To properly manage employee engagement, you have to collect data. This process allows your culture conversation to be substantive and strategic. Measuring engagement also establishes what is possible within an organization and helps eliminate excuses from under-performing departments or leaders.
Not to be overlooked though, is the experience employees have when going through the survey process. Their experience is perhaps even more important to your company than the data itself. Why? At a fundamental level, every person inside your organization wants to feel seen and heard. People want to be engaged. We are hardwired to come to work, to connect with others, to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. Every team member has experiences and opinions to share that can make your company better, more compelling, and more successful. Truly listening to your employees is a critical step in the right direction for creating a deeply engaged organization – which is why regular engagement surveys are so important.
To fully understand how this practice meets the fundamental need to be heard and valued, let’s look at a successful survey process from an employee’s point of view:
Senior leaders want to know what it feels like to work here. They care about my experience in the organization. They want to identify strengths and weaknesses of both the company and of individual managers because they know this directly impacts my performance as an employee. They know that asking employees directly about their experience is the most effective way to understand and improve a culture.
I was given the space to confidentially share my thoughts, frustrations, and gratitude. With my input, the things that are going well can continue to do so and the areas that need work will get the attention they deserve. By sharing my honest feedback, I have a new sense of hope and optimism that I can show up to work each day with more commitment and enthusiasm for what I do.
Senior leaders take the survey results seriously. They spend time processing our employee feedback to determine a the best course of action to better the organization. I know they are doing so, because they keep me informed every step of the way – when the results come in, how they are processing them, and then, most importantly, what the results say and mean for us as a company.
They don’t keep the results to themselves or try to gloss over the opportunities for growth. I know they received our message, and they let us know as soon as possible exactly what they heard. As they share results, they tell us what we can celebrate as an organization, and where we have room to grow in order to make the culture at our company healthier and more vibrant.
The process isn’t over after hearing from me and my colleagues. Change is an ongoing effort with buy-in needed from employees at every level. I trust my senior leaders and managers across the company will continue to enact change in big and small ways so we can see the impact of sharing our voices. Then, next year, we’ll repeat the process so we have accurate data points of our performance and improvements – and I’ll have faith that my organization is invested in me and the success of our overall mission.
Before you conduct your next survey, ask yourself if your employees feel like you want to hear their input. Do they believe you’re going to make changes based on what they share? If the answer is no to either of these questions, you have some work to do inside the organization in order to make employee engagement a top priority, and to make the survey process as successful as possible. To maximize the effectiveness of conducting a survey, be confident you’ve proven that you’ll listen and act on what you hear from your employees.
- To participate in an engagement survey, leadership must be willing to hear all of what employees have to say and create a plan of action based on these results.
- For best results, survey once a year. Between surveys, take the time to truly understand your results, make a clear plan for improvement, and act on those plans.
- Ready to change your team’s work culture? Learn more about our survey tool and how we can help you improve engagement on your work team.