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4 Mistakes Companies Make With Employee Engagement Surveys

Are employee engagement surveys necessary

Employee engagement surveys help organizations uncover the issues that impact productivity and engagement, and when done correctly, provide critical data that can be leveraged to improve company culture.

But it’s not just business common sense, the data backs it up. A recent Salesforce study found employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to give their best performance. And that makes sense. We all want to do our best work for those that believe in us and are working to make us better.

As business leaders, we know what we need to do but oftentimes surveying doesn’t become a priority. It takes time to properly create employee surveys, track responses, and ping people to fill them out. So what happens? You phone it in and get results that are useless.

But we are here to fix that. At PassPoint we know a thing or two about surveys. We’ve administered nearly 2 million of them across companies of all sizes. We’ve learned some best practices and in this blog post we go through the four most common mistakes we find organizations make and how to address them.

Mistake #1: Once a year surveys

According to SHRM, 2/3rds of employers believe maintaining morale has been a struggle during the COVID-19 crisis. This is why regular employee engagement surveys are important. Your employees are no different than you. Their needs and wants are constantly changing.

Short (we’re talking less than 1 minute here) and regularly scheduled (once a month is a good cadence) surveys can be a game-changer for leaders seeking to engage their workforce, gather employee input, and practice effective change management during these trying times.

Frequent employee surveys help:

  • Determine how employees are reacting to the current challenges
  • Understand the impact hybrid work is having on employees
  • Determine how to address morale issues driven by feelings of isolation and stress

The regular survey also helps improve employee engagement. When it’s part of the regular work schedule, employees will start finding the time in their day to complete the survey.

But you’re probably thinking regular surveys only work for small orgs. Wrong. Take a look at Amazon. They survey their employees daily! While daily might not make sense for your organization, monthly or quarterly probably does. Employee surveys are best when they are short and sweet and targeted.

So what’s the solution?

To effectively survey more frequently the best thing to do is to create a schedule for yourself. Create a meeting reminder for yourself to push surveys out.

Or, (shameless plug ahead) implement an automated employee engagement survey tool like PassPoint. PassPoint A.I.-driven survey system dynamically changes questions based on the answers given. These surveys can be administered on any schedule your organization needs. Most customers do a new hire survey a week or two after an employee starts and monthly check-ins. You can assign surveys by employee seniority, location, and surveys are even translated to the most common languages for free.

Mistake #2: Ignoring survey fatigue

Remember above how we said that regular surveys help improve engagement. Well, that’s half the truth. Survey fatigue happens when employees get too many survey requests and lose the motivation to give feedback.

When surveys are not seen as worth the effort, it spirals into the apathy that hurts employee engagement and morale. Survey fatigue often results from employees feeling disillusioned with previous surveys. The disillusionment most commonly stems from a perceived lack of action by leadership. It can also occur when giving feedback is time-consuming, confusing, and, from an employee’s perspective, meaningless. 

So what’s the solution?

Organizations can simplify, clarify, and condense questions to reduce fatigue. Simplifying the questions also help leaders take the results and act on them. Another suggestion that helps improve employee engagement is dynamic follow-up questions to get more insights. Effective employee engagement surveys mimic actual conversations you have with your team. If an employee tells you they aren’t feeling well, the natural follow-up is “what’s going on? What can I help with?” This is how employees feel that the surveys are worth their time.

Mistake #3: Entrusting the process to a 3rd party

Most organizations designate a third party to administer and deliver results, but the entire communication and change management process must come from your senior leadership team. Only you know how your organization functions. Outside groups may not be able to get the most out of your team by using a one-size-fits-all approach.

So what’s the solution?

There should be at least one member of the C-suite (typically the CHRO) who is tasked with ensuring engagement remains a priority and survey results are included in business planning processes. The leader must be visible and should collaborate with employees across the organization to identify pain points, make recommendations, and implement solutions.

Gentle reminders should be used to remind gross offenders to complete employee surveys. In this case gross offenders are the ones who don’t answer any surveys, are always late, or purposely provide incorrect information.

Mistake #4: Not listening to the results

Even if an organization is administering weekly or monthly surveys, action must be taken based on the results. When organizations send out internal surveys and do not take action, they have lower engagement levels afterward. Surveying with no follow-up is worse than doing nothing at all. 

So what’s the solution?

Employees today are demanding more from work than just pay. The needs of millennial and gen-z workers are much different than baby boomers. One client of PassPoint found that they were spending money on benefits that their employees weren’t using. Another was able to increase their at-work attendance by offering a small ride-sharing budget each month to employees.

While the data is great, don’t replace dialogue with data. Employee survey results should encourage productive and focused discussions based on the challenges employees are facing. These discussions can generate new questions and new ideas. Just brainstorming alone can increase the sense of connection between employees, improving both engagement and morale.