Top 3 Reasons Your Employee Survey Didn’t Engage Anybody

April 20, 2015

You asked everyone all the right questions about engagement at work. You benchmarked against others in the industry and came out about average. You calculated and reported the results to the C-Suite.  But you’ve still got a retention problem and let’s not even talk about morale. Here are three reasons many companies’ employee engagement surveys won’t produce the results they’re looking for:

1. Working to the Benchmark Makes You Average

Why would you want to be average?

There’s a talent war on! It’s a competitive marketplace and you need the best people, not the most average people. By benchmarking for your industry, you’re really just measuring against the middle. Why aspire to mediocrity? To drive a successful business and keep talent from going down the street to your competitor, you have to aim to be best-in-class. And the only way to get there is to measure against your own company’s performance. Strive to improve your engagement scores over last year, to better your best, by taking baseline measurements that are meaningful for your organization and nurturing a culture that steadily improves those areas. Don't be satisfied with achieving a score that's average for your industry.

2. The Managers Didn’t Get the Message

Many managers are focused on daily operations or on quarterly reports.  They often view the people on their team as the tools of the trade, not as individuals with options and aspirations. For them to take the survey results to heart and improve upon them, these managers need a few things: a clear understanding that engagement is critical to success, the knowledge that the C-Suite backs the initiative, and the tools (such as recognition or incentive programs) to engage their team. It doesn’t hurt to add engagement metrics to the managers' annual performance reviews either. Are they using the tools you put in place? Do they need coaching or support to inspire the best in their team? Find out and help them be better managers.

3. If You’re Going to Do a Survey, You’d Better Be Ready to Take Action

There’s no faster way to disengage a team than to ask for their feedback and then do nothing. If you’re going to survey employees, you have to be prepared to take actions on the results. Fail to address the issues the survey raises and you risk proving to employees that the company really doesn’t care about their challenges or experiences. A survey is simply a tool to help you build the right program to address the organization’s needs. It’s up to the program owner and senior leaders to study the results, design and implement an engagement program to address the issues that come to light, and to communicate to the whole team.

An employee survey can give you an effective baseline from which to begin to engage employees, but it can’t stand alone.

For more information and some thoughts on pulse surveys, check out our blog, Why a Pulse Survey Isn’t an Employee Engagement Program.

Originally published on LinkedIn.

About the Author

Want to achieve more?

A 15-minute conversation can help us understand your goals and challenges.
We’ll share our ideas and best practices with you.

Let's Talk!