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How to Launch a Successful Employee Engagement Survey

/ 4.9.19

how to launch a successful employee engagement surveyOrganizational leaders can leverage employee engagement surveys to better the workplace and create an environment where employees thrive. These surveys are not the only key to the employee experience puzzle, though.

There is a lot that goes into launching a successful engagement survey, beginning with crafting a thoughtful vision and truly preparing the organization for the survey and the changes to come based off its results. 

Employee engagement surveys alone are not going to solve a problem. But with thoughtful implementation, they can be a means (tactic) of reaching a goal (strategy) to help you reach an ideal state (vision).


Setting a Clear Vision

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."


This Japanese proverb highlights the importance of balancing vision with action – neither are successful without the other. Similarly, in terms of employee engagement, organizations need to balance strategies with tactics in order to fulfill their vision.


Before launching an employee engagement survey, it’s crucial to define what your organization is looking for in terms of employee engagement. In other words, what do you want your employees to experience while at work? A vision is a timeless, internally-generated, broad image of an end goal. Once defined, strategies link the vision with current reality, while tactics lay out specific action for achieving strategic goals.


Free ebook download! Employee Surveys That Work



Strategies are big picture approaches to help you bridge the gap from current state to ideal state. Strategies should be broad goals that focus on achieving the end results of your vision. In order to choose a successful strategy, it's important to keep your vision in mind. 


While your vision can be somewhat aspirational and idealistic, your strategies should not be. Strategies should be framed as realistic, achievable, and measurable goals.



Once you've clearly defined a strategy, you can brainstorm methods of reaching your strategic goals. Tactics answer the detailed question of “how will you accomplish your strategy?” by defining actionable steps to help you get there.


Envisioning an end goal is easy. Determining how to get there is the hard part. But fear not! Here are three tips and tricks to make the tactic-setting process easy:

  • Tactics, like strategies, need to be realistic and achievable. Orient tactics toward smaller steps to make them less daunting.
  • Make sure your tactics actually relate to and assist in reaching your strategy.
  • Remember that tactics may change, and that’s okay. It’s easier to adjust your tactics than it is to change your whole strategy, so keep an open mind when trying to accomplish goals.

Putting it all Together

Now that we’ve discussed the general meanings and uses of visions, strategies, and tactics, let’s apply them to employee engagement in an example scenario:


An organization wants to improve their employees’ engagement, and they know that one of the biggest influences on employee engagement is employees’ relationships with their managers. Here's how a vision, strategies, and tactics might play out in this scenario:

  • Vision: Develop a culture where employees can connect with and grow from one another.
  • Strategy: Ensure each employee has a unique, meaningful relationship with their manager within the next year.
  • Tactic: Deploy an employee engagement survey focused on the employee-manager relationship to gather overall perceptions and collect ideas.

Once you’ve put a lot of thought into clearly defining and stating your vision, strategy, and tactics, you’re ready to switch gears to the actual planning of the survey launch (the fun part!).


6 Things to Consider Before Launching an Employee Survey 

The preparation step of launching an engagement survey is often overlooked, which limits the benefits that can come from it. We’re here to make sure you avoid that. The recommendations below will ensure a successful launch of your survey and (more importantly) that you’re prepared to act upon its results.


1. Understand who is responsible for employee engagement.

Trick question, everyone is involved! The most engaged organizations understand that everyone plays a role in owning and influencing engagement. Leadership should drive the vision and strategies, managers should strive for meaningful interactions with employees, and employees should provide honest feedback.


2. Discuss what your organization is willing to change.

In order to truly address employee concerns or complaints, your organization must be willing to change. Before launching the survey, determine the volume of change you’re willing to make. This way, when employees rate an item unfavorably, you know what an actionable plan to address it might look like.


3. Build an employee-friendly survey.

Remember that you’re taking time from employees’ days to complete something on the organization’s behalf. At most, it should take employees 10 minutes to complete the engagement survey. The survey should also include thoughtfully-constructed questions as well as an easy-to-navigate format.


4. Keep the end game in mind.

Focusing on the end game can help inform the survey questions you choose, which ensures you’re capturing the right data to provide valuable insights and drive meaningful change. Questions should be geared toward your vision and getting to your ideal state. 


5. Create a solid survey communication plan.

An employee engagement survey is only as good as the communication plan that supports it. Before the survey, make sure to give employees a heads-up of the survey and its purpose.

Once results are in, determine steps to address responses, what to prioritize, and then inform employees of any changes they can expect, short-term and long-term. This shows employees that even though it may take time for changes to be completely implemented and adopted, their responses are being acted upon. 

Also, keep your employees informed about progress on changes to remind them why they participated in the survey in the first place. This will help encourage them to provide more honest feedback in the future.


6. Consider partnering with a vendor.

Planning for and launching an employee engagement survey can be a time-suck if you don’t have the right tools. With the help of an experienced survey vendor, you can save time and maximize your employee survey initiative.


Survey software allows you to build your survey with pre-built, tried and true survey questions, significantly reducing the time it takes you to build and launch a survey. Software also ensures your survey is easy-to-use, allows you to customize your survey as needed, and helps you easily translate data into insights with endless capabilities to slice-and-dice responses. 



Overall, a clearly stated vision, strategies, and tactics will help you maximize your employee survey efforts by helping you establish a meaningful purpose, driving stronger survey participation, building internal buy-in, and increasing the likelihood of engagement growth. Now that you’re up to speed on the planning of an employee engagement survey, we’ve got tips on how to successfully conduct it

Free ebook! The Complete Guide to Conducting an Employee Engagement Survey



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