Preparation and a solid employee engagement strategy are key elements to conducting a successful survey. An organization must take the necessary time to prepare its employees and management by communicating its motivations, the survey results, and implementing a follow-up process.
One of the most basic questions to ask upper management before conducting the survey is, “Why should we invest in an employee engagement survey?” It may seem obvious to you, but if your team does not see the reasons behind it, then a survey could be more of an obstacle than a benefit.
Senior leaders think in terms of strategy, financial impact, and ROI. It is important to couch the reasons for conducting an employee engagement survey in these terms. Have your senior leaders discuss the why before beginning and how they will convey their motivations to the team weeks ahead of time.
This brings us to step two. What results will you share with your employees, when, and how?
Communication is a key strategy. It builds trust with employees by celebrating successes and reinforcing the positives as well as bringing problems into the open. Focus on company-wide issues without singling out problem areas or managers.
- Surveys measure employee engagement. This is the primary reason to conduct a survey. Employee engagement is a driver of success. Period. And taking the pulse of your organization and seeing where employees are thriving and where employees are not is a crucial first step to improvement and success.
- Surveys give employees a voice, opening communication. When employees feel like their ideas have value, they feel like their work has value. Invested employees are productive employees.
- Surveys are a way to increase engagement by finding an organization’s strengths and problem areas. With a solid follow-through plan, senior management can pin-point issues an organization and build on its strengths while implementing an improvement plan. Again, increasing productivity.
All employees should have access to some of the survey results – both positive and negative – in a timely matter.
Finally, before conducting a survey, an organization must set aside resources and manpower to the improvement process. There needs to be an engagement strategy. This is where we see, time and again, organizations failing to embrace the concept of the survey. A survey is more than just informational.
Senior leaders must be held accountable for changing behaviors and supporting initiatives as they are an example for the entire team. Top leaders will need to set aside time each month to monitor progress and offer guidance. Functional leaders and managers will need to communicate with their teams and visibly support change initiatives. And HR will need to commit to the task at hand, focusing time and energy administering the process and further communicating with the ranks.
Time must be set aside to prioritize an organization’s needs based on the results from the employee engagement survey. This means resources and commitment.
Without a follow-up plan, an organization risks losing employees’ trust and increasing employee disengagement.
Know the why, when and how, communicate it, get senior leaders on board, and prepare your team for not only the survey but its benefits.