Survey Says: Conducting an Employee Engagement Survey

Part of the Employee Engagement For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Are your employees engaged? Good question. And the only surefire way to answer with any accuracy is to conduct an employee engagement survey. Your organization should conduct an employee engagement survey sooner rather than later to gauge its pulse. As you embark on your survey, keep these points in mind:

  • Don't conduct a survey unless you're convinced your leadership is committed to listening and acting on feedback. Otherwise, you'll wind up fostering cynicism and skepticism, not engagement. In fact, you'll be worse off than if you hadn't conducted a survey in the first place.

  • Partner with a consulting firm. Yes, you may have the in-house resources to design and administer your own survey. But your cost savings will be overrun by the huge administrative effort, lack of credible benchmark data, and confidentiality concerns among employees.

  • Have a communication plan. Decide when and how to communicate survey results and "next steps" to senior leadership and the rank and file. Employees need to know their feedback was heard and analyzed, and that action is being taken. This will help to build trust and credibility.

  • Establish a cross-sectional committee to review overall company results and to make recommendations to management. This task team should be composed of 10 to 20 employees (depending on company size) and include an equal mix of leaders and respected members of the rank and file. Also consider establishing "local" committees to review results on a departmental level.

  • Keep it simple, and execute flawlessly. After a survey, the tendency is to overpromise and underdeliver. If you do this, however, you run the risk of creating a skeptical work culture. Better to do the opposite: underpromise and overdeliver! Organizational follow-up and follow-through are key to successful implementation — and to how your employees will judge the success of your survey and engagement efforts.

    If your employee engagement survey fails, it will be because you failed to properly interpret the results, prioritize your needs, and create action plans that you follow up on.

  • Implement a follow-up feedback mechanism. Consider having managers include a "survey action plan" agenda item in all regular departmental meetings for at least six months following the survey.

  • Do not commit to another survey for 18 to 24 months. You'll need at least that long to effectively act on the feedback from your last survey and execute your action plan. Seeing results takes time!

  • Set the stage. If you're conducting a follow-up survey, promote progress made since your last survey. View this exercise as a terrific branding opportunity — one that will enable you to capture high levels of employee participation.

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Employee Engagement For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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