Our latest blog discussed the benefits and importance of employee research, specifically the employee engagement survey – According to research, 81% of businesses do conduct employee research to some degree. But how do you go about putting this plan into action? Before you jump the gun, it’s important you put plan this activity carefully as a project and your question choices are pitched correctly. These surveys require a detailed project plan, the same as any other business initiative. Your business’s culture, employee profile, leadership approach and even geographical location will dictate the format and content.
Your objective here is to improve engagement throughout your entire organisation and this should come from the top down. Ensure your leadership team are on board and committed to improving engagement. As the business leader, you need to meet with your leadership team in the planning phase and identify the objectives together. They also need to commit to take action based on the outcomes of the survey in order to improve engagement across the business.
Within your project team including the management team you will undoubtedly have a long list of objectives. It’s important that each member of the team feels their voice is being heard, however, you will have to narrow down these objectives to a management list in order of priority because you just won’t be able to fix everything all at one time. Designing the survey to fit the needs and objectives of the leadership team will ensure minimum resistance down the line.
The sooner you communicate with your employees, the quicker you will gain their buy-in. Begin with communicating the basics – The what, who when, where, why and how. Take them through the journey and remember to communicate in a language they will understand with messages relevant to them – It’s imperative you think of it from their point of view. They need to feel comfortable with the process because your employees will be openly answering questions and so if they know why and how their answers will be used, they will be more likely to respond openly and honestly. It helps employees know what to expect.
Refine your survey questions as much as possible because you really don’t want employees to be put off by the sheer length and complexity of the survey. You must remember that your employees are extremely busy and would rather a focussed survey which takes a maximum of say 15 minutes to complete.
It should comprise a mix of open-ended and closed questions to ensure you’re gathering both qualitative and quantitative data. If needed you could also run some simple focus groups or interviews to gain more detailed qualitative information. Bear in mind that your employees will be more likely to complete the survey if they feel their answers are anonymous so make sure you only ask the demographic questions needed to analyse the data properly.
It’s important that you understand how to interpret and analyse your results before sharing them with the business. This may require guidance and training on how to interpret the results and create an effective action plan. You must share with the business through a discussion, not an email! Line Managers should present findings with their reports and depending on the size of the business you could even hold sessions presented by the business leaders. Of course it can be followed with printed and digital supporting material but your employee will want a face to this and they will want to be able to ask questions. And remember, the critical components are the actions that follow. There’s no point wasting time planning, creating and implementing a survey which doesn’t lead to change within your business. This is a fantastic opportunity to better engage employees, so use it.
Analyse your data and then revisit your objectives to see where you want/need to be in terms of engagement – This is the time to include your line managers in the change and the communication of those changes because they are the ones most likely to influence engagement on a day to day basis.
The key is that real change needs to happen if the goal of the survey truly is to improve employee engagement. This also means repeating the entire process on a regular basis so you can measure the fluctuations in engagement following the changes you make as a result.
If you would like help in planning, writing or communicating your employee engagement survey, please contact me now on: 01453 297557 or email email@example.com.