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Conducting an employee engagement survey is an essential first step in the journey towards managing the engagement levels of an organization’s workforce. For an employee engagement survey to be effective and of any value, however, the survey needs to be:
Senior management’s commitment to conducting the survey – and acting on the survey results – is probably the most effective way of increasing employee participation in the survey. Senior management should be briefed on the survey process at an early stage, before the announcement to the rest of the employees, and should actively and visibly endorse and promote the survey.
The buy-in of frontline managers and/or supervisors should also be actively pursued. They should understand that the purpose of the survey is to make constructive improvements in the organisation, and they should be encouraged to discuss the importance and merits of the pending survey with their direct reports. If managers or supervisors do not endorse the study, their direct reports are less likely to participate.
Employees need to understand that the survey will be conducted on an anonymous basis and that their responses cannot be traced back to them. They need to understand that they will not be held accountable for their survey responses and that they will not in any way be victimized, otherwise they will either refuse to participate in the survey, or they will skew their responses to make sure they say the ‘right’ thing.
To convince the employees of the anonymity of their responses to the survey, it may be necessary to explain to them that:
Employees should be clearly informed that their participation in the survey is entirely voluntary and that no-one can force them to participate in the survey. Management should also understand that they must in no way coerce or pressurize employees to participate in the survey – they should not even ask their employees whether they have completed the survey or not. Any form of emotional pressure on employees to participate in a survey can skew the survey results and should be avoided at all cost.
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