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Work with a Consultant to Conduct Employee Engagement Surveys

A companywide employee engagement survey is the most thorough tool for capturing your company's engagement baseline. Such a survey can help you determine where to invest first to increase engagement; it can also validate (or not) your employee engagement efforts down the road.

Employee engagement surveys also enable you to view engagement levels within various departments or business units in your organization in comparison with each other and with the company as a whole.

And, assuming you opt to work with a consultant (more on that in a moment), you can use an engagement survey to get a sense of where your organization stacks up on the engagement issue compared to other companies, including companies you directly compete with.

Finally, if you measure engagement within your organization via surveys, you'll begin to see the connection between engagement efforts and profitable growth.

Measurement is critical to showing that engagement leads to improved performance.

To conduct a survey, partner with a consulting firm. A consultant will create a survey that's specific to your organization and assist with the delivery and rollout of results.

You may think you have the in-house capability and IT support to design and implement your own survey. Shouldn't you save some money and take the DIY approach? If you do, just remember that your “savings” will be offset by the following:

  • A huge internal administrative effort: If your IT department is like most, they're not sitting around playing solitaire all day. Adding a huge companywide survey to their already overflowing plates will have ramifications. How patient are you when your e-mail is down? Enough said.

  • Diminished trust with your employees: When you ask the questions yourself, instead of bringing in a third party, there's a perceived lack of confidentiality among employees.

  • A lack of credible external benchmark data: For example, suppose your survey respondents respond negatively to questions about compensation. Without the context of external benchmarks, you may think you have a compensation issue.

    But guess what? Employees never respond positively to these types of questions. (“Yup, I get paid too much to work around here,” said no one ever.) Why? Because they're afraid that management will limit future pay increases. By putting your company's score in context with external norms, you may discover that your seemingly dismal score was actually high compared to the industry average.

When you're looking for a survey vendor, don't pinch your pennies, but do consider which features you truly need. If your employee engagement survey fails, it won't be because you didn't opt for the consultant with the most bells and whistles, or because that consultant failed to collect the correct data. It'll be because you didn't interpret the results properly, prioritize the go-forwards, or follow up.

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