Every organization could use a boost in employee engagement. However, not every company knows the best ways to make improvements. So why not ask the employees themselves? We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to crafting an employee engagement survey that will help your company bring about positive change in your organization through increased engagement.
What Is Employee Engagement and Why Is It Critical to Success?
Employee engagement is about how your employees interact with your company. It pertains to how employees connect with each other and whether their values and goals are aligned with your company's.
If cultivated successfully, employee engagement will lead to higher productivity, happier employees, increased profits, better reputation, and more.
When employees are engaged in their place of work, they're more productive—as much as 22% in some cases. When your team is more productive it is more profitable, as they generally report feeling more fulfilled and motivated. In a recent Gallup study, salespeople who were engaged significantly outperformed less engaged team members.
It’s no secret that happy employees make the best employees. Another survey found that 70% of employees across the board are looking for new jobs because they aren’t happy where they are. If you don’t want your top-performing team members to leave, then see to it that they have reason to love their jobs. Even when they do eventually move leave your company, you want them to leave on good terms and say positive things about your company.
Future prospective team members will be seeking reviews on sites with employer rating features like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Indeed when doing their research. Be sure your former employees only have great things to say. When a company finds ways to show it cares about the well-being of its employees, 89% are more likely to recommend that organization as an excellent place to work. You want staff members to boast about your business because they sincerely believe in it.
Engagement has a lot to do with company culture. And it is reported that companies with a poor culture have job turnover probability of 48.4%, overall. When investing time, money, and other resources into hiring the best candidates to fill positions, your aim is to keep them for the long haul. Employees prefer organizations that prioritize the creation and maintenance of a motivating company culture over those that don’t.
When it comes to fostering a workplace culture with better engagement, it can be difficult to know what to focus on. When deciding whether or not to establish tenure with a company, there are several culture aspects that employees must consider.
Let’s examine some of the top areas to address when creating an effective employee engagement survey.
People want to be able to have autonomy. They don’t want to be micromanaged. They want to be trusted to do the job they were hired to do. Ultimately, that trust will show them they are respected and their work is valued. Employees should be given the ability and support to act on their authority. They should feel that they can innovate on the job and have stakes in bringing real change to the organization at large. Employees want a voice and to know you believe in them.
Any good employee wants career progress—it’s human nature to want to learn, improve, and move in a forward direction. If there are no opportunities to grow and advance at a company, why should they stay? Show that your company prioritizes skill development—and career development as well. If they are doing well, let them know a position promotion is in their short-term future. Don’t make them wait too long to see advancement.
Also, be sure they have what they need to get the job done. Providing training will show your employees that you want them to succeed.
Collaboration and Communication
Companies with the best cultures share one main factor: excellent communication and collaboration. The most efficient and happiest teams work together well—they like each other. Have you ever been at a company where work became more difficult or had a slower flow because your coworkers were unpleasant? Or one where mistakes and frustrations occurred due to a lack of effective communication?
It shouldn’t be too surprising that 70% of employees say having work friends is one of the most important things to them. So much so that 58% claim they would refuse a higher-paying job if they didn’t think they’d get along with their coworkers there.
When it comes to communication, it’s not just crucial between employees. The company needs to show that they prioritize transparency and strategy alignment too. Be open about significant updates, changes, and plans about where the company is headed.
A shocking Harvard Business Review survey reported that 58% of employees admit they generally trust strangers more than they trust their managers. Employees need to be on good terms with their bosses, as they will be interacting with them daily.
Employees need to be able to believe in their senior leaders and feel they are being listened to and supported by them. A great boss should lead—not intimidate or make an employee’s job more difficult than it has to be.
Pay and Benefits
Your employees need to feel they're fairly compensated. This does not just include the direct monetary salary, but a benefits package as well. For your company’s longevity, the benefits offered should be not only fair, but competitive too. This is something that your competitors are likely focusing on already. To ensure your best employees don’t get poached, make sure employees are given generous PTO, a comprehensive health care package, and a smart retirement savings plan. Beyond those essentials, you can do research to see what others are doing.
Employees also want to be appreciated. Make sure there is no shortage of recognition programs worked into your regular processes. You may be surprised how valued a simple birthday announcement, thank you, or name on a recognition board for a job well done can make someone feel. Specialized intranet platforms are available today that will make giving kudos a breeze.
Quality of Product or Services
It’s crucial for your employees to stand behind the mission of the company. Your team should be one cohesive unit that works toward one collective goal—even if you are spread across departments or time zones). If your people don’t believe in what you’re doing, how can they get behind it enthusiastically? You want them to stand behind what they are providing to the customer, otherwise their efforts can come off as insincere.
You want them to be able to bring their authentic selves to work, which means that you have to have a genuine “why” that motivates your company beyond making a profit. It’s not just clients you should be listening to. Being on the inside means employees know the product best. If your employee engagement survey returns any negative feedback about your service, a change must be made.
If employees do not have what they need to feel fulfilled and be able to do their job well, they will become frustrated and more likely to leave. Burnout is a very serious concern—reports say that up to half of employees in the U.S. feel underappreciated or overworked. Make sure employees have properly updated tools, technologies, and systems to accomplish what they need to every day.
You must also be appropriately staffed. If you do not hire enough employees, the ones you currently have will feel overwhelmed and unnecessarily stressed. Having a healthy work-life balance is an absolute must so that employees don’t get burned out or quit. These types of issues often become apparent in your employee engagement survey. Be on the lookout for these feelings so you can address them immediately.
How to Craft the Perfect Employee Engagement Survey
Follow these steps to create the ideal employee engagement survey for your business. Include anything that is important to your company’s culture and seen as valuable to your team. With this guide, you’ll soon have an employee engagement survey you can use to amplify your culture and make people feel truly heard.
Step 1 - Plan Your Engagement Initiative
Approach every significant improvement to your business with a plan. Remember, this document will be a part of your overall employee engagement plan and affect your business in its entirety. As you are creating your employee engagement survey, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you understand what to include and why:
- What are my objectives for this employee engagement survey?
- How often should the survey process be repeated to measure whether there has been a change?
- What is our timeline for this survey?
- What role should our leaders have in this survey process?
- How should the survey be explained to our employees? How should the process and purpose be communicated?
- Should all employees have access to the results once the survey is completed across the company?
- Considering things like budget and timeframes, what changes can realistically be made in response to the results of our survey?
- How do we define success? What do we think that should look like?
Step 2- Define What Your Employee Engagement Survey Will Measure
Analyze and measure the performance of a new initiative implemented in your company to understand adoption and success. This data will provide insights and you'll know if changes need to be made.
Specific Focus Areas
- Leadership behavior
- Nature of work
- Career development
- Company pride
- Intention to stay with the company
- Likelihood to recommend the company to friends or family (now known as an “ENPS” or “Employee Net Promoter Score”)
- Motivation to go above and beyond for the company
Look at your employee engagement survey as a living draft that can be added to over time as you learn new employee concerns, preferences, and needs—as well as what the industry is doing.
Don’t forget about yes and no questions, which can give you a real sense of how your workforce feels about their job and the company.
Sample Yes or No Questions to Include
- I look forward to coming to work every day.
- My goals and objectives are clearly defined.
- The expectations of my role closely meet the duties I’m asked to perform.
- I can see how my role contributes to the overall success of the organization.
- I have access to the tools and resources I need to do my job well.
- I have received the training and support I need to be effective.
- I believe that I am paid fairly for my work.
- I am satisfied with my organization’s benefits package, including PTO, sick leave, and health benefits.
- My company allows opportunities for me to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- I am able to arrange time out from work when I need to.
- I believe my company is going in the right direction.
- I have confidence in the leaders at my company.
- My company operates by strong values and ethics.
- There is not a lot of negativity at my workplace.
- My organization encourages different points of view.
- New ideas are encouraged at my organization.
- I feel well-informed about important company decisions.
- My job makes me feel like I am part of something meaningful.
- I genuinely feel appreciated at my company.
- I understand the objective and goals of my department.
- My manager is accessible to me.
- My manager helps me learn and develop.
- My manager is genuinely interested in the development of my career.
- My manager listens to my concerns.
- My manager helps me do my job well.
- My company motivates me to do my very best at work.
- I am proud to work for my company.
- My work is valued by the organization.
- I can see myself working here in two years.
- I rarely think about looking for a job at another company.
- I would recommend my company as a great place to work.
- My contributions to the organization are recognized and rewarded.
Step 3: Identify Areas That Need Improvement
Your first reaction will probably be to try to address every single area that received a less-than-perfect score. Instead, try to identify a few key drivers of your employee engagement and focus solely on those. Look for the places where your survey results are furthest from where you’d like them to be and make this the jumping-off point.
Trying to do too much at once will prove less efficient in the long run. Aim to do well in a few critical areas rather than mediocre in many. Your employees are more likely to see the difference and appreciate the efforts if you make significant improvements in two or three select areas.
Step 4: Develop and Maintain Your Strategy
How can you tell if your plan is having a positive effect? As mentioned, you will need to take note of any results you notice. An analysis is the only real way to ensure your plan remains effective. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. You can create multiple drafts and test them. Share the results across your HR department, among management, and with employees. Driven employees know what they want and will be an enormous help in this process if you do decide to share the outcome with them. We recommend being as transparent as possible.
Also, be sure to take action. This may seem obvious, but a study found that 72% of organizations that go out of their way to seek employee feedback sadly never end up doing anything with the suggestions. Don’t go through the trouble of handing out the employee engagement survey and collecting it at the end to then toss the results into your file cabinet drawer. See this process through to the end. You may be surprised by how many areas of your business improve when your employees become happier and more engaged.
Where to Go to Learn More About How You Can Virtually Improve All Aspects of HR
The HR professionals on your team were hand selected because of their abilities. However, no matter how great your team already is, there is always room for further learning and improvement. Especially when it can ultimately make everyone’s lives easier.
For this reason, although crafting your employee engagement survey is a crucial first step in making things better for all, we encourage you to take a look at another powerful resource—10 Ways the Cloud Improves HR Processes—available for you to download at NO cost. Also, please feel free to reach out with any questions or if you need assistance implementing any of our recommended tactics. We can’t wait to see where your organization goes after reaching these new heights with your team!