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Phase I – Developing the “Ask” in Employee Engagement

In developing your engagement survey questions, avoid asking if they like or don’t like something.  Your infrastructure, employment practices, and operational activities exist for a business purpose.  There is an employee lifecycle from initial contact through to separation that should be examined, and the degree to which employees agree or disagree that what you have established is working as effectively as intended.

For example, if you ask employees if they liked the hiring process, you will get yes or no, and not much more insight into where there may be a challenge.  If instead, you break down the stages of the talent acquisition process, you will solicit better data to influence future action.  Using a scale of Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly Disagree will allow you the ability to analyze the issues more effectively.  An item on the survey might be “Completing the online application and submitting my resume was easy to do.”  Another question might be “I felt the time it took to receive a response from the employer was appropriate.”

The design of the survey should specifically align with the processes and practices of the organization that impact the employee directly.  It is easy to ask the wrong question and then not have the data necessary to take action, such as “Do you and your supervisor communicate regularly?”  This fails to address the real issue, and instead the statement should be, using the scale mentioned above, “My supervisor scheduled regular performance meetings with me and the communication exchange is consistently effective and productive in supporting my success.”  Note the significant differences in the statement.  The latter one describes the behaviors and practices the organization desires from their supervisors and employees.  Therefore, feedback on how well this is being executed is far more valuable than asking the former question.

Do not make the survey too long or cumbersome, and touch on enough topics across the span of the employee life cycle and the business culture to obtain a comprehensive data set of the current state of the organization.