Giving employees a voice through engagement surveys

Employee engagement is a big topic. Google studied it in 2012 (for 2 years) and found that psychological safety was the most important organisation factor to develop engaged staff and engaged teams.

And the benefits of employee engagement are significant. Recently, employemnthero.com released statistics that a high level of employee engagement can deliver a 21% increase in profits and a 41% decrease in absenteeism.

We all sort of get this … but a lot of leaders either struggle with improving employee engagement, or more importantly, they struggle with understanding where it is right now. It is hard to improve something that you haven’t measured. So how do we measure not only employee engagement, but the culture of your organisation in general.

What we know from working with our clients is that there is not one ideal process that can be used across all businesses, to get a take on how employees are feeling, thinking, and behaving. Survey tools are the best way to gather information, and then to act on that information, but how can you survey your staff?

Here are the 3 most effective surveying processes, that we have utilized with our clients, to obtain information ranging from 360-degree feedback for leaders, to safety culture, to employee engagement. As well as the process we have adopted, I will also explain the dos and the don’ts of each process.

1. Workshop it

Advantages: This is a great process, as workshops are a valuable way of gaining real time information, from the heart, that is open and honest. In 2021, you can even do this via MS Teams, or Zoom

Disadvantages: They can be time consuming, and a drain on the organisation, though the investment in your teams and team members is worth it. Also, workshops are not as anonymous as other processes, so this needs to be a consideration

Do: Get a trained facilitator to run the sessions, work with the facilitator, to make sure you get the data you need, and please, please let the organisation know what is happening … in advance … over prepare everyone so they know what is happening, and why

Don’t: Let workshops turn into a ‘whining’ session. Keep them productive, and don’t get stuck in the minutia of day-to-day business

2. Electronic Survey it (real time with handheld technology)

Advantages: Real time surveying has been by far the best option we have ever utilized for our clients. It is quick and easy, it is anonymous, it allows people in the workshop to see the results … instantaneously … and it prompts a discussion about the results (winners, all round)

Disadvantages: It does take a workshop environment, to make electronic surveying effective, hence there is a time commitment (though from experience, hand on heart), the time commitment is very much worth the investment)

Do: Make sure the survey technology works, make sure the facilitator knows how to use it, and make sure that it is explained properly

Don’t: Rush the process, make sure you take your time to explain the question, unpack the responses and give the respondents time to understand the survey results

3. Online Survey it

Advantages: Surveying that is done electronically is a great way of providing a quick and easy way for people to access a survey and complete it in their own time, without any distractions

Disadvantages: Some staff members may not have smart devices, or they may question the anonymity of the survey, if they have to provide any personal details, like an email address

Do: Get a trained surveyor or organisational development expert to write the question set, so that you capture the information that you need to (remember, people can skip online questions, or not even do the survey – so the questions need to be relevant)

Don’t: Make it too overcomplicated. The easier it is to do the survey, the more likely it is that it will get done. And, back to the questions, don’t just get a standard set of questions from another business, or so that you can ‘benchmark’ again others. Your question set needs to be relevant to your organisation only, not the world

4. Paper Survey it

Advantages: The ‘old school’ (which we still do at times – and are in the middle of another paper-based survey with a client, as I write this blog) strategy is very time efficient. It is very anonymous, and is quite easy to administer (we even did this with a video that all staff watched while they completed the survey)

Disadvantages: It is hard to get people to complete it, and it generally takes a lot of reminders. The best way to avoid this is to provide time at a regular meeting, when everyone is present, and hand it out (don’t’ thank me now). The other advantage is that you are able to ask both multiple choice and short answer questions

Do: As with the online survey, get a trained surveyor or organisational development expert to write the question set. That is a key element of any survey

Don’t: Make it too overcomplicated. With paper-based surveys, a Likert Scale (1 through 5) or similar, are best, as they can be quickly and easily circled and don’t take too much thinking. And don’t make it too long … staff members will lose interest quickly …

And, of course, you can always adopt a combination of the above methods.

For example, you could opt for a workshop that utilizes a paper-based process, or a video that utilizes an online survey at the same time. The options are endless, it just takes some creative thinking, and thinking about what is best for your business.

And don’t forget it is not the survey that is most important. It is what you do with the data once it has been analysed, that is the clincher.

If your teams see you taking action, that will further increase engagement.

Go forth and ask your teams how they think and feel.

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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