Inside Out E-Column: Aligning Employee Engagement with Marketing Communications

Why NOT to Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey

With all of the fervor that organizations have around employee engagement surveys, how many of them ever stop to take a deep, serious look at why they’re doing them?  Even more to the point, why should organizations consider NOT doing them?

Here’s one good reason.

Don’t even think about conducting an engagement survey unless you plan to do something substantive and meaningful with the information your employees have given you. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize it’s usually counter-productive to ask someone their opinion if you don’t have a sincere interest in responding to what they have to say.

Employees want to know you’re genuinely interested in their opinions and that you are not simply conducting a survey so the company can give the appearance that “they care.” If people feel you’ve falsely raised their hopes and wasted their time in asking for their opinion without a plan of action from what you learn, they are unlikely to participate next time around or give thoughtful responses if they do.

Organizations can take several steps throughout the survey process to develop confidence and trust with employees. These steps are especially important if people feel that previous surveys have done little to improve the work environment.

Before the survey:

  • Explain the survey’s purpose and expectations
  • Describe how participation will benefit both the employee and the organization
  • Identify the survey provider you are working with, and outline the methods and process they will follow to protect the employee’s identity
  • Introduce the survey with timeframes for what will happen and when
  • Develop a plan for how you will evaluate results and consider corrective actions

After the survey:

  • Communicate survey findings while the survey is still fresh in the employee’s mind
  • Review results in structured discussion sessions – don’t send results in an e-mail or present them at a town hall meeting
  • Involve employees in planning how to use the findings
  • Implement action plans to make indicated changes and improvements
  • Evaluate results of action plans
  • Report on what has worked and what hasn’t worked with improvement efforts, and describe adjustments that will be made

Finally, be sure to work with a professional service that doesn’t just simply pull standard questions off the shelf. It takes thoughtful customization to get a survey right for your individual culture. If you’re looking for a first-rate survey firm to help you do it right, contact Opinions Incorporated, and they’ll help you make sure that employees feel it was genuinely worth their while to participate.

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