The most important point of an employee survey is to take the organisation’s temperature in such a way that everyone can give feedback on important areas and voice their opinions, thereby helping to prioritise improvement measures.
More and more companies are focusing on their employees’ engagement in their surveys, to uncover what is preventing or promoting good performance.
We read in various places that employee surveys can be both resource-intensive and apparently without value, but if an employee survey is carried out correctly, it can lead to substantial benefits. *)
The best organisations work systematically with the survey, and link it directly to the business’s values, culture and overall objectives.
Here are some tips:
Purpose and goals
Define overall purpose and goal for the Employee Survey. These must have the full support of senior and line management. Examples of an employee survey’s purpose and goals:
- All employees are given a voice and the opportunity to influence and prioritise initiatives at their own workplaces.
- Managers are given the opportunity to influence strategy and initiatives.
- Managers gain a better insight in order to adopt the right initiatives to promote engagement and create a working environment that encourages strong performance.
Engagement or satisfaction?
Many businesses measure employees’ engagemenht – instead of their satisfaction. This is because there is an important element in the measurement of engagement that is not found in the measurement of satisfaction.
Engaged employees like their jobs and are constantly on the look-out for ways to improve things, while satisfied employees are more content with the current state of affairs, and a safe and predictable working environment. Furthermore, commitment is a two-way street. The organisation must strive to cultivate the engagement of its employee, who, in turn, use their engagement for the benefit of the organisation.
Engagement is a combination of:
- Strong feeling of personal responsibility
- Feeling of being an ambassador for one’s organisation.
“Engagement is about the extent to which the employee is motivated to contribute towards the organisation’s success, and their willingness to go the extra mile to achieve its overall objectives.”
Structure of an employee survey
Think about the structure of the survey in relation to the final report. One way of grouping the results could be the individual employee, the team, the manager and the organisation. Important areas to include are the company’s values and special focus areas, for example: HSE, innovation, diversity, corporate social responsibility (CSR), clarity of goals and direction, roles, perception of feedback, recognition, follow-up, etc.
Business and HR processes must be connected together
To stimulate engagement and performance, business and HR processes must be interconnected, and must be reflected in the employee survey. Understanding of and insight into the organisation’s vision, direction and overarching goals, strategy and plans must be communicated and internalised by the workforce. Individual goals and competence development must hang together with the overarching objectives, and relevant issues must be included in employee appraisals and ongoing status reviews.
The employee survey is a process that gives each employee an opportunity to exert an influence – while managers must be responsible for following up.
- Carry out the employee survey
- Review and analyse the reports
- Share the findings and prioritise initiatives
- Plan, document and implement the initiatives
- Follow-up the progress of the initiatives
Results and continuity
Assess and implement improvements to the process, monitor and measure progress over time, and create a ‘business case’ to document its value once the data have been generated. If the work done ahead of time has been solid, there is a high probability that the results will make themselves felt on the bottom line over time. Repeat the employee survey to measure and evaluate developments.
*) – World wide 13 % of employees engaged at work, in Norway only 16 % according to surveys from American Gallup.
“Low workplace engagement offers opportunities to improve business outcomes”
Text: Berit Bjerknes, CatalystOne Solutions AS