HR · 29 August 2019

How firms need to measure staff engagement effectively

In this article, we will be exploring how the employee satisfaction survey can be a valuable tool. With a strengthening global economy and unemployment at record lows, today’s employees have abundant options when it comes to where they want to work and why they should stay. 

Against that background, firms need to work harder not only to recruit but to retain. The best way to do that is to engage your employees. Thoughtfully show your team that you value them and their feedback. After all, today’s employees are increasingly deciding who to work for based on whether a firm will help them grow. 

Measure and act upon feedback 

The best way to ascertain what matters to your employees is to maintain regular dialogue. Rather than rely on an infrequent annual employee feedback survey. Most organisations go through the motions of an annual survey, crunch the data and return results to leadership teams and managers.

This broad-brush approach misses the nuances of employee engagement and is too infrequent to create meaningful action. So hold yourself and your staff accountable for improving your work environment. Frequently measuring the metrics for the sentiments and actions of your teams is a step towards progress. 

Key planning, design and participation pitfalls to be avoided when it comes to properly capture employee engagement:

Inadequate survey planning

Many companies are unaware of what valuable data there is at their disposal that can be turned into applied and actionable content. It is important to assess data sources during the outreach planning stage. Then recognise any data protection, such as GDPR or union concerns. At the same time, it is essential to involve the right stakeholders for strategic placement. 

Weak survey design

There is a tendency for question overload in survey design, which puts employees off. So look to utilise any new HR technology such as comment sentiment analysis, so you can get extra insight from well-crafted questions. Today’s employee listening platforms can run ‘hot topic’ surveys on an ad hoc basis, leaving the more expansive surveys to be analysed differently.  

Survey participation hurdles

How many employees are participating in your company surveys?

Remember that forcing people to respond to surveys creates negative behaviour. Employees should always see the impact over time of their feedback, for themselves and their companies.

Once you’ve begun to establish frequent, transparent conversations, examine the trends revealed in your ongoing engagement surveys — take the comments on board — and proactively use the survey insights, both quantitative and qualitative, to start a conversation. Focus on any interventions you go on to make. Look at using modern survey platforms on mobile devices to more readily engage them, as well. 

While deeper levels of analysis are helpful, remember that trying to base business decisions on results from a team of five, when one person is 20% of the vote, will distort the general picture.

It is therefore beneficial to have a clearer understanding of higher-level trends. To achieve this you need to see surveys as any other type of management intelligence, driving improvements in performance, collaboration and conversation.

Employee engagement has emerged as a critical driver of business success in today’s digital marketplace. Gathering and acting on feedback from employees frequently is one of the most important things organisations can do to maintain engagement and make sure employees are motivated. Ensure your teams are kept motivated, fulfilled and connected by measuring – and don’t stop!

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Steven Buck is Regional Director (EMEA) at employee engagement leader Glint.