You know the scenario – you’ve collected employee engagement feedback for several years. It has resulted in some changes but now the process has seemed to have lost its energy. Leaders essentially know what topics will emerge as key drivers, but they’re not sure how to do more than they already have. They view the survey has an HR-driven, check-the-box exercise.
We see this happen particularly when organizations are focused on the survey and not on how to use the feedback as a strategic tool. Here are a few common practices that can detract from interest and momentum from the employee engagement survey:
-Organizations are locked into the same survey questions from year to year. There is more of
a focus on trending than there is on the issues that are most relevant to the workforce today.
-Survey vendors are stringent about what questions can be asked and the exact wording. The
result is the survey is not a strong reflection of the culture and values of the organization.
-The entire organization has to use the same survey tool. As a result, leaders feel
disconnected from the feedback because it does not address their specific goals and challenges.
-The focus is on getting detailed action plans logged into a complicated online tool, as opposed to
incorporating action into regular methods for driving performance goals and accountability. The
result is that “engagement” feels like an initiative that is separate from the other important work of the
While the survey process may be tired, that doesn’t mean that employee feedback is not still valuable. Here are some ways Newmeasures clients are breathing new life into their employee engagement survey.
-Address strategic initiatives. Rather than being tied to the traditional topics of employee
engagement, use the survey as an opportunity to collect feedback on the most relevant issues. Is your
organization struggling with innovation? Focus the survey on what gets in the way. Are you perplexed as to
why customer satisfaction scores are stagnant? Ask employees to weigh in.
-Ask leaders what they want to know. Start the survey process by asking each department
leader about the top 3 issues that they are concerned with and then craft survey items to address those
issues. Use branching technology to ask each employee the questions that are relevant to their department.
The process of simply asking each leader what is most important can be an eye-opening exercise in and of
itself. In addition, leaders are more interested in seeing the survey results because it helps them lead
better and accomplish their goals.
-Dive into key topics. If you have surveyed for the last few years and you are starting to
see a common trend in engagement drivers, why not dig deeper into that topic? For example, if you know that
“trust in management” is an ongoing concern, you may ask more specific questions about where the break down
in trust stems from.
-Check in. It is common practice for organizations to wait a year or more between surveys.
This makes it difficult to understand if change efforts are working and if new issues have emerged. A great
way to use a pulse survey is to focus in on key topics. For example, if the organization has been working on
improving conflict management, a 5 item survey to check in on progress can be incredibly valuable.
The bottom-line is that it is time to stop being locked into a standard, one-size fits all survey process and start asking for feedback that will provide useful intelligence to the organization.
Contact us at Newmeasures to find out how we can help you breathe new life into your employee engagement survey.