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6 best practices for employee engagement surveys.

Adhering to best practices for an employee engagement survey ensures you assess staff sentiment and build a framework to build better employee engagement whilst addressing any issues.

these top best practices will drive the best from your employee engagement surveys.

Employees don’t have to be brimming with joy at work to be engaged. However, if they generally feel unsatisfied and demotivated, they’re likely not engaged, and that can spell trouble for your bottom line. A routine employee engagement survey is a simple way to gauge overall staff sentiment. Is your HR department following best practices for employee engagement surveys that elicit maximum participation and accurate responses?

why employee engagement matters.

Engaged employees simply perform better than disengaged employees. The latter’s only motivation for clocking in, is to collect their salary each month; nothing more. They have zero emotional investment in the company and have no reason to perform beyond the required minimum.

Here’s some data for you to consider: 

  • Disengaged employees are 60% more likely to make a workplace error. 
  • Between 10-20% of UK employees are said to be disengaged
  • Disengagement can cost as much as 35% of an employees salary. The financial impact will be greater for smaller organisations with more streamlined resources

Now that you understand why engagement matters, here are best practices for how to conduct an employee engagement survey. These practices ensure accurate metrics and high-quality feedback.

1. carry out regular employee sentiment pulse surveys

Conduct a monthly or bi-monthly pulse survey based on the main survey results from the annual (or quarterly) employee engagement survey. Pulse surveys are short, consisting of no more than three to five questions, and can be completed within five minutes.

If the main quarterly survey reveals employees are dissatisfied by the lack of promotion opportunities. The pulse survey a few weeks later can provide specific follow-up questions, such as:

  • Would you attend a company-sponsored career advancement webinar, in your own time, if we hosted one?
  • Would you be open to quarterly mentoring from a supervisor to discuss your performance and possible promotion opportunities?

Pulse surveys make your employees feel heard whilst driving a transparent approach to how senior management are proactively addressing employee engagement survey feedback.

2. keep it anonymous

By keeping surveys anonymous, employees are more likely to open up. However, there should be a system in place that allows follow-ups with individual employees while remaining anonymous. 

For example, if an employee indicates harassment took place at work, there should be a way for the employee to discuss the matter online with a manager while keeping their identity private. An anonymous chatroom is a useful tool for addressing such situations. Be sure the employee is aware all information divulged in this chatroom will remain confidential.

3. begin and end the survey with easier questions

Keep this often-overlooked detail in mind: The order of the questions is just as important as the type of questions. 

Keep easy questions at the beginning and the end. These include simple yes or no responses, likely-unlikely questions, and those that use a scale of 1 to 5. More difficult questions are the open-ended ones that require a full written response. Keep these in the middle. Structure the survey so employees remember the simple questions towards the end.

The ordering may seem insignificant, but it does impact employee perception of the survey quality. When it comes to remembering anything of sequence, the brain tends to remember the beginning and end but seldom the middle.

4. Limit open-ended questions

Employee engagement survey questions can include the open-ended variety, but limit them to no more than two. The answers can be open to interpretation, making the data less reliable.

This isn’t to say you should avoid open-ended questions altogether. It’s a good idea to have one or two of these questions. They allow employees to express themselves freely in their own words. They allow your staff to “vent” and say things they would otherwise keep to themselves. 

5. make the employee engagement survey optional but consider how you might incentivise employees to participate

Do you know how to increase employee engagement survey participation? Make it optional. Sure, making it compulsory will ensure a 100% participation rate, but it may affect the quality of responses. If it’s obligatory, employees may take a ‘just get it over with’ attitude.

All employee engagement surveys should be optional, but you could consider how employees might get something out of it for their time. This might be a small incentive such as being entered into a prize draw for a gift card. The token is a gesture that lets employees know that senior leaders value their opinion as well as their time commitment participating in the feedback survey.

6. report results back to employees

Particularly if employees invest their time outside of work to complete a work-related survey, they deserve to know the results and general feedback. Plus to maintain engagement from your employees, you need to share how your company performed within the survey Once HR and senior leaders have processed and reviewed the data, thank the participants for their time and disclose your findings. This can be a bullet-pointed list of the major points, a chart, or an infographic.

Sharing the results allows employees to see how their responses compare to the general sentiment of their peers. It also helps to see what progress might have been made against key challenges, or which issues will receive focus from the senior leadership team to resolve. 

let hireful help you conduct an employee engagement survey for free.

No employee is going to be engaged all of the time. However, employees who feel valued are more productive. Knowing how to conduct employee engagement surveys will give you the data you need to foster a work environment conducive to high morale. At hireful, we’re more than just Applicant Tracking Systems; we also offer a free employee engagement survey tool to help you gather this vital information. Contact us today to find out how else we can help!

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