Essential terms used by HR and their meanings.

Employee engagement survey

Employee engagement surveys are used to assess the levels of motivation and engagement in the workforce. Highly engaged and well-motivated employees will be perform better, be happier and are more likely to be retained by the organisation for longer.

Running a programme of employee engagement surveys will help an organisation identify areas that are having positive and negative impacts on engagement. Over time this can be translated in to an action plan to improve and enhance the employee experience to generate more employee engagement.

Remember, a survey programme will need to be run continuously with regular data gathering to be of real benefit when informing changes to organisational culture. It will also be important to be able to manage and analysis the data relatively quickly and provide insight quite easily, so consider this when creating question for any survey:

  • Keep it simple – Be aware of how complex the questions could become, ensure that you keep each question as short and specific as possible. If questions are too long or encompass more than one element of the employee experience, consider splitting the up over multiple parts. This should help keep data manageable.

  • Have an open-ended opportunity for employees to feedback – Giving the employees the chance to express opinions regarding their work and the work environment overall may reveal surprising things. Acting on or following up with employees who raise issues to better understand them will make individuals feel like they are an important part of the process.

  • Talk less, listen more - The point of running an employee engagement survey is so employees have a say. Where absolutely necessary provide contextual explanations, however, this should be kept at a minimum to ensure the success of your survey.

  • Work on a five point scale – Especially when first establishing your survey programme working to a five point scale (such as strongly agree – strongly disagree) will help to keep the range of responses received manageable. This allows for easier data analysis with directly comparison of scores for each question and mean major issues are easy to spot.

Employee engagement survey results and action plan

Once a survey programme is up and running results should be categorised and used to assess performance in specific areas, this will deliver better understanding of the results and guide planning for follow up activity.

  • Demographics – Having a better understanding of the demographics of the workforce can help identify trends that are more prevalent in certain age ranges etc.

  • Leadership – Knowing how well lead the workforce feels can help guide development of the senior team in the organisation, and provide a window on how well understood and explained organisational strategy is.

  • Job Satisfaction – Finding out the satisfaction levels across the workforce can help you identify potential morale problems and understand the experience of the highest performers.

  • Organisational Culture – Assessing how well organisational culture is promoting employee engagement can identify areas of ambiguity or poor relationships between teams.

  • Communication – Building an appreciation of how fit-for-purpose the communication processes and tools the organisation uses can pin-point areas of friction created through poor comms.

  • Motivation and Commitment – Gauging how levels of motivation and commitment change over time can help to identify flight risks and areas where career management and development options are poor.

  • Training, Development and Career Management – Understanding how employees want to develop, how effective the training methods in place are, and what employee career aspirations are, can be used to create more engaging and tailored training plans.

  • Recognition and Rewards – Developing a picture of how well the current recognition programme is working and ways that you can enhance or expand reward packages will provide some clear direction for your employee reward and recognition strategy.

  • Wellbeing – Monitoring wellbeing across the workforce will highlight potential wellbeing risks and allow a more open discussion on an often-sensitive subject area.

  • Final Thoughts – Providing employees an area to capture any ideas, observations or items of very high importance to them will provide a small but important data set that can be analysed to identify areas where large engagement advancements could be made that may not be fully exposed through the standard survey questions.

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Once you have insight on these areas, you can look for opportunities to benchmark against the wider industry and know which areas need priority intervention or are over-performing. Armed with this information an action plan can be created.