So what does it take to create an off-the-charts employee engagement survey? We’ve found that reflecting on these five critical questions will help you stay on track:
1. What are your strategic priorities? To run a successful employee engagement program, start by focusing on your business priorities. What are the biggest challenges your organisation? What are your strategic objectives? How efficiently is your organisation operating and what are your people’s priorities?
Delve into these questions before considering what to include in a survey to ensure your research efforts align with organisational priorities.
2. With business priorities in mind, what should your survey agenda focus on? We’ve found that conducting brief quarterly engagement surveys lulls leaders and managers into a false sense of security – mainly because engagement levels are high and stable in many organisations.
To help our clients clarify and define their survey agenda, we ask them to focus on one question: What do your leaders, managers, and employees need to learn right now to drive organisational performance? Reflecting on this will help construct surveys around items that are vital to the overall organisation strategy rather than the latest construct, management fad, or survey solution on offer.
3. What research methods are best suited to answer your most critical questions? “How many questions should we ask? When should we ask them?” Two of the most common survey design concerns, and while both are critical – they shouldn’t be the first questions to consider.
Before setting survey length and cadence, it’s important to determine what type of assessment will generate the deepest insights. To produce high-quality research, there must be a fit between the method you use and the type of knowledge you’re seeking to generate. If you’re exploring a new topic like employee experience, qualitative methods (e.g., virtual focus groups, open ended surveys with natural language processing) may yield the best insights. But if you are trying to identify predictive relationships (e.g., what predicts employee turnover), careful measurement using validated scales is best.
When it comes to research, form must follow function. By assessing current level of knowledge about your topic of interest and thinking about the potential implications of your findings, you’ll be more likely to select a methodology that will best serve your research purpose.
4. Who should you survey and when? This step in your reflection process is critical, as asking the right questions to the wrong people at the wrong time produces little more than low-quality data and a frustrated workforce. For example, asking new employees about their work experience too early (e.g., the end of their first day) or too late (e.g., the end of their first year) will limit what your organisation can learn about its on-boarding process.
Top employee engagement programs strike a balance between scientific rigor and real world practicalities. By comparing the ideal research sample and cadence with the impact that your research program is going to have on participants, you’ll determine the most viable roll-out options for your surveys.
5. How will you turn data into insight and action? Surveys create expectations for change, and your employees will expect something to happen as a result of their feedback. If surveys don’t lead to action, you’ll be at risk of disengagement. This means that if employees are asked for their feedback on a regular basis, leaders and managers must be prepared to respond just as regularly. By thinking through who gets feedback and when, you can ensure that your pulse reports are delivered to the right people at the right time, and deliver actionable results.
Want to learn more about how to establish a well-rounded and successful employee engagement program within your organisation? Our team can help, get in touch with us now.
This article was originally published on mercer.us.
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