Employee Engagement Surveys: What, How and Why?

Employee engagement surveys have become a common method to efficiently seek employee feedback across key areas measuring the levels of employee engagement across the organisation.

Business & HR Managers
Nov 2022

Employee engagement surveys have become a common method to efficiently seek employee feedback across key areas measuring the levels of employee engagement across the organisation. Increasingly a staple of the HR analytical tool, providing vital information to allow the organisation to identify key business obstacles and opportunities, industry norms and trending market data.  The results of the analysis can be used to strategically partner with leadership in the organisation to address issues and actively seek to increase employee engagement with the flow on benefits that can provide for productivity and business revenue.

What is an Employee Engagement Survey?

Employee Engagement Surveys are an important tool used to seek open, honest feedback from employees through a series of targeted questions to understand your employees, their motivation levels, their goals and allowing them a voice.

As HR consultants, we're often asked to conduct an employee engagement survey for one of the following reasons:

  • A regular annual employee engagement survey distributed across the entire organisation and tends to be quite comprehensive.
  • Pulse surveys that tend to be more frequent or more light weight in nature and may focus on specific topics. These may be distributed organisation wide or a more targeted audience.
  • Lifecycle surveys will seek engagement feedback at particular stages of employment including onboarding and exit interviews but can be deployed as anniversary surveys as well. These measure engagement across various stages of employment and can assist in building engagement strategies that target different areas for new and long-term employees.

The most common format for these surveys will be questionnaires delivered on user-friendly platforms to facilitate ease of completion, anonymity, and ability to analyse the completed data.

How do I get the best information out of an employee engagement survey?

It is incredibly important to consider the questions and content that will be included in any employee engagement survey. The data collected needs to be robust and reliable as well as in a form that can actually be useful for the organisation and the HR team. Content will need to be refined on facilitating understanding, enabling prioritizing of resources and what the organisation can leverage for employee engagement.

Common focus areas to include in an engagement survey include:

  • Organisational commitment– alignment with the strategy, mission and values of the organisation are a strong indicator of employee engagement and productivity levels.
  • Organisational culturealso aligned with the values of the organisation as well as understanding commitment, collaboration and support within and across teams.
  • Leadership commitment and capabilities – the importance of strong and capable leadership cannot be under emphasised. Leaders provide the direction, employee development and employee culture which have significant immediate impact on the employees on a daily basis.
  • Job satisfaction and development opportunities – you can evaluate the level of individual engagement with roles, tools and resources that employees are receiving or aware of to increase their own capability and career trajectory.

It is worth noting that surveys should not be the only measurements considered. Any other data, formal and informal from within the organisation should be considered as well as external market data to analyze results.  The data collected from engagement surveys, as well as other contributing data, can help HR and the organisation make strategic decisions on how to develop and allocate HR resources for greatest potential impact.

Why do Employee Engagement Surveys?

Employee Engagement Surveys are a commonly used diagnostic tool enabling HR professionals and organisations to collect and collate employee feedback efficiently and effectively. The information provides a snapshot picture for HR analytics to identify organisational strengths as well as areas for development.

Regular engagement surveys allow assessment of the success of implemented strategies and provide further opportunities to continue to adapt and adjust initiatives in line with the feedback from employees.

The return on investment will benefit all in the organisation.  Engaged employees are likely to be happier, healthier, more fulfilled driving better performance, contribution and innovation. Organisational commitment to using systematic and valid measurements keep this focus as a priority to continue to boost employee’s motivation, commitment and identification with and for the organisation.

Comprehensive – The survey should explore all elements of engagement including work, team, and organisation engagement. This will ensure the results can be used to make informed decisions about progressing the organisation forward.

Unique to your organisation – The survey should not be a stock standard template or download but should be customised to your organisation, to meet the needs of your team and assist in creating a strategy to progress the organisation.

Generate benchmarks – the survey should create a point of reference to measure against and ensure success in improving engagement and that the strategy is working.

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