Engagement Surveys

We must first ask what is an engaged workforce? Put simply, it could be said that an engaged workforce is one in which all employees are actively pursuing and driven by the organisational goals. They are content with their working environment and tasks and are actively consulted regarding pending changes and the impact it will eventually have on them.

Many organisations take employee engagement very seriously. They expend in some cases thousands of dollars on developing critical questionnaires that delve into their employees psyche, in the hope that they will better understand their workforce.

Organisations that conduct these tests should be commended. However, in many cases the result is highly skewed and the data is therefore fatally flawed. The problem with this testing is two fold.

1) The disengaged workforce does not trust the employers motives: This workforce is concerned that the anonymous survey/test is actually a noted test and their employer will know what they have stated. This results in the employee either providing false details in the survey or alternatively not participating in the program. The false positive provides information to the employer which perceives itself as an employer of choice with a highly engaged workforce where the very opposite is true. If employees do not participate in the program at all then the data is positive heavy which essentially means that results are not a true scope of the workforces sentiments and are only the impression of the few.

2) The questions are structured to skew the data so that the employer appears to have conducted a full engagement survey when in fact the results could not be further from the truth. Engagement surveys like any data collection device can be skewed to provide answer you want depending on how the actual questions are phrased. Therefore these strategies can direct the employee to answer how the employer wants thus painting a blurred picture of the employees true level of engagement.

There are obviously a variety of methods that would allow you to maximise the results from an engagement survey some are extremely costly others very time consuming and some methods are both time consuming and extremely costly.

It is also important to remember that what works for one organisation may not work for another. This is due to cultural differences and levels of existing engagement.

What you should consider when developing an effective engagement program is initially conducting, subject to the size of the organisation, interviews with random employees. Again it is often best to use an external group and present to these employees independently and without any preconceived lists or names. The anonymity of this strategy allows for clear, concise and rigorous data.

When interviewing the employees it is also best to be general in your language and questioning. This is designed to obtain the most information so that the key areas listed can be isolated and verified.

Once this data is collected an effective engagement survey can be produced, as always there will be erroneous data and dependent on organisational size there may be a significant number of employees whom may indeed choose not to participate at all.

If you are operating a large organisation it is advantageous to utilise the strength of the relationship between line managers and subordinates to encourage them to complete the survey. Again using external links and organisations is your best option for true and correct data collection.

Once the data is collected it is important to conduct a full and thorough analysis, to ascertain the organisations strengths and weaknesses.

The most critical issue is to report the results to your employees in a clear and concise manner with an emphasis on what they desire. This aids the engagement strategy. Furthermore, by recognising the employee concerns a pathway can be designed to rectify and eliminate these, thus creating over a period of time that all-important engaged work force. Additionally if the feedback requires little action it provides the employer with the opportunity to further engage their employees creating a workforce of super engaged employees.