7 Reasons Employee Surveys Fail (And How to Prevent Them)

We've reached the point where most organizations understand the importance of prioritizing employee engagement and conducting engagement surveys - but that doesn't mean they're all great at it yet. Lots of surveys fall flat for a variety of reasons, and some of these failures actually decrease engagement, the exact opposite of the survey's original intent. 

We've come up with seven reasons that employee engagement surveys fail and come up with solutions on how to combat them. 

Free ebook download!: Conducting an Employee Engagement Survey   

1. Lack of communication



Communication is a key component to the success of your employee engagement survey. At minimum, communicate during the three phases below:

  • Before: make sure your employees know what the survey is about and what it will be used for.
  • During: continually promote the survey while it’s open to maximize employee participation.
  • After: communicate the results on a team level and lay out a detailed plan for action. Continually update employees on actions taken based on survey results so they see the follow-up.

 2. You don’t hire an expert



Employee buy-in comes hand in hand with them trusting the survey process. Working with a trusted third party helps reassure your employees that their feedback is confidential. Plus, you’ll have a better experience working with someone who believes in what they’re selling and truly understands the impact of an engaged culture.

Make sure your partner meets these must-have criteria to get the most out of your investment.


3. Lack of senior leadership buy-in



It all starts at the top. If leadership doesn’t convey the importance of the survey and make it a priority, that attitude will trickle down to managers and employees, leaving the entire process a waste.

Need help getting leadership support? Check out page 30 of 15 Challenges to Implementing an Employee Engagement Survey and How to Overcome Them.


4. You don’t ask the right questions



Do your survey items even measure employee engagement? Use a proven survey to get an accurate read on your organization’s level of employee engagement. Then, add customized questions and open-ended items to cater to your culture.


5. You don’t understand your results



Your survey results don’t have to be scary or overwhelming. Find a partner that provides you with simple, intuitive reporting


6. No post-survey action



Employee engagement surveys are only as good as the action that follows. Look for practical solutions that empower managers to act on their survey results.


7. You don’t survey again



Surveys are most successful when done consistently. After this year’s survey, commit to a year-long strategy to increase engagement and make your workplace better. Then survey again next year to measure improvements and identify any setbacks.  

It’s true…employee surveys do sometimes fail. Make sure yours doesn’t by avoiding the seven reasons above. Looking for an online platform that will ensure survey success? Schedule a demo with one of our talented engagement experts to get a taste of the power correctly-run surveys can have.

Employee Engagement Software Built for Managers

Published June 28, 2016 | Written By Libby Duong