Recognise This: Surveys alone won’t solve your engagement problems. You must act and communicate.

Yesterday I wrote about seemingly conflicting survey results and how to interpret surveys effectively. The flip side of the same coin is, you can’t rely on surveys to fix your employee engagement problems.

Brad Federman on the Engagement Factor blog did an interesting rundown of research on the topic, highlighting (among others):

• 10-30% organisations are able to implement strategic plan (Raps, 2004)
• Almost 2 in 5 bosses are bad (Gallup, 2010)
• 34% are thriving at work (Performancepoint, 2009)
• 51% do not feel fully utilised at work (Performancepoint, 2009)
• 84% of organisations using engagement surveys do not see positive results (Hewitt, 2010)

All of these are astounding, but that last on especially so. 84% who survey for engagement do not see positive results. Well, maybe that’s not so astounding after all.

Doing a survey wont’ magically engage your employees. In fact, survey for engagement can have the opposite effect if you do not take the information given to you by your employees, act on it appropriately and, critically, communicate the actions you are taking to respond to employee concerns.

A sure way to kill engagement – in any situation – is to ask for opinion and feedback, have people spend thoughtful time giving it to you, and then ignoring it. If you’re going to undertake surveys, be prepared to invest the time necessary to respond.

Do you survey in your organisation? How well do you think it’s done? Is the survey itself useful? Are actions taken as a result? How is that communicated?