Potential clients will often approach our firm and indicate that they want to conduct an employee survey to find out what the employees are thinking. The motives of the Human Resource leaders in making this inquiry is based upon a need to discover what is happening in their organization. Given the pandemic it is important to find out how the company is responding to employees who are working remotely. Acting and responding to the employees will break down the communication barriers that could develop given that so many team members are working from their home/office. In order to have a successful outcome we recommend that our clients follow a three-step process to determine if an employee survey is the most appropriate means of evaluating satisfaction and engagement given these uncertain times. Here are the recommended steps to ensure a successful survey:
1. Define engagement and inform the employees what this means and how engagement supports the business. Our definition of engagement is as follows: “Employee engagement is the relationship between an organization and its employees. An engaged employee is one who subscribes to the values and goals of the organization and works to ensure success.” Engagement varies by industry and employer and much like a mission statement, engagement should have the support of the organization by being published and marketed through-out the company. Employees could be experiencing a lack of engagement given that they are currently working remotely. A survey will send them two messages – we want to hear from you, and we want to ensure you remain connected to the business.
2. An engagement survey is not an isolated event but rather a process to improve employee satisfaction and make your company an employer of choice. While measurement is key to the program’s success the action planning process will make or break the initiative. If managers do not assume responsibility are not held accountable for improvement the survey process will not be successful. HR needs to transition from administering the survey to supporting the needs of the business by working with key leaders to develop action plans and accountability measures based upon the data collected during the survey process.
3. Ensure that a process for following-up on the agreed upon action plans is adhered to and becomes part of the culture. If a consistent process is not established the survey process will be lost by newer initiatives, a business crisis or change in personnel. Our experience has shown that during the current health crisis an immediate response from management will ensure that employees are connected to the business. Ensuring accountability to the survey process and addressing issues are much more important when employees do not have a day-to-day connection to their manager and/or HR. In addition, follow-up pulse surveys to evaluate trends and long-term employee satisfaction and engagement will support progressive business practices.
An increase in employee engagement will boost profits and productivity. Creating a high-performance culture of obtaining feedback will identify the strengths and weaknesses of the individual and the organization. Businesses today want to understand how they can secure more creativity and support from their employees. In conclusion, employers today face extraordinary challenges with respect to managing the business and at the same time meeting the needs of their employees. Human Resources leaders need to take the long-term perspective with respect to engagement and the survey process.