Employee engagement surveys – not just a ‘ticked box’ exercise

At this time of year many organisations reflect upon the years’ activities and attempt to identify improvement strategies that can be implemented in the year to come.

Employee engagement surveys often form a part of this process and provide management with the knowledge and tools to build positive employee relations and a positive work environment. The UK continues to sit at the bottom of employee engagement polls (according to Gallop) and in 2015 it was at an 8 year low. So, there is still work to be done.

So why does employee engagement matter?

Engaged staff are more productive, take fewer days off sick and are more committed to company goals and objectives. Employers that view the thoughts, feeling and opinions of their employees as important report higher levels of engagement and productivity.

The employee engagement survey is a useful tool in this process. However, it should not be seen as simply a ‘tick box’ exercise. In order to obtain meaningful results it is important to carefully consider what questions to ask and how they are presented. Interpretation of the feedback is also important as perception bias can affect the results. Whether the outcomes are seen to be positive or negative the results should be embraced as they offer the opportunity to implement positive organisational change. But action is required so that leads to the question,

What are the drivers to ongoing engagement?

‘Buy in’ from senior management is critical. Organisations that value what employees think and feel, increase employees’ sense of inclusion and wellbeing. Historically women and hourly workers are consistently less engaged than their counterparts, so equality, diversity and inclusion strategies are also important.

The survey should be seen as a driver to ongoing, open learning environment where thoughts, opinions and ideas can be shared. Measurable improvements are possible, however these will only be achieved if employee engagement survey leads to the alignment of organisational culture and employee expectations.