Lots of businesses have woken up to the importance of employee engagement. It’s not just the latest fad or trend. In fact, the evidence is irrefutable: employee engagement can increase productivity and profitability. What’s more, happy and engaged employees are less likely to take time off work in sickness and absence leave and are also less likely to change jobs. All this adds up to more dollars in the bank and a better bottom line for your business. But how do you get started on improving employee engagement? Well, an employee engagement survey is a great place to start. Not only will you be sending an important message to staff about the value you place on employee engagement as an issue and your willingness to listen to staff members, but you’ll also be setting a benchmark as to where you’re at so you can keep track of progress. In this article, we help you kick-start employee engagement by taking you through what’s involved in developing an employee engagement survey.
Why An Employee Engagement Survey?
Before you can move forward with employee engagement, it’s important to have an understanding of where you are at. An employee engagement survey will help you understand staff members’ levels of contentment and satisfaction with their job roles and with the organization. It will, therefore, set an important benchmark as well as providing you with important comparative data moving forward.
Employee Engagement Survey: The Options
If you try googling ‘employee engagement survey’ you’ll find there’s a whole host of online tools and providers out there so you can either engage an expert or go down the do-it-yourself route. Contracting out the survey is a good idea if you have limited internal resources available and time is an issue. There will, however, be a price tag involved but it may be worth it if the internal expertise just isn’t there.
Alternatively, you could download a template from the internet and adapt it to your organization’s needs. SurveyMonkey has developed a useful template which you can access by creating an account with them. And here’s another template that may also spark some ideas.
It is also possible to draw up your own survey and publish it on the company intranet. It may seem a daunting prospect but we’ll take you through some tips for writing questions later on in this post. The great advantage of developing a bespoke survey is that you can ask questions and elicit information that is pertinent to your business. And publishing it on the intranet is the perfect medium given that staff are already using the platform on a daily basis and so you’re likely to receive a high participation rate.
It goes without saying that the survey needs to be anonymous so that employees feel at liberty to really speak their minds. And for more in-depth analysis and consultation you could supplement the survey with some staff focus groups.
Whatever option you end up choosing, it’s essential to repeat the survey regularly so that you can chart your progress and keep tabs on any underlying trends. Employee engagement is after all not just a one-off project, it should be a continuous and holistic part of any business’s operations. So plan to repeat your survey at least biannually and ideally annually.
Employee Engagement Survey: Relevant Questions
Crafting relevant questions can be a challenging task. Start off by considering what areas you want the survey to cover. Most businesses like to consider the key drivers of employee engagement and so include questions to draw out information on the following areas:
employee satisfaction not only with their jobs but also with the tools provided to get the job done
- relationships with line managers as well as colleagues
- opportunities for professional development and career advancement
- influences on employee retention
- understanding of the company’s vision, values and culture.
Once you’ve identified the main sections of your survey it’s time to craft the actual questions. Try and stick to closed questions rather than open-ended ones requiring comments and free text boxes.This will make the task of analyzing the results much easier. For example, asking the question ‘what makes you feel happy at work’ is likely to result in a wide range of responses which will take time to analyze and organize into a format that you can use. It’s a much better option to ask a closed question such as ‘on a scale of 1-5, how happy are you at work’. The resulting information from this question is more readily usable and makes it much easier to compare the results over time.
A number of organizations provide guidance on developing a set of questions. Gallup, for instance, has come up with a core set of questions and the organization Engage for Success has a similar list of central questions that you can simply use or adapt for your own purposes. Forbes has taken a different viewpoint and has come with a list of questions that you shouldn’t be asking.
The bottom line though is to keep the survey as short as possible. You are far more likely to get a good response rate with a short, concise survey that takes two minutes to fill in than a long one that just leaves the user groaning with the effort of completing it!
Feedback To Staff On The Results
Once you’ve completed the survey, it’s critical to report back to staff members on the results. Afterall, an employee engagement survey that fails to then engage with employees is quite frankly missing the mark! The company intranet can make this task much easier too and here are some very practical ways the intranet can help:
Publish the results on the intranet’s news feed
- Set up a blog for staff to discuss the survey and share ideas on ways forward
- Create an online intranet form for staff to contribute bright ideas or provide feedback
- Develop an action plan and publish on the intranet
- Provide regular updates on the action plan
- Conduct intranet mini surveys around specific issues or teams.
Employee Engagement: It’s Time To Act
Improved productivity, increased profitability, reduced staff turnover and absenteeism: with so much at stake, it’s time to make sure your business is on top of employee engagement. An employee engagement survey will help to kick-start the process in your business. As well as sending an important message to staff about your commitment to the issue, it will also provide you with that all-important baseline assessment as well as ideas on how to take employee engagement forward within your organization. The time to act really is now.