A business’s success or failure is largely defined by the quality and motivation of its employees. But too many managers believe that employee contentment is enough to produce an excellent product or service. In reality, the best businesses have employees that are engaged. But finding out whether your employees are engaged or merely satisfied with their workplace is trickier than you might think.
What Is an Employee Engagement Survey?
This kind of survey specifically measures employee engagement, which is much more than just general employee happiness or job satisfaction. An employee may seem satisfied or content on the outside, but only certain employees are fully engaged.
In a nutshell, employee engagement means that the employee has an emotional commitment to their work and the overall objective of your business. It manifests in drive and motivation that produces hard, excellent work. Having a workforce that is engaged and highly motivated is critical for the long-term health of your business and its future success.
Employee engagement surveys are designed from the ground up to analyse and assess how engaged your employees are rather than their general happiness or contentment. Questions will usually focus on the thoughts and attitudes of your employees and their motivations for their actions.
Why Does It Matter?
Only by understanding if and how your employees are engaged can you take steps to improve employee engagement across the board. In a previous article, we found that highly engaged teams are 21% more profitable. Sending out employee engagement surveys and learning more about what techniques will work for your employees is a much better strategy than making up generic seminars and meetings that may not have the intended effect.
Think of employee engagement surveys as reconnaissance which you can then use to develop a battle plan for success.
How to Make an Employee Engagement Survey
However, some employees automatically distrust surveys. They may be used to tone-deaf or monotonous HR teams that send out identical surveys each year or feel that their feedback is not actually used for change.
Making an effective employee engagement survey is key for your results to be accurate and useful. Keep your question simple and break up your queries into multiple small questions so you can get clear answers. More data points are also always a good thing.
You’ll also want to include at least a single open-ended question about potential improvements in your organisation. This should give the employee space to write or speak rather than answering in affirmative or negative contexts.
In addition, answers are most helpfully given along a five-point scale. Try to have your employees rank their responses to prompts like, “strongly disagree” or the like. In fact, you’ll want to ask more questions than you tell your employees information. Remember, the goal of this kind of survey is to gather information about your employees’ motivation and engagement level.
How to Use the Data Gathered in an Employee Engagement Survey
After you and your analytics team have gathered and organised the data collected, it’s time to put it to work.
For starters, you should immediately use any data from an employee engagement survey to identify any red flags or potential issues within your organisation. It’s very easy for employees to tell you what they dislike about their job currently or what they find unfulfilling. Try to find any common trends or terms within the various responses of the survey. Then see if you can alleviate the issue for your employees or find a middle ground.
For instance, an employee engagement survey may report that most of your employees dislike having to make a daily report. Perhaps the work feels monotonous and unimportant. You could then potentially change this report to a weekly one to save time and show your employees that you are listening to their feedback.
Making an Employee Engagement Strategy
More importantly, you’ll want to make an employee engagement strategy based on the data points you collected from the survey. An employee engagement strategy is best thought of as a series of initiatives or management decisions specifically designed to boost employee engagement rather than focus on profit.
Ideally, improved employee engagement will lead to greater profits and success in the long-term.
You should build your employee engagement strategy based on the responses provided by your workers. Try to come up with direct solutions or initiatives based on their proclaimed issues or desires. As an example, many employees feel that they don’t know where the company is going or why their work matters.
In response, you could come up with a roadmap detailing exactly what your business objectives are for the short term and identify how each of your team members contributes to the overall goal. This not only helps your employees feel included, but it makes them understand how necessary they are to the entire endeavour.
Alternatively, you can make more of an effort to recognise good work in your employees. A lack of recognition is a common complaint in employee engagement surveys across the world. Make it a point to visit with your employees in person more often, or, if you’re in a larger business, have monthly employee recognition ceremonies or contests.
Opportunities for employee recognition are almost always effective at boosting engagement.
Links International provides Employer Branding services for companies looking for ways to retain and attract the best talents on the market. We offer tailored advice on boosting employee engagement level so you will not lose your best people to your competition.
Activities to Boost Employee Engagement
You can also employ various employee engagement activities across the board to boost engagement in the company. This is helpful if the data gathered from the survey is too generic to be useful in a targeted way or if it goes across departments.
A good example can be seen with managers who promote proactive communication, encouraging their workers to speak out and listening intently to any issues an employee may bring to the table. Other businesses may double down on communicating their values and mission statement clearly and explicitly. This may become even more pertinent in the future, as many millennials and younger workers are looking for reasons to show up to work beyond a paycheck.
All businesses and organisations with a vested interest in employee engagement will also want to organise regular social events. Finding your employees together and to your management team can help them feel engaged in the performance of your organisation. Employees that feel like they are part of a team will want their team to succeed even if their personal investment might be lower than average.
Furthermore, you could bolster your engagement from the beginning of an employee’s experience to prevent low engagement from settling in the first place. This might involve initiating engagement strategies from the induction or onboarding processes. For instance, asking employees personal questions about their goals, providing open lines of communication as they settle in, and meeting with them after their first week to determine if any immediate changes need to be made.
Check out Boosting Employee Engagement and Work Motivation for more ways to create a happy and productive workforce.
Overall, employee engagement is a critical part of any business’s success. Understanding the value that an employee engagement survey can bring and successfully levelling its data into a useful strategy is imperative if you want to win over the long term.
At Links International, we can leverage our many years of HR success and service to help you with building the right communication channels to ensure they appeal to your target talent. Contact us today!