Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or an indie startup, your company will fail to thrive unless you have tenacious, passionate, and engaged team members. Engaged employees produce higher-quality output, are more loyal and productive, and are more likely to stay with the organisation for longer.
And yet, an overwhelming number of people still feel disengaged at work. According to Gallup’s “State of the Global Workplace” report, a startling 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. That’s a pretty heavy statistic and one that clearly demonstrates how the majority of employers only pay lip service to employee engagement and do little to address it.
But don’t worry; there are ways to turn the tide around and make things better. The first step is to assess where your company is at. A staff engagement survey is a low-cost and straightforward approach to learning how your staffers see their job, how they feel about their work, and how they perceive your firm.
Let’s go over the basics of staff engagement surveys and what they can do for your employees and your business as a whole.
Why should you do a staff engagement survey?
Generic employee feedback gets boring fast and often seems like a hassle to fill out. Employee engagement surveys, on the other hand, are intended to be both practical and motivational. This makes them the perfect tool for driving measurable change in your company’s culture.
These surveys give you an in-depth look into what’s working and what isn’t with your employees and business as a whole. That way, you can translate talking points into real-world action items.
How to structure an effective employee engagement survey?
When engagement surveys ask questions that are too broad, the result can be low employee response rates. Additionally, if your survey is too long to be taken seriously, it may not produce accurate results or capture the information you need to make a decision.
In order to make your staff engagement survey actionable and easy to complete, abide by these key suggestions.
Ask the right questions
One of the many challenges of staff engagement surveys is ensuring that the information you get is actually useful. It’s all about knowing how to ask questions the right way, and to do that, you need to research how others have done it before.
Over time, with trial and error, you’ll develop a comprehensive engagement survey that hits all the right points.
Make it easier to access the survey
No one likes putting in the effort to complete surveys, and the easier you can make it for users, the better. That is where QR code generators come in handy.
QR codes give access to a secure feedback system that works very much like a conventional survey distribution method but with fewer hassles since respondents don’t necessarily have to provide contact details or type in complex URLs.
Keep the survey short and sweet
It may seem counterintuitive to keep the survey short, especially since you’re likely looking for a detailed report of your employees’ feelings and thoughts about your organisation.
But the reality is that if an employee spends longer than 30 minutes on a survey, they’ll get bored and frustrated, leaving many responses blank or otherwise incorrect. So try to keep the length of your survey reasonable if you can.
Ensure that replies are kept anonymous and confidential
It’s not easy to get your employees to express concerns weighing on their minds. One of the many problems with surveys is that it can be hard for people to speak their minds without the threat of retribution from the leadership.
Most employees will only offer their true views if they believe that their answers will remain confidential. In light of this, every employee must be made aware from the outset that their responses are completely anonymous and will be reported back to leadership in aggregate form only.
This will help ensure that everyone feels comfortable giving honest answers to the questions asked.
What can a staff engagement survey do for your company?
Employee engagement surveys can provide a wealth of information about looming issues within a company. And conducting them on a regular basis will help you gauge your company’s internal health and identify areas for further improvement. Below are just some of the many benefits of running continuous employee engagement surveys:
Identifying knowledge gaps among employees
Knowledge gaps arise when there is a disconnect between what an organisation needs and what its employees can deliver. This can be especially prevalent in rapidly evolving industries where there is a shortage of talent.
Knowledge and training gaps pose a significant risk for businesses, as they can lead to inaccurate forecasts, mismanaged resources, and less effective teams. Employee engagement surveys warn companies about these gaps in their workforce, allowing them to bridge the gulfs before they become real problems.
Making your employees feel heard
As humans, we are hard-wired with a fundamental need to belong, but it seems that this fact has fallen out of fashion in many workplaces. More than 40% of workers report feeling isolated at work — a trend that has been exacerbated by the rise of remote working.
This can have appalling consequences for overall organisational commitment, which, in turn, can hurt productivity, efficiency, and employee retention. Thankfully, there are ways to improve this situation and make your employees happier.
Employee engagement surveys, for example, are a promising avenue for you to get feedback and establish two-way communication with your team members. Open-ended survey questions, in particular, are an excellent means to let your employees have their say in the development process and give them a sense of ownership over the company’s success.
Obtaining data points to measure employee engagement
Conducting regular employee engagement surveys provides a platform to collect time-series data, which can be compared against each other in order to measure change over time.
Additionally, if you tie in these figures with industry averages, you’ll be able to see where your company stands in the grand scheme of things. For example, let’s say you find that 20% of your employees are dissatisfied with the opportunities for advancement in your company.
You can contrast your data with that of other employers to see if such a finding is typical or if your company could improve.
Locating areas that may be holding your employees back
If you’re a manager, you probably know how hard it is to identify and keep track of your employees’ work-related weaknesses. This makes it challenging to make employee-centric decisions, deliver performance reviews that add value (instead of just checking boxes), and ensure that all your team members are growing and succeeding.
Now, one of the most obvious methods to learn about your employees’ strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between is to, well… ask them. But the traditional method of sitting down with each employee individually to discuss their performance doesn’t cut it for most and sometimes is even counterproductive in that it leads to tension between managers and subordinates.
Surveys, on the other hand, are an efficient and non-intrusive way to get a feel for your employees’ weaknesses. By seeing survey responses and scores, you can build a more nuanced view of each staffer’s most valuable skills and areas where they could use some improvement.
Improving employee health
Have you ever considered how your workers’ mental health may be hurting their job performance? Perhaps those ‘mistakes’ they are making aren’t mistakes at all but rather symptoms of a feeling of depression or anxiety brought on by a lack of camaraderie within your company.
By posing specific survey questions to employees, you can create an open dialogue within your organisation. A friendly and safe environment like this is vital to encourage employees to express their concerns freely.
Providing a forum for employees to engage with management candidly might go a long way toward easing feelings of anxiety and improving employee satisfaction and mental health.
Bringing about increased retention rates
It isn’t easy to gauge what’s going on in your employees’ heads. It is also not easy to work out when your employees feel under-utilised or under appreciated. And when employees don’t think they are making any difference, they start looking elsewhere to be fulfilled.
A lack of recognition is one of the biggest motivators for employees to walk out the door. So how do you ensure your people feel valued? You administer an employee survey, which reveals any possible concerns or disruptors that may be happening in your environment. After all, in order to reduce the turnover rate, you must first discover the causes behind it.
Improving customer service
It’s tricky to deliver on customer satisfaction when employees are not in the right headspace to work properly. This makes the customer feel uncomfortable and is often the beginning of a downward spiral in the reputation of your business.
Your staff is your company’s initial point of contact with potential consumers. So to guarantee that your company reaches its maximum potential, it is critical that your workers engage with these clients in a constructive manner.
By creating an open and honest space for your employees to grow and discuss their anxieties, you’ll be in the position to differentiate yourself from the competition, who are likely operating with the ‘head down’ mentality.
Making employees happier
The importance of employee happiness extends beyond just the obvious point of “happy employees are productive employees.” A work environment that promotes happiness not only has a positive impact on a company’s culture but also impacts retention and innovation.
Unfortunately, many businesses focus too much on what they do, and not enough on who is actually doing the work. This often manifests in plummeting morale and a disinterested workforce.
The workplace is a human endeavour, and because of that, emotional factors are a vital part of employee morale and productivity.
That’s why it’s important to carry out employee engagement surveys, even if you think your employees don’t need them. These surveys provide insights into the reasons why employees are unhappy at work and what employers can do to combat this.
The statement ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ is often quoted to illustrate the point that a major change or accomplishment takes time. But what is often forgotten is the phrase that precedes it: ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.’
The point is, no monumental feat was achieved without a lot of hard work and diligence. Though major changes will take time, small improvements accumulated over time can make a big difference. At first, these subtleties may seem insignificant.
Yet, like a snowball rolling downhill, their momentum will continue to grow. The same holds true for employee engagement surveys. Minor reforms resulting from these polls may appear inconsequential now, but their effects will lead to big results over time.
About the Author
Rachel Fletcher is the Director of Marketing at the Quantic School of Business and Technology. She’s on a mission to help brands engage and retain their employees through innovative MBA programs. In her spare time she enjoys fishing, reading and brewing exceptional coffee.