Employee Survey Done Right

Talent retention is essential for company success, but how do you actually measure how employees really feel about their experience at work? Employee engagement surveys are essential to better understanding: engagement (motivation, teamwork, leadership, personal growth, feedback), well-being (mental, social, and physical workload), and DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging). 

Is an Employee Engagement survey something your organization needs to do? What should even be considered in order to make the survey define problems, and make it actionable for managers to facilitate change?

What is an Employee Engagement Survey?

The Employment Engagement Survey, usually, is a list of affirmations that will assist employees to share their thoughts and feelings in a structured way. The employee rates the affirmations between two extremes. For example, “Strongly Disagree”, “Disagree”, “Undecided”, “Agree”, and “Strongly Agree”. Other variations could go from “Very Bad” to “Very Good”, “Very Dissatisfied” to “Very Satisfied”, “Almost never” to “Almost always” depending on the affirmations. Surveys can also include open questions to which employees can reply freely.

Employment Engagement Survey can help you to understand, among other things, if your employees feel valued, if they have the equipment they need to perform their job, if their managers are providing feedback to improve their performance, and if they trust the information shared by the management. However, surveys of this type will not (and should not) be used to find out who is complaining about a project, and who is responsible for certain issues or to mask problems at the company.

If designed and implemented in an intentional and serious manner, the results of the Employment Engagement Survey can be used to increase employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention, and support you in your DEI journey.

Is the Employment Engagement Survey what your company needs at the moment?

In the best-case scenario, your company does not need an anonymous Employment Engagement Survey because all the matters are addressed and discussed openly. Employees participate actively in shaping the company’s culture and leadership sets the example by giving and receiving open feedback, being transparent, and investing time and capital into the well-being and professional development of the employees. 

However, this is different from the reality for most companies. Sometimes leadership assumes what employees want and need without asking them; employees do not hear the news directly from the management and can imagine that things are not going so well or that they do not care. There is no space or level of comfort to address sensitive topics, and they keep piling up.

Here is where the anonymous Employment Engagement Survey is helpful; to shed light on topics that affect the employer and the employees and give more precise information about where your company needs to focus its DEI strategy.

I’m in! Where to start?

If this is the first time your company is sending out an Employment Engagement Survey, here are some considerations:

  • make sure the survey is anonymous:

    • in case you are designing and implementing the survey yourself some possibilities are: Google Form (option to not collect emails), Typeform, SurveyMonkey, SurveyPlanet, etc.
    • in case you are accounting with an Employee Engagement platform check the settings. Examples of platforms that offer the service are Leapsome, Lattice, CultureAmp, HiBob, etc.
  • don’t overdo it with demographic information:

    • it is tempting to collect as much information as possible to compare and analyze. However, by collecting personal information such as gender, age, nationality, race, and position at the company, you can identify some employees. If you are between 5-30 employees, decide on the essential demographics that should be present and create frames to work with. 
    • For example, instead of asking “What is your age?”, offer the selection box option “Please indicate your age: 18<25 years old; 26<35 years old, 36<45 years old,  46<55 years old, <56 years old.
  • design a survey for YOUR company:

    • the survey has to make sense to your employees so the results will make sense to the company content and time-wise;
    • If there are many changes happening at the company, consider sending a survey every quarter. In case you just want to understand your employees better after some time of employment relationship, it would be possible to do it yearly.
    • What are the mission and values of your company? How are they translated into the organizational culture? Those questions should guide the preparation of your survey together with these 16 themes: motivation, teamwork, leadership, personal growth, accomplishment, feedback, eNPS, mental & social well-being, physical health, workload, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. 
    • the 16 themes can be opened up by different affirmations and questions, choose the ones that will give you a better perspective. Here are some examples of questions related to belonging:
      • I feel a sense of belonging at work.
      • I feel deeply connected to the work I do.
      • I feel energized at work.
      • I feel appreciated for my contributions at work.
      • I intend to continue working for this company for the next 12 months.
  • not too many questions:

    • it would be great if you could ask your employees all the questions that you have at once, and receive the results in a pie chart. But, as an employee, it can be overwhelming to answer 40-50 questions about sensitive topics.
    • pick, at least, one question for every theme, and add other questions to support them. Avoid going over 30 questions in the same survey.
  • engage with the results:

    • some companies decide to share the results of their Employment Engagement Survey and others do not. There is no right answer here but one thing is clear, you have to engage with the results, especially if they are showing you problems.
    • sit down with the decision-makers and reflect on your expectations and the actual results. Does it change something for you as a leader?
    • Create action plans for the short, medium, and long term. What is possible to change right now?
    • Show that you listened to the employees. Thank the team for participating in the survey and share how the results are being used to implement changes. If there is something too big that cannot be done because of time or financial constraints, let them know this is a priority and will not be forgotten.

Those are practical tips to support your path to being a more inclusive leader. You can find more resources here. In case you would like support setting up your employee engagement survey, contact us.

Author: Julianne Lopes
Editor: Amelia Suda-Gosch

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