• When you walk through your office, can you clearly and easily tell which employees are engaged? Actively engaged employees are more productive, provide better customer service and stay on the job longer than disengaged employees. That’s why employee engagement is often cited as one of the most important factors in the overall success of an organization. Employee surveys are one tool that human resources and management can use to identify engagement problems early on.

    What is an Employee Engagement Survey?

    An employee engagement survey is a questionnaire given to employees to determine their engagement and overall satisfaction with their employer and their job. The purpose of the survey is to capture an employee’s attitudes and opinions about their job, co-workers, management, and overall company culture. This information can be used by the organization to improve employee motivation and well-being, creating an environment that enables employees to perform their jobs to the highest standards. When employees are highly engaged in their work, they are happier and more productive, leading to better business performance and profitability.

    The Benefits of Employee Engagement Surveys

    Employee engagement surveys are an ideal way to measure engagement. They can provide insight into the beliefs, attitudes, and concerns of employees. You can use them to guide practices like attracting, training, and retaining employees. It can also help pinpoint the cause of low engagement, such as poor communication, lack of training, and lack of feedback or recognition.

    Engagement surveys help you build employee trust and engagement. For one, it shows them you value their opinions and you’re listening. In addition, when leaders use survey data to enact positive change, other good things happen. It sends a powerful message to your employees, telling them they’re important. Employees feel heard and respected.

    Engagement surveys have an advantage over other methods of gathering employee data because it comes from the employees themselves. Employees can predict their own behaviors better than a complicated statistical algorithm or supervisors’ intuition. For example, if you want to know how long employees intend to stay with your company, ask them.

    Another advantage of surveys is behavior modification. Did you know that asking employees questions about workplace behaviors can influence their actual behavior? Research has shown that employees are more likely to perform behaviors they’ve been asked about. Thus, you can survey your employees about what high-performance looks like and how to meet it.

    Types of Employee Surveys

    There are many types of employee surveys, including employee engagement, employee satisfaction, employee pulse and organizational culture surveys. Some measure job and employer satisfaction levels whereas others check for alignment with goals, values, and culture. Finally, surveys can assess employee engagement, revealing commitment, motivation, and expected tenure.

    Along with selecting the type of survey to use, you also need to decide on the survey length and frequency. Do you want to survey employees once a year with a longer survey? Or do you want to survey more often using shorter surveys? If you choose an annual survey, be sure to consider your organization’s work cycle. You’ll want to send your survey out at a time when employees are not too busy to give it their full attention. The annual survey should focus on the year as a whole.

    A second option is to administer pulse surveys. Pulse surveys are shorter than annual surveys. They’re designed to be administered at regular intervals, such as monthly or quarterly. You can give a pulse survey in tandem with an annual survey or as a standalone option. Questions asked in a pulse survey generally stay the same, consistent from survey to survey. This makes it possible to evaluate the same business areas and work practices over a period of time.

    Finally, you might decide to distribute a one-off survey as needed. One-off surveys can be used to check in with employees during or after atypical circumstances. For example, you may want to survey your employees after a layoff, merger or acquisition, or a global event.

    Tip: It’s important that you only conduct a survey when you’re prepared to listen and act on the feedback. Conducting a survey, then doing nothing will cause more harm than good. Employees may feel duped, and trust and engagement will suffer.

    Analyzing Employee Survey Data

    The data you get from a survey program provides useful insights into employee sentiment. It also captures ongoing trends. No matter which survey type you use, the data you collect can serve as an early warning system. You can use it to identify potential problem areas requiring immediate attention. The data can also show you where there are opportunities to make changes with big impacts.

    Data from even the simplest surveys can be hard to interpret. Positive results can be misleading, giving you an incorrect picture of your workforce. To get the most out of your survey data, you’ll definitely want expert assistance. Research shows that expert analysis and support will help you realize the full benefits of your work. Remember, you never want to ask employees to give their time to a survey if you don’t plan to make changes. Analysts can assess everything from your survey’s design to the appropriateness of response options and more. If your survey uses open-ended questions, they can analyze responses for recurring themes. They can also determine whether responses are positive, negative, or neutral. When the data are complex, experts can provide you with a visual picture. This makes it easier to understand and share with stakeholders.

    In Conclusion

    Ready to survey your employees? Make sure you’re as successful as possible. Research has shown that only 22% of companies get good results from their surveys. Designing a survey and analyzing the results is time-consuming and difficult to get right. Hiring managers are busy operating your stores. One option is to have your survey administered and analyzed by experienced practitioners. Suppose your organization doesn’t have an expert on staff. In that case, you can use an outside consultant like the Cadient Talent Science Team.

    Made up of industrial-organizational psychologists and other talent management experts, our Science Team has a combined 20+ years of consulting experience. The Science Team can help you start a new survey program or refine your current one with a design that fits your needs. Their design process includes content development and analysis. They’ll also show you how to best use and present your results and keep improving your program.

    Interested in learning how an employee survey can help your organization increase employee engagement and retention? Contact us today at 866-332-1771.

    Michael Baysinger

    Assessment Practice Manager, Ph.D.

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