Insights that empower you and your workforce to be successful

8 things you should try to learn from engagement surveys

Posted by: on 21 November 2018 in Human Capital Management

Employee engagement surveys are widely prevalent in organizations around the globe, regardless of industry, geography or staff size. Once commonly referred to as employee satisfaction surveys, these assessments represent a means for employers to gauge employee responses and preferences for everything from benefit offerings to leadership and management practices.

Engagement is a somewhat elusive concept in management. What, exactly, is an engaged employee? An effective employee engagement survey should yield the answers to that question. But, while many companies conduct these surveys, not all are equally adept at taking away meaningful insights from their survey results.

The goal isn’t just to ask employees for their opinions — it’s to act on those opinions in ways that can both boost engagement and benefit the bottom line.

  1. Overall Level of Job Satisfaction

One foundational bit of information that employee engagement surveys provide is the level of job satisfaction among employees. Based on the demographic information you gather (e.g., work location, age, sex, years of tenure, etc.), you will also be able to compare and contrast levels of satisfaction to identify both best practices and areas of opportunity for improvement.

  1. Effectiveness of Communication

Employee engagement surveys can gauge how valuable employees find the information they receive from the organization, senior leadership and their managers. Do they feel they are communicated with in a timely fashion? Do they feel the communication they receive is relevant? Useful? Transparent?

  1. Motivation Tools

Asking questions about how satisfying or positive employees find various aspects of their work experience can yield insights into things that are important, what motivates them and can highlight aspects of their work or the organization that may be perceived negatively. Asking questions that seek both ratings of “importance” and “experience” can provide comparisons that can be used to identify opportunities for improvement.

Abhijit Bhaduri, Talent expert and Design Thinking consultant, says these insights can be used to re-think employee experiences and find opportunities for improvement, particularly for organisations looking to build employee-centric cultures and experiences.

  1. Leadership and Management Effectiveness

Engagement surveys can also point to issues in leadership that may go undetected or ignored otherwise.  In his webinar with ADP, Dr. Fermin Diez recalled an interesting discovery in his organisation’s employee engagement survey — employees who reported disliking their manager, had managers who were highly rated by senior leadership.  He found that these managers were putting undue pressure on their teams to deliver, causing burnout and high turnover.  Research from Culture Amp, a Melbourne-based company that helps companies measure their culture, has found that employees don’t actually leave bad managers – they leave poor leadership.

  1. Tracking Issues Over Time

According to EngageRocket, a Singapore based HR analytics firm, pulse surveys are used to complement an annual engagement survey.  Pulse surveys can focus on a particular issue or policy, and because it is shorter and more narrow in focus, it is much easier to summarise and act on quickly.  Having shorter, more frequent surveys can be helpful for predicting trends or the overall health of an organisation over time.

  1. Levels of Engagement

Employee engagement surveys can highlight or measure levels of employee engagement through responses to questions exploring how motivated they feel by their work and how likely they would be to seek employment elsewhere.  Ryan Fuller, in Harvard Business Review, does caution that there is a certain level of bias that can creep in – employees are often influenced by recent events, for example, and may be displaying behaviours (such as discretionary effort) that are actually better indicators of how engaged they actually are. 

  1. Departmental Comparisons

Employee engagement data should not be used to target individuals, rather it should be identify and track issues at a group level, says Culture Amp.  Are there potential turnover risks or indicators for particular roles, such as sales versus engineering managers? 

  1. Turnover and Tenure

One final area of insight is related to how long employees plan to stay with your company. Social media management company Buffer asks their employees how long they envision working there, not only to calculate their net promoter score, but also as a way of gauging how long they should be expecting people to stay.  They also use their turnover rate to benchmark themselves against other tech companies (who would be competing for many of the same talent).

And while it may seem obvious, there is one final, important best practice for getting the most out of an engagement survey – share the results with your employees.  This will help them to understand the process, feel heard and see the value in participating next time.

Original by Connect@ADP_Hong Kong.

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