If you care about business growth and workplace culture, then employee engagement is central to that success.
But how do you measure it? Do you know how your people are feeling? Do you know what is bugging them? Fear not, most employers don’t. But, there’s a solution for that: Surveys.
If you want to achieve great business results, you need engaged employees – employees who will go and above and beyond to execute their tasks, help colleagues and deliver a great customer experience.
Sounds great right?
Employee engagement surveys lets you in on what’s working in your company and what isn’t.
It gives you deep insight into how you can fix what is broken – the disengaged – before they become even more unproductive and in some cases, exhibit deviant behaviours or even leave the company.
– Gallup 2017 State of the American Workplace
The good news? Engaged employees are 87% less likely to quit their jobs.
So, that’s a pretty strong case for any employer to conduct an employee engagement survey and measure their employee's engagement levels.
It’s no secret; that the global workplace is in the throes of an employee disengagement crisis. It’s the biggest threat to building a high-performing organisation.
According to employee engagement research specialists, Gallup, in its 2013 State of the Global Workplace, it confirms the engagement crisis: “only 13% of employees are engaged at work”.
In South Africa; only 9% of the workforce is engaged versus 45% who are actively disengaged!
Disengaged workers are not productive, don’t collaborate with their teams, and often their decrease in employee engagement has serious repercussions. Including; negatively influencing their colleagues around them, absenteeism, lower customer satisfaction and ultimately poor financial performance.
Do you know how your company’s employee engagement levels are right now?
Before you bury your head in the sand, you’re not alone – the global workplace is in a state of declination. With automation, Millennials, local and global economic uncertainty it’s no surprise that employee engagement levels are being negatively impacted.
According to PDT’s 2016 State of Employee Engagement Report, in South Africa; “84% of employees think their companies could do ‘significantly more’ to engage more openly, actively and frequently with staff.”
In other words, you need to talk to them and find out what their issues are, not with an annual survey but with more regular, meaningful interactions.
The war for talent is compounding companies' efforts to attract, retain and engage the best employees. This is because few companies can fully translate their value propositions into a true employee experience.
And, one of the pillars of a great employee experience is that employees want to be heard; feel like their opinion matters.
They want to collaborate and be empowered – by having a voice – to help drive their companies forward if given the opportunity.
And, the easiest way to do this is simply to ask them directly using surveys. But how exactly do you do that? If used correctly, surveys enable employees to have a voice within the company.
Managers and leadership can garner pertinent insights that can help fix things that need fixing and continue doing what is working within the company.
You may even discover things in a survey that you might have been ignoring – and this is a good thing because now you can address it.
Some of the best employee engagement surveys will measure aspects such as:
3. Work relationships
5. Job satisfaction
Having said that; surveys won’t produce key insights and results if its not administered correctly or the process of analysing the data is flawed.
Surveys need to have a strategy or plan that supports the outcomes that the company seeks.
Employees often feel that surveys are unnecessary, HR tick box items and the company has no intention of changing anything in the short- or long-term.
As a result? HR managers also have a stressful task of actually getting employees to participate and to ensure that after the survey, an action plan is mapped out to raise levels of employee satisfaction are in place.
Working with a survey specialist that offers custom questionnaires, pulse surveys can make this task far easier. They have the skills to match your company goals with the right survey.
Here are the top five reasons you should conduct an employee engagement survey in your company:
1. To measure employee engagement levels in your company
The main reason for conducting an employee engagement survey is to measure your organisations level of engagement. You can measure primary drivers for you to assess whether your company employees are engaged or disengaged. Drivers can include: career advancement, job role clarity, training, management, opportunities to grow and recognition.
2. Make your employees voices heard.
Not all employees will have the self-confidence to raise issues with their managers face-to-face. That’s why an employee engagement survey is an ideal way to see how your employees are feeling while remaining completely anonymous. It's a transparent feedback channel that establishing two-way dialogue and gives the employees’ an opportunity to voice their concerns. It also sends out a message of inclusion – that their opinions are valued.
3. To increase employee engagement.
Obviously, you don’t only want to measure employee engagement, you want to increase this as well as higher levels of productivity in your company.
The data contained in the survey can help you build actionable next steps, as it will afford you an opportunity to identify weaknesses, strengths and opportunities for employee engagement within the company. It is completely up to you whether you will develop separate plans for tackling the stronger and weaker areas of engagement or a holistic plan. Either way, you’ll have sufficient insights to act on increasing engagement.
4. Learn from engaged business units.
Analysing areas of the survey such as management effectiveness or employee satisfaction across different business units can give you real outcomes for change. Using an employee engagement survey to assess levels of engagement can highlight areas within your company that are best-practice. Consider this: If a business unit ranks high for engagement, focus on how it’s been able to achieve those levels and use it as a yardstick for boosting engagement in other business units across the organisation.
5. Benchmark company engagement results of industry engagement results.
Conducting regular employee engagement surveys gives you a great opportunity to compare your company statistics with industry engagement statistics. You’ll gain a clear understanding of how your company is performing, in terms of employee engagement, against companies of the same size or industry. This allows you to understand whether your engagement challenges are specific to your company or is a challenge faced across the industry.
A great framework for your employee engagement survey.
Now that you have uncovered the engagement challenges that a survey can tackle as well as the top five reasons to conduct it from an analysis perspective; let’s take a look at a best-practice framework for your employee engagement survey;
1. How many questions?
Nobody has time for long, arduous surveys, there’s work to do and meetings to be had. A pulse survey (one or two questions) is a great way to quickly check in to see the mood of the organisation. Based on that feedback, you could develop a short, custom survey (five to seven questions) that delves a bit deeper. Make it quick and easy – limiting the number of questions, keeps response rates high.
2. How easy do I make it?
Let’s leave the convoluted questions for another industry. No need to go hyper-analytical to find out how your employees feel or think for that matter. Think easy-to-complete, simple to understand and straight to the point – no hidden meaning questions.
3. How often do I send it?
Frequency for pulse surveys are generally sent out weekly or bi-weekly. It may sound like survey-overload but because they’re a few quick, easy questions, employees don’t feel the time burden to complete it and you can capture employee sentiment at any time, quickly. Company dynamics change all the time; new employees are onboard, current employees become disengaged – so it’s important to have a tool that you can quickly measure to stay on top of your company happiness sentiment.
4. Will it be a lot of data to capture?
Whether you use a pulse or short, custom survey, there’ll be a maximum of seven questions. Remember, you are just checking sentiment and workplace mood to understand happiness levels, so expect a small amount of data. And, if you followed the non-convoluted survey approach, the data should be pretty straightforward to capture.
5. Will the data be easy to review?
When you put simple, easy-to-answer questions to your employees, you’ll get easy-to-understand responses back and you’ll be able to see what your employees are feeling about any topic, quickly.
You are now well-positioned to make positive strides to measure and identify areas within your company that need to improve its engagement levels, and business success is within reach.