Getting an honest pulse on what employees think about their job and the organization they work for is gold for any employer. Thoughtful, routine employee engagement surveys can help leaders determine if the top drivers of employee performance are clicking—a critical part of achieving business objectives.
That’s why employee engagement surveys are ubiquitous in corporate America. But engagement surveys are often not used as effectively as they could be. The aim should be to gather actionable information, not reinforcement that everything is hunky-dory.
Companies can—and often do—ask general satisfaction questions, such as asking employees to rate on a scale:
- How happy are you at work?
- How valued do you feel at work?
- How would you rate the workplace culture?
- Would you recommend an open job at the organization to a friend?
- How would you rate the performance of your direct supervisor?
- How would you rate the opportunity for professional growth and development?
Add to this line of questioning where employees see themselves in one year, what type of development would be most beneficial, and how challenged they feel in their roles.
Make sure questions include a “Why or why not?” follow up to truly get a glimpse into an employee’s mindset. Vague questions and responses makes the whole exercise moot. Instead of asking whether employees get along with their manager, break the relationship down into actionable parts. You could ask “Do you receive recognition from your manager when you complete work you are proud of?” or “Do you believe your manager is open and honest with you?”
In addition, while gauging satisfaction with the company is important, measuring engagement tied to improving employee performance can turn a passive exercise into something far more valuable. Surveys can help leaders understand whether employees:
- Understand the organization’s objectives and how their work helps achieves those objectives.
- Utilize all tools and information available to them to get their job done.
- Believe the organization’s culture and management structure enables them to perform at their highest potential or instead act as barriers to performance.
Potential questions to ask include:
- Do you understand the strategic goals and direction of the organization?
- Do you see a clear link between your work and the company’s goals and objectives?
- Do you have the right tools and information to do your work well?
- Does your manager inspire you to do your best work?
- How well does management respond to challenges?
- How enabled are you in bringing up challenges?
- Does your team collaborate well?
Be Prepared to Take Action
Remember, the worst thing HR can do is require employees to take the time to fill out engagement surveys and then do nothing to address the results. Whatever you ask in the survey, be prepared to act on the findings.
Another simple rule: never ask about something that you don’t know how to or are unwilling to address. Filling out surveys implies that management will do something about them. Not reacting to the results will just irritate people and cause a decline in trust.
CJC Human Resource Services can be a valuable partner in perfecting your employee engagement surveys and ensuring a variety of ready solutions to address how your workforce may respond.