Employee engagement has never been a higher priority for companies.  The government too has given it top billing with its new employee engagement task force led by David MacLeod.  In launching the task force, MacLeod rightly pointed out that “Engaged employees will be key to growth in the private sector.”

ETS recently hosted a survey masterclass attended by 40 senior level HR practitioners from large companies.  We found that 70% of the companies represented had run an all-employee survey in the last year.  This is really encouraging.   But in order to maximise the effectiveness of surveys, there’s more work to do.

Firstly, companies must ask employees the right questions.  Have a clear idea of what engagement looks like.  One client we worked with on their recent survey offers a great example.  From the outset they had a clear idea of what engagement was for their employees – identifying six strategic ‘building blocks’ of engagement.   

By carrying out such groundwork, this company set strong foundations from which to survey.  This enabled us to provide an accurate measure for employees against each of the building blocks.  We created a bespoke engagement measure, rather than applying a standard framework.

Secondly, companies must act on results.  More companies than ever are now running employee surveys, which is great news.  However, the number actively using survey data to inform business strategy and decision making is somewhat lower.

To really maximise the value of employee surveys, companies need to implement an action planning programme.  Surveys are meaningless if results aren’t acted on.  The data is just information.  And HR processes are more than data collection and feedback.  They are strategic initiatives that drive forward business goals.  So remember to ask the right questions and take action when surveying.