Why Do an Employee Engagement Survey?

Effective employee engagement can be the key to various benefits for your business. In fact, it’s not just the company itself that gains advantages here. The employees themselves, your customers, and all stakeholders can achieve positive outcomes. The thing is, you can’t just set up shop and hope employee engagement just occurs. You need to gain insights before you’re able to shift in the appropriate direction. This should be informed and driven by an intentional strategy that stakeholders at all levels of your organization have bought into. An employee engagement survey is a vital tool here.

However, you can’t escape the fact that implementing any kind of strategic survey takes investment of time and resources. These are elements you should rightly be protective over if you hope to run a profitable enterprise. As such, before you commit to the process of this type of survey, it’s worth getting a good handle on why it can make a difference in your business.

We’re going to dive a little deeper into some of the key reasons to perform an employee engagement survey. 

1. To Gauge Where You Are

The starting point for any change is knowing the current status of your business. This is not something you tend to be able to assess from the general atmosphere of the company or even by looking at your turnover or productivity rates alone. So many other elements influence that kind of data and you don’t tend to get any actionable engagement intelligence as a result.

A survey, on the other hand, is a deft tool in this regard. When designed correctly, it provides you with both quantitative and qualitative insights into how engaged your workforce is. Importantly, it allows you to immediately see how these elements are currently impacting company activities.

An engagement survey is also one of the more accurate ways to establish the present state of affairs among your workforce. Indeed, if you opt for an anonymous survey, you can find you’re in receipt of a brutally honest and therefore more immediately actionable understanding of the situation. This is especially important when your company is undergoing a process of change and you’re not clear how the workforce is responding to or coping through it.

2. To Identify Gaps

Issues in your business can feel somewhat nebulous. You can see something’s not working but may not be entirely certain where the contributing problems may lie. In all likelihood, it will be the result of several aspects rooted in employee experience and engagement. 

An employee engagement survey helps to identify the gaps you need to bridge. It’s important to acknowledge that this isn’t a miracle device to pinpoint or solve the issues with engagement. Instead, you need to think of it as one of the most useful discovery tools at your disposal.

A survey is the intelligence gathering part of an investigation. You get to look at the trends in engagement and get a better idea of the hurdles your workers have to navigate. You’ll even gain some suggestions of the roads you need to follow to uncover the most appropriate solutions. 

Some of the outcomes will certainly be surprising, too. Business leaders often approach issues affecting staff through the perspectives of their own executive experience. It’s one of the reasons it can be so difficult to gain accurate insights through management-led evaluations alone; there are a lot of unconscious biases that can impact the results. A survey removes a great deal of the management lens and puts data provision into the hands of the employees themselves. 

3. To Improve Employee Ownership

One of the areas businesses fall down in keeping their employees connected to the business is by taking what is essentially an autonomous approach. They dictate to workers what is effective in business and set expectations about how employees should respond. We’re seeing this becoming especially problematic lately. Business leaders’ reluctance to recognize worker opinions is certainly contributing to the Great Resignation. A well-designed employee engagement survey is an immediate communication that your company is seeking to empower its workers.

In the end, one of the key factors in engaging your staff is helping them to feel as though they’re not just cogs in the machine. They want to know that their opinions and talents matter, that they have a certain amount of ownership of the business they dedicate so much of their time and energy to. An employee engagement survey is one of the tools you can demonstrate how important their voices are. 

That said, this only works if you take a detail-oriented approach to the survey process. It can’t just be a list of standardized questions. You need to provide opportunities for your employees to provide qualitative data. These questions should also provide openings for workers to highlight aspects of the business that are forefront in their minds. This in turn can alert you to current employee priorities and elements that are trending with the business you may not already be aware of. 

However, to gain valuable responses here, you must make certain your workers feel comfortable explaining their ideas and impressions honestly. Give them reassurance that their answers are going to be taken seriously. Take the time to explain how the outcomes will be used in actionable ways and even give a forum for employees to actually discuss the results further.

4. To Inform Company Growth

Employee influence on your business is inescapable. It is how you embrace and direct this that dictates the type of influence they have. An engagement survey can help to establish ideas and perspectives on what directions the business can grow in, including:

Employee development

Questions surrounding skills and the development process can help you identify what matters to workers in their professional growth and how they engage with current programs. This in turn can help you establish more effective methods of training and guidance, which can boost worker efficiency and company growth. Importantly, you can uncover areas of interest in skills that can bridge knowledge gaps and help the company to innovate. 

You’ll also find your engagement survey results can highlight the development needs of managers and company leadership. Responses surrounding interactions with managers and workers’ feelings about leadership efficacy can provide direction for any necessary additional support and training. Indeed, it can give you insights into leadership gaps that could present valuable development opportunities as you strive to bridge these. 

Company values

One of the elements that both impacts ongoing engagement with workers and a company’s connection with communities is the business’ core set of values. This can be a firm part of the identity of many companies, but it may also not fully represent its workforce. Employees that feel they share ethical priorities with their employers tend to be more engaged.

This is especially relevant when it comes to engaging Gen-Z workers. This cohort has repeatedly made it clear that solid ethics and environmental responsibility are priorities to them in the workplace. According to a report by Employee Benefit News (EBN), a study by ethics and compliance training provider LRN found that “In the future, an employee’s desire to stay with their company is predicted to hinge on a company’s ethics, purpose and commitment to developing a sense of belonging.”

Therefore, a survey is a chance to see where the company can grow and develop in this regard. Employees also tend to be more in touch with the priorities of their communities and can therefore influence social improvements that result in more positive consumer relationships.

5. To Impact Customer Service

One of the clear benefits of solid employee engagement is the effect it has on customer service levels, which in turn impacts client retention. It’s likely to be the case that your workers aren’t intentionally truncating their customer interactions or unwilling to serve to the best of their ability. But at the same time, they will be probably aware of the hurdles standing in the way of them providing your consumers with the best outcomes.

This may be from the perspective of specific skills — both technical and soft in nature — that are holding them back. It could even be that their lack of satisfaction or work-life balance is impacting their quality of life or mental wellbeing, which in turn inadvertently affects their relationships with consumers. A well-designed employee engagement survey can help you get to the heart of such issues so you can identify actionable ways to make improvements. 

In turn, your customers get a better level of service. Their approval of this new process can help your workers gain more satisfaction and greater engagement, which feeds into the ongoing success of the company. When you take engagement surveys seriously and follow up on the information, nobody loses.

In Summary

An employee engagement survey is not just a route to gaining a packet of nebulous data. When designed correctly, it is a valuable source of actionable knowledge on everything from the company’s current position to gaps that need to be addressed. It can also have a direct impact on employee retention and satisfaction alongside informing company growth. Importantly, it can influence better customer service which can develop into a virtuous cycle with positive results for everyone involved. 

It can take some investment, but implementing an employee engagement survey is a vital step on the road to a successful enterprise.