The QWork Future

Where awesome workplaces grow.

Don’t Launch an Engagement Survey if You Haven’t Done This

/ 9.12.16




"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare." - Japanese proverb

Strategy. Tactics. When it comes to your employee engagement efforts, do you know the difference?


Strategy – the “what;” the vision

What are you trying to accomplish? What do you want the result of this initiative to be?

“In life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goalposts are.”

- Arnold H. Glasgow


Tactics – the “how;” the action

How will you accomplish your strategy? How will you make decisions?

“A strategy, even a great one, doesn’t implement itself.”

- Jeroen De Flander


An engagement survey falls into the tactic category. Your employee engagement survey questions, by themselves, are not a strategy. They are merely a means (tactic) to an end (strategy). While a company would ideally have their strategy before contacting an employee engagement survey vendor, that vendor is doing you a disservice if they aren’t challenging you to think strategically. When the vendor knows your strategy, they can help you choose the tactics that best match what you’re looking to accomplish.


So what should you consider when thinking about strategy?


What is the purpose of this engagement survey?

“We care about the opinions of our employees!” is one of many valid answers, but what will you do with those opinions? If employees rate trust in leadership, career development opportunities, or recognition measures unfavorably, what is the organization willing to change? Instead of just focusing on the survey-fielding period, it’s critical that organizations have a long-term plan for the engagement survey results.


What’s in it for employees?

We recommend keeping an engagement survey short and sweet. At most, it should take employees 10 minutes to complete. Regardless, you’re asking employees to take time from their day to complete something on the organization’s behalf. If they truly give you their honest feedback, what can they expect in return? (And we don’t just mean pizza parties to celebrate survey participation.)


What are our roles?

Who’s responsible for employee engagement? Leaders? Managers? What about employees? The most engaged organizations understand that everyone plays a role in owning and influencing engagement. Everyone in your organization needs to clearly understand the role they play and what they are accountable for when it comes to engagement.


If your organization doesn’t have clear answers to the questions above, consider partnering with a vendor who can offer strategic advice. An engagement survey is a financial investment, but done right, it’s also an investment into your employees and organizational culture. Take the time to think through your organization’s position on the above questions before launching an engagement survey. A clearly stated strategy will help you build a smarter communication plan, drive stronger survey participation, build internal buy-in, and increase the likelihood of engagement growth. 


Determining a clear strategic direction can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. Click below to receive a free consultation on your employee engagement strategy from one of our QWirks.





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