What Type of Employee Engagement Surveys Are Most Effective Today?

You may wonder which type of employee engagement survey may be most effective in today's climate. It's a relatively simple question, but it doesn't have the most straightforward answer. It's not exactly easy to measure employee engagement, and it will depend on several factors, including your unique organization, the size of your company, and others. "Employee engagement" tends to be a buzzword among most HR professionals, and for a good reason. Consider this: an actively disengaged employee is 12 times more likely to quit their position than an employee engaged and invested in their job. It's crucial to take the temperature of your employees' level of engagement, so we will dive into some of the best ways to measure it.

IRI Consultants has had four decades' worth of experience in helping employers connect. Our in-house capabilities have provided thousands of companies with the resources they need to connect with employees and improve engagement. Our custom communication resources have been trusted to deliver behavioral change at a cultural level. We know how important it can be to assess the engagement levels within your organization. We'll cover some of the most common employee engagement surveys, and which you should choose for your unique situation.

Measuring Employee Engagement with Surveys

DecisionWise, a company that specializes in conducting employee engagement surveys, shared responses from over 200 companies across the globe (over 1.2 million employees), that showed 67% of organizations claim to "formally measure employee engagement on a regular basis and have specific initiatives in place to address their findings." 

Of course, there are different ways to go about measuring your employee engagement levels. There is the option of an annual survey that checks in with all employees once a year, or a survey style that allows employees to check in in real-time, any day, any time, to offer their input and address any concerns they may be having. This is the same idea as a suggestion box or communication box. Additionally, companies can offer spot surveys after conferences or events to gage employee participation and engagement and to gather opinions from employees on the fly. It will depend on your Edge software business scope and what you wish to measure that will help you decide what type of survey will work best for your workplace.

What Makes an Employee Engagement Survey Effective?

How do you know if your engagement survey is going to be effective? We asked Dr. Fiona Jamison, CEO of Spring International, for her input and expertise. Spring International is a custom research and people analytics firm that "helps organizations build stronger connections with their employees, customers, and members to increase productivity, lower costs, and create positive relationships." 

Dr. Jamison says that the key to ensuring an effective survey is "making sure your questions align with your culture, your business strategy, and achieve the performance 10 successfactors. Your survey also needs to be written in a way that employees can easily understand the questions to provide clear and concise answers." Additionally, they recommend that each survey has an "open-ended text field to allow employees to have a voice and share concerns that you may not have included in the design."


What Type of Questions Work Best?

According to Dr. Jamison from Spring International, if your focus is strictly on employee engagement, you should keep your survey relatively short (within 30 questions or less). She states, "this should give you sufficient data to both measure engagement levels and understand some of the drivers of engagement such as work environment, leadership, job satisfaction, and workplace wellbeing. A traditional engagement survey will include statements and an attitudinal rating scale (i.e., strongly agree to strongly disagree)." Additionally, Spring International also recommends employers include an option for open-ended comments where employees can provide additional context and feedback.

Smarp, an employee communications platform that represents over four million employees worldwide, shared an article from experts with some of their favorite employee engagement questions to give you some specific ideas. The experts included a range of people from employee relations, talent management, and head of HR. Some of the ideas for particular questions to add to an employee engagement survey were as follows:

  • "If you won the lottery and decided to leave your company, what would you miss most about your company?"
  • "What's the one thing, money aside, that you value most at work?"
  • "Would you recommend a family member or a friend to work for this organization?"
  • "What are we doing fine? What do we need to improve? How would you like to be known in the industry?"

As you can see, these questions target what employees like/value most about their organization, and whether they would be likely to recommend their workplace to someone close to them.

The Fortune is in the Follow-Up

The whole point of calculating your employee engagement levels is to find out what is and is not working within your organization. If your employees take the time to complete a survey or offer their feedback and opinions, they will expect action to be taken after the survey results are collected. Without taking action, you will likely see frustration, and potentially even a dip in engagement. Additional advice from the CEO at Spring International, Dr. Fiona Jamison, is that it is important to follow a five-step process at minimum when following up on the results of a survey. Her suggested steps are as follows:

  1. Share results back to all employees – even if it is an overall summary.
  2. Identify one or two focus areas that you plan to address and develop an action plan for making change.
  3. For those issues you cannot address, or which are not priorities for the business – explain to employees why they have not been selected for change.
  4. Empower managers to act by giving them results for their own teams.
  5. Involve employees in generating solutions for issues that have been identified.

This combination of basic steps will "ensure there is some accountability for the survey process and taking action."

Share the results of your survey with your employees and team members, and encourage everyone to discuss results. Compare the results with previous surveys in the past, and touch on not only the areas where you have improved but those areas that may still need some work.

Keep Your Survey Simple

As you can see, there are different ways to measure employee engagement levels within your organization. Keep in mind that what works best for your business will depend on your company culture, scope of your business, business strategy as a whole, and the frequency at which you hope to measure your organization's engagement. Determine what your goals are before selecting a survey, and keep it simple and consistent. You may want to consider whether you will include new-hires in your engagement survey -- they may not have enough experience to be able to provide valuable feedback.

Employee engagement surveys are an excellent way to measure not only employee satisfaction but overall business success. After all, employee engagement is consistent with higher average revenue growth, net profit margin, customer satisfaction, and earnings per share. If your organization has recognized that you need to work on employee engagement, Projections is here to help. With HR audit overviews and custom video solutions to drive employee engagement, you will be well on your way to becoming an employer of choice.

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About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

With over 25 years in the industry, and now as IRI's Director of Business Development, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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