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Employee engagement survey: How to gain valuable workforce insights

Recruitment | 6 Min Read

Employee engagement survey: How to gain valuable workforce insights

What is an employee engagement survey?

An employee engagement survey, also known as an employee satisfaction survey, is a set of questions employers ask to get feedback from their employees. The questions are usually about rating the organization’s principles, policies, performance, reward, development, leaders and the culture. Hence, it is a robust platform for employees to voice their opinions.

This article explores the critical elements and advantages of an employee engagement survey. It also enlists best practices and helpful questions to support your survey initiative. Moreover, you will discover the right ways of choosing a survey tool that amplifies your people management strategies, leading to more tremendous organizational success.

 


The importance of an employee survey

To improve productivity and quality of deliverables, it is crucial to have a happy and engaged workforce. But it is difficult to find out how active the employees are without consistent feedback. An effective employee engagement survey enables you to measure your workforce’s satisfaction levels and learn what they feel about your people processes.

 

The purpose: Why measure employee satisfaction

 

With the economy witnessing a revival post the COVID-19 disruption, every industry has intensified the war for finding talent. Simultaneously, there has been a continuous tide of skilled workers quitting toxic and low paying jobs in the last two years- ‘The Great Resignation’.

According to HBR, more than 25 million people quit their jobs in the second half of 2021. To explain this, the New York Times coined the term quitagion. Analyzing employee attrition brings out many factors that affect employee productivity and job satisfaction.

As a result, it is imperative for organizations to constantly monitor the efficiency of their HR (Human Resource) practices and policies. An employee survey to measure the workforce’s satisfaction levels is a powerful tool to achieve the same. Measuring employee satisfaction also helps improve employee retention, productivity and culture.

Employee retention

When an organization asks for an employee’s opinion through a survey and implements constructive feedback promptly, the employees feel like they matter and the company values their opinion. Therefore, it is vital for companies to actively start conversations with their employees if they want them to stay.

54% employees are quitting because they don’t feel valued by their organizations or managers or do not feel a sense of belonging at the workplace. 

Great Attrition” or “Great Attraction”? The choice is yours
McKinsey & Company

Productivity

An employee satisfaction survey creates ‘engaged employees’, who are fully absorbed and enthusiastic about their work. Such employees take positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests, while maintaining a positive attitude toward its values.

As per a recent study by the University of Warwick, happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while dissatisfied workers were 10% less productive.

Organization’s culture

Dissatisfied employees can affect an organization’s culture negatively. Over time, the lack of satisfaction with the company can lead them to turn toxic and fuel an unhealthy work environment. Spreading negativity or bad-mouthing the organization tends to become a norm if the workforce is unhappy. Therefore, it is imperative to invest in the employees’ mental health, understand their grievances and resolve their problems. An efficient employee survey system can help with all that. 

The indicators: What does an employee survey measure?

 

A typical employee survey comprises the following indicators.

The employee satisfaction index (ESI)

The ESI measures employee satisfaction by three questions and is calculated by the formulaESI= [((question mean value ÷ 3) – 1) ÷9] *100All the three questions are answered by the employees on a scale of 1 to 10. It results in a number between 1 and 100. Higher scores indicate greater employee satisfaction.

Employee net Promoter score (eNPS)

The eNPS is a metric that shows how employees feel about your company. It’s calculated based on a survey that asks employees a single question: how likely are you to recommend our company as a place to work on a scale of zero to ten? The employees are divided into promoters, passive and detractors based on the answer.eNPS = %promoters - %detractorsA score of -100 to 100 is given to the results. A positive sign is good, and scores below 0 indicate that the organization needs to work on employee satisfaction.

 

What keeps employees engaged? 

 

Mercer | Mettl has identified the ten crucial factors that drive employee engagement. Awareness about these factors helps in designing meaningful employee engagement surveys.

Adopting a holistic outlook to employee engagement

Gain in-depth insights into employee engagement with this concise handbook.

Factors that keep employees engaged:

  1. Remote work
  2. Trust and respect
  3. Healthy work-life balance
  4. Good rapport with supervisors
  5. Organization’s financial steadiness
  6. Career growth and learning opportunity
  7. Job security
  8. Competitive salary
  9. Challenging job roles
  10. Organization values that match employee’s values

 


How to create an effective employee engagement survey

Every organization is unique. Hence, the employee survey needs to be customized to the organization’s size, needs, domain and maturity. However, there are a few fundamental steps to follow that maximize effectiveness of the process.

 

Infographic 1

 

The following sections will help support and elevate this seven-step process for your organization.

 

The elements: What makes an excellent employee engagement survey?

 

The following guidelines can help build an effective employee engagement survey.

  1. The employee survey should focus on the entire organization or a group of employees. Hence, it is essential to finalize the stakeholder whose inputs are needed.
  2. Define clear deadlines and turnaround time.
  3. Finalize the employee engagement survey themes relevant to the business ecosystem, organization focus and challenges.

 

When is a company ready for an employee engagement survey?

 

Before finalizing the employee engagement survey questions, the company should ask itself the following questions.

  1. Is the organization ready to make changes based on the feedback?
  2. Are the questions unique and cover a wide range of topics?
  3. Are the questions beneficial for the future of the company?
  4. Are the questions relevant to the industry of the company?

Affirmative answers to similar questions often indicate a readiness to roll out an employee engagement survey.

 

Tips and best practices for an effective employee engagement survey

 

Before deploying the employee opinion survey, employers need to consider the following points:

Confidentiality:

Employees must be assured of complete anonymity. They would want to be honest if they are assured that their responses are strictly confidential.

Purpose:

More employees would answer the questions if the purpose of the employee opinion survey is communicated well. They should also be told what the company would do with the results.

Clear language:

The employee experience survey should be simple enough to enable even a trainee to interpret the questions correctly. Sentences should be concise and you should avoid complex words and ambiguity. Poorly or wrongly worded questions can change the way employees interpret them. That could lead to inaccurate results.

Leadership participation:

Enthusiasm in answering the survey would be more when the company leaders encourage participation and assure a positive response to employee feedback.

Survey length and frequency

 

Length of an employee opinion survey

There is no standard length for the employee opinion survey mandatory for all companies. However, it is ideal to keep it to-the-point and quick to complete.

The objective of the survey is to ensure that you can analyze the data to get meaningful insights. Hence, the survey should contain a comprehensive set of questions while not being too complicated to be understood in the first reading. Therefore, an average of 40 to 60 questions is suitable for the employee survey.

Frequency of the employee experience survey

The survey will yield the best results if done at least once a year. Therefore, to find testable patterns, it is good to run the employee experience survey at the same time every year.

It is necessary to remember the following:

  • Survey fatigue: Employees might get tired of giving the same feedback multiple times. Therefore, the survey frequency should not be too high.
  • Too many changes: It takes time to analyze the data from one survey and implement the changes. One also has to factor in the changes in employee engagement following the changes. All these require time, and too many surveys can be counter-productive. Similarly, no or fewer surveys can hurt management. It has been observed that employee engagement increases by 2.5 times in organizations that run surveys annually compared to those that follow lengthier timelines.

 

Image 1

 

Top 20 employee engagement survey questions

 

Here is a list of twenty questions that can form the basis for your employee engagement survey.

  1. Do your employees feel fairly rewarded for the work that they do?
  2. Do they receive adequate recognition for their contribution?
  3. Does the hiring process take care of both capability and culture fitness?
  4. Do you provide sufficient support during the onboarding process of new hires?
  5. Do employees feel there is room to grow within the business?
  6. Are the employees challenged enough?
  7. What do the employees think about their supervisor?
  8. Are the managers leading by example?
  9. Are they giving adequate feedback?
  10. Do they value their team’s opinion?
  11. Are the organization’s policies employee-friendly?
  12. Do they provide flexibility for work-life balance?
  13. Are the policies inclusive and take care of diversity?
  14. Do the employees trust their peers?
  15. Is there mutual respect?
  16. Is the communication among the team members honest and transparent?
  17. Is there a fear of failure when mistakes are made?
  18. Are the employees encouraged to try out new ways of doing things?
  19. Does the employee feel that they have a voice in the organization?
  20. Is the employee clear about the company objectives and how it plans to achieve them?

 


What to do with employee survey results?

Image 2

 

The perceivable importance of any employee survey in an organization is tied to what HR (Human Resources) and leadership do with the survey results. Since every employee survey ends with increased expectations, the employees look forward to an acknowledgement of their effort from the employers. Therefore, it can be harmful to an organization and its employees to run employee engagement surveys and do nothing with the result.

The following steps will ensure that an organization can identify, quantify, and act upon employee feedback to drive positive change.

 

Infographic 2

Thank the employees:

An email from the organization’s CEO or Head of HR thanking the employees for taking the time to participate and complete the survey is a nice gesture. The email should also include timelines for result analysis and action planning.

Analyze the survey results:

This is the most crucial step, as information does little good unless categorized into insightful changes. An effective analytics platform can quickly infer the organization’s strengths and weaknesses from the results.

a) Driver’s analysis: A driver’s analysis finds which survey items have the most significant impact in the organization’s engagement. The firm can prepare an improvement plan based on those parameters.

b) Interpreting the result by employee segments: Workplace experience changes each employee. It depends on various factors, such as their manager and colleagues and their work. Hence, it is vital to devise questions that consider diversity at the workplace and include all sections of employees. It ensures greater engagement, performance and productivity.

Communicate the results:

The next step is to share the results with all the stakeholders and employees in the company. Sharing the results with complete transparency builds trust.

Post survey meeting:

After the results are shared, team leaders must discuss and define results related to their departments. It allows the managers to focus on the specific areas of improvement and understand how the data affects their teams’ day-to-day routine in their departments/geographies. Again, HR should provide a framework to run such meetings.

Create an action plan based on the results:

While a survey is communicated from the top-down, solutions should be bottom-up. Action planning is divided into phases, and the focus is usually on two or three action items. The team should be encouraged to come up with ideas. To ensure transparency, these meetings should be facilitated by HR representatives. Action plans should incorporate inputs from managers. Similarly, you should document the new goals and updated timelines for the record.

Input from the managers should be incorporated and the final actions/goals should be documented with timelines of completion.

Communicate the action plans:

To prove to the employees that leadership takes the survey results seriously, you should communicate action plans by mail or during townhall meetings. During this time, the pre-survey metrics are compared with the post-action plan results.

Plan check-ins:

Finally, ensure you track the goals to completion. The tracking period depends on the type of action plan.

 


Choosing the right employee survey tool

The next step is to choose the right employee survey tool to deploy the survey. Ensure that your selected software includes the following features.

 

Infographic 3

 

You can also use feedback platforms and assessments to boost your employee engagement programs, support organizational planning and identify your high potential professionals.

 


Conclusion

Employee satisfaction surveys provide a platform for the free flow of structured feedback. Based on the results, the employers create goals for improving areas where the scores indicate low satisfaction. Surveys make the employees feel valued and develop a sense of belonging to the company. Happy employees improve productivity and lead to a positive work environment that attracts the top global talent.

 


FAQs

Do I still need to act if my survey results are good?

Is it challenging to create a great employee engagement survey?

Should the employee engagement survey be anonymous?

Originally published May 20 2022, Updated June 17 2022

D'ipanjenah Ali

Written by

D’ipanjenah is a writer and marketing professional associated with Mercer Mettl since 2020. Her working style thrives on a balanced approach towards standard insights and novel trends. She utilizes creative content and digital strategies to help brands start important conversations. When not reading/writing, she enjoys art and parents a calico.

About This Topic

Employee engagement is a process by which companies undertake specific activities to interact with employees and engage them. The activities include employee development, team building, skills development, trainings etc.

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