Sometimes, when a client engages us to work with them on an employee engagement/satisfaction survey we talk ourselves out of the work. Or, more specifically we question ourselves out of the work. We’re ok with that. Here’s why…

Too often we hear stories of organizations that conduct elaborate “satisfaction” surveys or obligatory annual surveys and then do absolutely nothing with the results. Do you know what happens the next time they ask employees for their opinion? They get a significantly diminished response. People are much less willing to put in the effort if they know you aren’t going to do anything with their suggestions or concerns.

Before you get started, consider the following:

1. Is this the right time?

When it comes to employee engagement surveys, timing isn’t everything, but it is important! Is this a particularly busy time of year for your staff? Will you be adding “just one more thing” to their workload? Have you been asking for a lot lately, committees, volunteering, think tanks etc.? Have you incorporated significant organizational changes recently and have employees had time to observe and consider the impact of those changes?

2. Are there things you need to know?

Is there information that you need that can only be obtained by asking your employees? We encourage clients to focus on the information that they need for organization health and decision making in the next 12-24 months. Do you need to know if your staff plans to leave? Ask them. Do you need to know if they are being harassed? Ask them. Do you need to know if they are really upset about the new coffee vending machine? Ask them. Do you need some creative input to solve a problem? Yep, ask them that too!

3. Do you have the time, authority and buy-in to take action on the results?

Don’t ask about an issue you aren’t willing or able to address. This includes issues you don’t have the time or authority to address. Meticulously go through your intended questions verifying whether the individual(s) with authority to act have bought in and whether the organization has capacity to implement change. For example: How can we improve the flow of communication from the C-Suite to the organization? If your C-Suite has no intention of changing their approach, this question will serve no purpose other than to frustrate the employees who take the time to consider it and respond to it.

If you’ve answered yes to all three of these questions, you are ready to start constructing your survey! Being a team of diverse and experienced HR professionals, we tend to be disproportionately excited about projects like this. We’d be happy to help you create, deliver, and interpret a custom survey that will provide you with valuable, actionable insight into your organization.