able to determine what’s effective in motivating staff and what’s not.
An employee survey will give you the opportunity to gain employee-focused data – for example, which teams are under the most pressure, what employees are looking for a new challenge, and how committed individuals are. This can help you to redirect resources, provide additional training or support or spot opportunities for employees who will benefit from stepping up or having a mentor.
If you’re still wondering why do an employee satisfaction survey then consider this: if you don’t know what’s wrong with your team, how can you fix it. Knowledge is, after all, power.
How to conduct an employee engagement survey?
The first step in planning an employee engagement survey is to drill down into the specifics: what are you measuring and how are you measuring it.
It’s unlikely you’re going to be able to measure every aspect of employee engagement so start by determining what is most important – is it how happy employees are? Is it what they feel could be improved? Is it their motivation to turn up every day? Employee surveys will also typically touch on physical and emotional wellbeing, psychological security and the level of their daily, weekly and monthly performance. Don’t feel that you have to tackle all of these at once: focus on the most pressing issue to start, or do a general survey that will help you focus on key areas for future surveys.
Once you know what you’re measuring, you can determine how you’re measuring it. If you’re looking at engagement as a whole, then open-ended questions work well and they give the employee the opportunity to open up. Multiple choice questions will help define the parameters you’re measuring and will be more specific.
The general consensus is that the surveys should be regularly administered – many companies opt for pulse surveys, which allows them to regularly monitor the workforce and keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening. Annual surveys are being phased out, as they’re considered too irregular to help improve business outcomes.
You may meet some resistance from staff who ask ‘are employee surveys really confidential?’ You’ll need to reassure your team that surveys are confidential, and data anonymised in order to get the most useful feedback.
Act on the results
So now you know why to conduct an employee engagement survey and how to conduct an employee engagement survey. But the final step is to act on the results from the survey.
If you’ve taken the time to carry out the survey, and convinced your staff to do it, you now need to show them that their voice matters. Are there recurring themes that need your attention? Are more than half of your staff claiming they’re unhappy? The survey should have hopefully presented some opportunities for you to power up engagement. So spend some time creating your next steps based on the issues being reported.