Ask Achievers: Best practices for creating engagement surveys that yield positive results

ask_achieversIn this week’s Ask Achievers, Jewel Celestine shares best practices for creating impactful engagement surveys and inspiring employee participation. Jewel is the Employee Success Business Partner at Achievers, where she develops and implements strategic HR initiatives pertaining to employee engagement and performance management.

Dear Achievers,

We are always trying to improve employee engagement at our company. We administer an engagement survey every six months to get a real-time pulse on how employees are feeling. However, we find it challenging to get more than 20 percent participation. What can we do to inspire more employee participation and also make engagement surveys more impactful?

Administering engagement surveys is crucial to benchmark your progress towards improving employee engagement. You’re on the right track! It’s great you’re trying to inspire more participation and make the surveys more impactful. I’m excited to share some best practices that will help to solve these challenges and yield better results.

How to inspire more employee participation:

  • Make the connection between why the survey is important to the organization and to the employee (What’s in it for them?).
  • Emphasize that employee feedback is important and that employees can expect action based on their feedback. The main reason that surveys fail, according to employees, is a lack of following up on the survey results.
  • Encourage regular communication from senior leaders during the engagement survey period reminding employees to complete the survey and communicating the survey’s purpose is to improve the organization (leadership, not HR, should champion the engagement survey).
  • Provide transparent and regular updates on how the survey is going, i.e., organization-wide completion rates, departmental completion rates, completion rates by manager, etc.

How to create impactful engagement surveys:

  • Link survey results to the implementation of new initiatives. Stress that “we heard you and acted on your feedback.”
  • Share the results of the survey and the impact to the organization. Be honest and transparent about the engagement scores.
  • Ensure the analysis of the survey results provides meaningful information/data on teams, leadership, strategy, managers, work processes, etc.
  • When designing the survey, ensure the questions are linked to performance measures like employee retention, training effectiveness, etc., giving leaders tangible information to have career and performance discussions with employees as well as provide another avenue to recognize their employees.

Most importantly, make sure to share the comparison between the two engagement survey results so that your organization is aware of how it has improved/not changed/deteriorated in certain areas and communicate what actions have been taken to address some of the issues from the previous survey.


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