Done an engagement survey – now what? Part 1

Engage office workers

So, you’ve made the jump and invested the time and resources necessary to establish a measurement process for employee engagement. Amazing, great stuff! Pat yourself on your back, you’ve saved yourself and the organization from a large number of future headaches. 

To fully capitalize on the information provided by an engagement survey process, however, there are a few steps to make sure you are leveraging this new information in the most potent way possible. To accomplish this, you will need to take 3 critical steps: 

  1. Contextualize the Findings
  2. Evaluate possible responses
  3. Develop Key Questions for follow-up surveys

Each of these topics are broad enough to justify a post all their own. With that in mind, this first article covers “Contextualize the Findings”. We will cover the remaining steps in the following weeks.

Step 1: Contextualize the Findings

When reviewing the results of an engagement survey process, it is important to keep in mind that these metrics are all aimed at the goal of better understanding the experience of members of the organization at all levels. All these cold, hard numbers provide a lens on the day-to-day experiences of your employees with the workplace. A good, diagnostic engagement instrument will provide a clear sense of aspects of the workplace such as leader behavior, understanding of an organization’s vision, or perceptions of support from team members. Even with an excellent engagement survey, however, all of these metrics must be translated into meaningful insights that speak directly to your organization’s specific context. 

What this means in a practical sense is taking the results and seeing how they relate to trends within the organization more broadly. One key way this can play out in the context of survey data is to carefully review the written feedback provided by employees. This will add richer information to supplement your understanding of observed engagement trends. 

Another key way that you can contextualize the results of engagement surveys is by considering how your survey results correspond with other key business metrics. As an example, finding that there is low engagement in the Logistics department, might prompt you to take a look at the turnover or productivity of the department. As these kinds of judgments generally call for some form of meaningful comparison, you can use previously obtained metrics to examine whether the observed engagement appears to be having an effect on current performance. Another meaningful comparison might be to a similar business unit (i.e. Fulfillment), to see how engagement metrics and your focal business metric are related. Finally, some platforms provide benchmarks for engagement results across organizations, which provides insight into how your employee compare to those in other organizations. 

-> See how the Engage ANALYTICS platform helps you make meaningful comparisons

A third possible approach to gathering further context around the results of an engagement survey is using employee focus groups to collect more open-ended and richer feedback on issues uncovered by the survey. These meetings also communicate to employees that you take engagement issues seriously, and that your survey process is only a single part of the broader conversation between the organization and employees. 

Not only does understanding how engagement plays out in your organization help you to understand the challenges faced by your organization, it also helps you describe the importance of addressing engagement issues to other key parties within your organization. As an example, noticing that a department that recently went through a restructuring process is experiencing low levels of engagement can serve as a piece of evidence in favor of providing that department with more resources to aid their transition. 

Ultimately, contextualizing the results of an engagement survey to your organization will help you understand the overall meaning of the results, and also provide you a means of compellingly communicating these results to the rest of your organization. They can also serve as a means of creating employee buy-in as you gather more information. The bottom line is that contextualizing engagement results to your organization improves your decisions on how to address the issues uncovered as part of the survey process.

Now that we have some idea of what the engagement survey results mean, we can start to explore how to address the underlying issues driving those results. Consequently, we will explore broad categories of organizational responses to engagement results. See you next week!