Moving the needle on employee engagement begins with understanding employee feedback. The best tool for understanding employee feedback is an employee engagement survey.
An employee engagement survey can help you understand key business obstacles and opportunities. Done thoughtfully and consistently, it offers critical insights that can make or break your success as a company.
This article will help organizational leaders and human resources professionals understand the what, why, and how of using employee engagement surveys to better your business.
Employee engagement is defined as the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their work, team, and organization. Employee engagement measures how employees feel about their organization.
Employee engagement is important to employee, team, and business success. It impacts key business metrics like employee retention, recruitment, productivity, and profitability.
Employee engagement surveys help organizations measure employee engagement—to make it more tangible. They help organizational leaders:
A traditional employee engagement survey happens once a year. It includes all employees. This type of employee survey is helpful in understanding employee engagement trends. It helps create organizational and team benchmarks to track nuances over time.
A traditional employee engagement survey shouldn’t be the only way you collect employee feedback. The most common types of employee surveys include:
An employee engagement survey is a critical part of your employee listening strategy.
It’s impossible for leaders to have an intimate conversation with every employee—especially in today’s remote/hybrid workplace.
Your engagement survey is a simple medium for employees and leaders to converse. Employees can easily voice their thoughts and feelings about their workplace experience.
Employee engagement surveys (and the insights and strategies that come from them) can have a huge impact on business success. With trending data, market benchmarks, and robust reporting, an engagement survey helps you:
Developing an actionable employee engagement survey involves thoughtful survey design. Here are some tips from our employee engagement experts:
The purpose of an employee engagement survey is to measure the connection employees have toward their work, team, and organization—and examine the factors that influence it.
It might be tempting to combine multiple employee surveys or questions or to dive deeply into a particular topic. But this can confuse employees about the purpose of the survey. It also makes it more difficult to act on employee feedback.
Employee demographics help you sort your data and identify trends among different employee groups. Set up demographics like:
More demographics aren’t always better. Avoid including demographics that you don’t plan to analyze. Too many demographics can lead to more work for those analyzing and acting on the survey results, which can decrease likeliness of successful follow-up.
Your employee engagement survey questions should include a mix of engagement outcomes and potential impact questions.
Engagement outcomes provide you with a robust measure of engagement. Examples of engagement outcomes include:
Impact questions cover important topics that help you assess which areas have the biggest impact on engagement at your organization. Topics should include:
Career growth and development
Communication and resources
Check out these blog posts for more employee survey question inspiration:
The length of your survey usually determines the time it will take your employees to complete it. It also sets the tone for how much feedback you’ll need to act on.
The most effective employee engagement surveys include 30-40 questions. This length allows you to cover all necessary topics without taking up too much of your employees’ time.
When it comes time to launch your employee engagement survey, there’s a few key considerations to keep in mind.
Our research shows that annual employee engagement surveys alone are insufficient. Employees who are surveyed more regularly have higher engagement. However, employees who are surveyed monthly are most likely to say that their organization sends too many surveys.
There’s a delicate balance between effective, continuous listening and survey fatigue.
How often you survey your employees is up to you, but these recommendations will increase the likelihood of your success.
Only measure what you can act on.
If you can’t take action on something, don’t ask about it. When you ask your employees for feedback on any given topic, be prepared to act.
Communication is one of the most overlooked and under-executed elements of the survey process. Done well, your employee engagement survey communication can:
Poor communication can result in damaging and costly consequences, such as low response rates, distrust, confusion, decreased morale, and disengagement.
We recommend a 3x3x3 model for survey communication, including:
Engagement surveys, like any other organizational initiative, take time, energy, and resources. They’re an investment—one that you can’t afford to take lightly.
Naturally, you’ll want your survey response rate to be high. But also be realistic. A good response rate is usually somewhere between:
If your response rate is low, you might be wondering how to increase employee engagement survey participation. Here’s a few tips to help your employee engagement survey response rate:
Your employee engagement survey results are in. It’s time for your employee engagement survey analysis. Use these tips to measure employee engagement and improve it.
If your organization’s survey response rate is at or above average, that’s great. If it’s below average or has declined since your last engagement survey, make sure employees understand how their feedback is being used to make your organization better.
Understanding favorability gives you a high-level view of your organization’s engagement. Favorability is the combination of responses that are either “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” across all survey questions. An overall favorability of 70% or higher is healthy.
Send a quick reminder email to get employees excited for the survey, and to reinforce your intentionsYour drivers of engagement are your organization’s custom recipe for improving engagement. These are the survey questions that have the biggest impact on your organization’s engagement levels. Understand which drivers are most and least favorable.
By adding a comparison, you can easily see which survey question results stayed the same or changed since your last survey. Do the questions that have improved align with recent efforts? Are the questions that declined related to any recent changes or challenges?
Find a survey provider that allows you to compare to external benchmarks. This will help you understand where you might have a competitive advantage or where you’re falling short.
Slice and dice your data to compare different demographics within your organization. This can help you understand where perceptions overlap or differ.
Open-ended survey questions give employees an opportunity to share examples and context. These comments can help you better understand the numeric data trends.
Our research shows that 61% of employees expect action based on employee survey results. But less than half of employees (48%) say this is actually happening.
Bottom line—if results aren’t acted on, there’s little reason to survey. You’ll risk disengaging your employees and losing their enthusiasm and openness for future surveys.
When thinking about how to improve engagement in your organization, look at the organizational, team, and individual levels. Choose one or two areas that you want to improve and take action.
Here’s a roadmap you can follow to determine your employee engagement action plan.
To really reap the benefits of an employee engagement survey you need to have a tool that works for you, rather than creating more work. Employee engagement survey software can help you make sense of complex and changing employee needs.
Finding the right employee engagement survey software involves extensive research, leadership buy-in, and a true understanding of your organization’s wants and needs. For such a big decision it's important to not just shop for software, but a solution.
Take the time to examine your organization’s strategic objectives. Choose a partner that brings you closer to achieving those goals—now and in the future. Consider these elements when choosing your employee engagement survey vendor:
An employee engagement survey is just one of many items on your checklist. Your survey partner should be respectful of your time and help you efficiently launch a survey.
Your survey partner should provide you with tips and templates for effectively communicating about your survey, monitoring progress in real-time, and following up on survey results.
Your employee engagement survey vendor should be clear and responsive about progress on your launch, timeline, and questions or concerns along the way.
Here are a few questions to use to evaluate your partner:
Archaic and inefficient reporting will hold your organization back from timely action. Your survey partner should provide an online system that makes it easy for your leaders to:
Your survey vendor should offer training and resources to identify where to focus your efforts and create action plans. The better equipped your team is when it comes to using the tools, interpreting data, and taking action, the faster you can create an engaged workplace.
Your survey partner should provide a variety of listening opportunities to support your organization’s unique engagement strategy, including:
You’ll want to understand how you measure up when it comes to employee engagement. Find a survey vendor that includes external benchmarks like industry and company size.
An HRIS integration helps maintain accurate data in real-time for the rest of your internal applications, organizational structure shifts, and more.
Your survey partner should provide best practice templates, advice, and alerts to coach managers to follow-up on survey results. Look for a partner that provides training, resources, and a simple manager dashboard that includes features like:
Your survey partner should have a critical vision for what’s next in employee engagement. They should continuously share those ideas and resources with you. You want a vendor who’s just as invested in helping your employees, teams, and organization be successful as you are.
Quantum Workplace’s employee engagement survey platform makes aggregating, analyzing, and acting on company-wide feedback a breeze for everyone involved, including:
Learn more about our employee engagement survey software, or schedule a demo today.
To hit the ground running with your continuous employee listening strategy, download our ebook, The Complete Guide to Conducting an Employee Engagement Survey.