Best practices for employee engagement surveys

March 15, 2021

What are the best practices for measuring employee engagement, and what are some of the most common mistakes to avoid?

Employee engagement surveys are a powerful tool for transforming and improving company culture and performance. Studies show that average employee engagement levels are depressingly low, and most companies struggle with this issue in one way or another.

Related reading: Employee engagement survey questions – what to ask and why

Implementing employee engagement surveys is a great step in improving overall engagement and performance. The old adage that “what gets measured gets managed” holds as true in this context as in any, so if you’re just about to start measuring engagement – way to go! 

In this article, we’ll have a look at some best practices for employee engagement surveys, as well as some of the most common pitfalls.

Table of Contents

  1. Use real-time pulse surveys to measure employee engagement

  2. Decide on follow-up routines and stick to them 

  3. Set the expectations and communicate them to everyone

  4. Empower self-leadership and create a culture of accountability

  5. Ensure there’s a feedback loop in place from the start

  6. Complement employee engagement surveys with performance management programs

Use real-time pulse surveys to measure employee engagement

Historically, many companies have measured employee engagement with one, big, yearly survey. The problem with this approach is that it only gives a snapshot of the state of things at that particular moment in time.

But engagement and wellbeing are not static concepts, and they tend to change quite a lot over the year. Managers quit, new co-workers join, roles change and budgets are adjusted. The only thing constant in a business is change, so what you really need is an agile and flexible way to measure things – so you can track your progress and compare your employee engagement data to internal and external benchmarks.

💡 Eletive offers a flexible technology that allows you to quickly and easily sent out pulse surveys with the frequency best suited for your company.

Decide on follow-up routines and stick to them 

If you’re just about to introduce employee engagement pulse surveys, or if you’re implementing a new tool, informing and educating every part of the organization is crucial. Make sure everyone understands what the purpose of the surveys is, and what will happen with the responses. 

Discuss with your leaders before the first employee engagement survey is launched, and decide on follow-up routines. It’s important that everybody knows what to do when the employee engagement survey goes live. How often will send the pulse survey, and how will you follow up on the results with the team? 

💡 With Eletive, you get a ready-made structure for action plans and follow-up, to support you and your leaders in making the most of the results. 

Set the expectations and communicate them to everyone

Communication is a key ingredient in creating a culture of engagement. Make sure everyone in the organization knows the purpose of the employee engagement surveys, how they benefit from them, and what is expected from their side. Below are examples of what can be communicated in advance.

Managers are key players in the process and need to:

  • Have easy access to their team’s pulse survey results

  • Regularly discuss and follow up on survey results with their team

  • Develop and implement action plans together with their teams

  • Communicate regular progress updates to team members and management 

Team members are also expected to play an active role and:

  • Take part in the follow-up meetings, and contribute to the discussion

  • Keep track of their own engagement curve, and think about how it can be improved

  • Show self-leadership and take ownership of issues that lies within their control

  • Turn to their manager for support when needed

Giving teams and team members access to their results encourages and empowers them to take constructive action.

Empower self-leadership and create a culture of accountability

Pick a tool for your employee engagement surveys that supports self-leadership. Too often, the survey results tend to become “a problem for HR to solve”, while the rest of the organization sit back and wait for solutions. This is not a constructive situation, and by implementing the right tools and adopting the right mindset, it can be avoided. 

💡 Eletive empowers self-leadership within the organization. The best results are achieved when team leads continuously review the overall trends together with the team, and decide on what actions are needed – together.

Encourage employees to take a clear stance

Let your employees know that you want them to be sincere and to express their true opinion in the survey. This comes more or less naturally in different cultures and contexts, and it’s often a good idea to underline that it is now perceived as illoyal in any way to answer with low scores. Quite the opposite – by giving an honest review, your employees provide the best possible data for everyone in the organization to act on in order to improve things. 

💡 With Eletive, you decide if you want to use the functionality that allows employees to leave feedback in the form of comments. We encourage companies to use this feature since it adds nuance and depth to the answers.

Make sure there’s a feedback loop in place from the start

Many organizations have made the classic mistake of launching an anonymous employee engagement survey, without any feedback loop built into the tool they use. What happens then is that you may end up with sensitive and possibly alarming information – but there is no way for you to dig deeper and investigate. An example could be a comment about sexual harassment. Since you do not know who made it, it can be difficult to act on the information.

💡 Eletive solves this problem with an anonymous chat where employees can chat with leaders without showing their identity. This is a powerful tool for creating an organization where everyone feels safe.

Complement employee engagement surveys with performance management programs

One-on-one meetings, and regular check-ins, and performance reviews are all important – both to drive engagement and performance. They help managers understand each individual’s needs, challenges, and potential, and enable them to support their employee’s goals. 

Many companies lack a formal structure for these interactions and a common place to save the data related to them. This can result in unfair reviews, and processes that differ widely across the organization. 

💡 Eletive entails a complete infrastructure for performance measurement. By bringing 1:1s, action plans, and goal setting into the same platform, companies gain a better overview and alignment and can work together to improve results.

Are you curious to learn more about how your organization could benefit from a modern people success platform? Get in touch and talk to one of our friendly experts!