As an employer, you will no doubt want your employees to enjoy working in your organisation and not just turn up every day because they are paid to, but how do you know what they genuinely think about working for you if you don’t ask them?
You may well have heard the term ‘employee engagement’, which is broadly how employees feel about working at an organisation and how that impacts on their behaviours at work and their desire to continue working there. There have been many surveys of leaders of various sized organisations over the years, both nationally and globally, that have highlighted a need to look at the levels of employee engagement within organisations, as this engagement has been linked to employee turnover rates and as having an impact on overall business performance.
There are lots of different ways to measure engagement but in this week’s blog we thought we would give you a quick overview of the pros and cons of two types of employee engagement survey.
The areas covered in this post are:
1. Annual Employee Engagement Surveys
These are companywide surveys compiling multiple questions broken down into different categories such as pay & benefits, welfare, job satisfaction etc. The benefit of this type of survey is you only administer it once a year and you can take the time to incorporate questions on every element of working life that you want to gauge your employees’ opinion on.
There are a whole of host of providers out there that can assist you with running the survey (paper or online), help you with sample questions and most importantly, analyse the results. Because these surveys are run just once a year the likely response rate should be higher than for surveys that are run more regularly.
By running a survey of this depth, it shows employees that you are interested in their views on the organisation and they in turn feel appreciated and that they can contribute to how things are done.
2. What are the Downsides of Annual Employee Engagement Surveys?
As these are more involved and generally include many questions, annual surveys can take a fair amount of time to prepare, run and collate. If you choose to use a survey provider there will of course be a cost involved and depending on how involved they get, this can be hundreds or thousands of pounds.
To ensure you get a genuine and honest response you should try to ensure the survey is anonymous and you may find your data may not be totally accurate if you make the process ‘compulsory’. To that end, even with annual surveys, you can’t guarantee you’ll get a 100% response rate and therefore an entirely complete picture of how engaged everyone is in the organisation.
3. Pulse Surveys
An employee pulse survey is a quick and regular survey, that involves short and simple questions and is designed to be done weekly, or every few weeks. They give a quick insight into the health of a company, hence the name ‘pulse’.
As these are short surveys, the time needed to prepare them will generally be less than for an annual survey. They encourage regular communication between you and your employees and hopefully develop a culture of honest feedback, whilst also offering feedback on how your current HR Strategy is being received.
They are fairly easy to run so you’re less likely need the assistance of an external organisation and you can therefore be flexible on the questions you ask throughout the year depending on what is important to you at that time.
4. Taking Your Finger Off the Pulse
Once you start you need to keep going with pulse surveys, so you need either a series of questions that you will run through over the course of the year or decide on the same questions to ask each time. You will need someone to take ownership of these surveys to ensure they do go out regularly. Because pulse surveys go out so frequently then you can find that response rates go through peaks and troughs across the year. Don’t get despondent if you see a dip!
5. Digesting the Data
You need to be prepared to do something with the information you collect from any survey you do and you also need to think carefully about the questions you ask. Employee Engagement Surveys give employees a voice and really contribute to making them feel valued BUT if you then ignore what they have to say that you can end up doing more harm than good. It’s also important to set expectations with your employees regarding what will happen with the information you gather. How will you feed the results back to them as an example?
Engagement may be an overused term but it still has a key role to play in the working life of all organisations. Unless you prefer the dictatorial approach, it is well worth utilising the information you have available to you (your employees’ opinions) to help direct your efforts in making changes to how your working practices, benefits and culture impact on your employees’ work satisfaction. It is sometimes overlooked, but in most organisations employees have a direct impact on the bottom line and if they are happy at work they should by default be more efficient and productive. It’s a bit of a no brainer really.