Conducting employee engagement surveys are a useful way to gather insights into what is important for your employees. What is it that drives them to work, how are they feeling, what are the complaints they have, and how can the company resolve it.
But is it really an accurate reflection of what happens in the workplace?
A research shows that only 22% of companies are getting good results from their employee engagement surveys. Why is that?
Often employee engagement surveys are more of a tedious annual exercise than being a useful one. Reason being the manner they are conducted, and dealt with. We take a look at the four biggest problems with these surveys, and how to solve them:
Not an accurate representation, very in-the-moment
Employee engagement surveys are conducted once a year, and are most truly are a representation of what employees are feeling at that time. A week of big wins, or that particular bad day leaves a lasting impact on a survey that was meant to represent an entire year. So even if an employee in general likes the company and its culture, that particular day where he has an argument with his boss may make him channel his negative feelings in the survey.
On a different note, employees may treat it as their annual opportunity to voice all complaints about the management, and the surveys will only have their pain points. Treating a survey like their complaint paper can negate their purpose, and will not represent the clear picture.
One way to avoid this is to increase the frequency of these surveys, probably once in a month, to analyze how employees feel on a regular basis.
Not an honest feedback, despite being anonymous
Often employees are not comfortable providing honest, impartial responses in the surveys. Given the data collected in employee engagement surveys - pay grade, department, position, duration of work in the company - employees feel hesitant to report an issue as they fear being identified.
The first problem to solve in lieu of this is “fear of repercussions.'' If your employees are afraid to freely express themselves, and you have unwittingly fostered a culture of fear and secrecy, they can bring some real negative consequences to your business. To avoid this, you may consider conducting open surveys.
This will take time, particularly building trust in your employees that they can be honest without being anonymous. With multiple surveys, the fear will go and they will realise their responses are valuable, leading them to share opinions that can bring positive changes in the organization.
Measures EE score as the end result
Employee engagement surveys gives you an end result, in the form of your EE score. But it does not take into account what led to that result. Year by year, the score may keep decreasing and the company isn’t bothered. Because they are treating these surveys as a means to simply measure their employee engagement, not to improve it.
This is primarily the reason very few employee engagement surveys are generating good results. Because most organizations are mistaken that the purpose of an employee engagement survey is to benchmark against other companies. And they often treat their survey like they want to check-in on the engagement levels of their employees. It is quite a bit more than that.
If companies actually start taking action on the improvements suggested, not only will employees be more engaged, but your organization will be a significantly more attractive workplace.
No lasting change/action post survey
What happens after a survey? The management takes a look at the employee complaints and responds with some quick-win perks. Free afternoon coffee, or Free Donut Tuesdays may increase engagement for a short period of time. But they won’t lead to any lasting change.
An impending request for paternity leave, or more equitable work/life balance will not get subdued by offering a day off! Problems like these demand action from the top down, and such short term offerings will only lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction with the company, as well as the survey’s purpose.
So it’s on the companies to try and ensure that the purpose of a survey is not neglected. There are problems that can’t be solved immediately. But discussing on it, following up, and involving your employees in the process will create transparency, and the feeling that their opinion does matter.
In addition to this, conducting an employee engagement survey from start to finish can become a costly affair for small and medium companies, besides being an operational nightmare. You announce the survey on the intranet, share it via a different solution, and collating results often means stradling different tools and systems. And then, aligning survey results with organizational action items for improvement is next to impossible.
So, what do you do?
The Journyz platform is a great way to conduct employee engagement surveys. It’s all on one platform, from start to finish, and you can easily use the platform to set new goals based on the survey results. You can try new campaigns and initiatives that involve small groups of people, or applaud and shout out new ideas from your employees. It can help start and nurture the trust-building process, and empower your employees to be more open and honest in your surveys.