We all need to have some sense of what our employees find engaging and disengaging. Diving into the perspectives of your employee is sound and should be a priority for any business…but first we must gather those perspectives into a meaningful and useful format.

This action can be done in many ways but is most comprehensive when conducted as an employee engagement survey.

What is an employee engagement survey?

An employee engagement survey is designed to assess the point of view of your employees and whether it aligns with your organization.

What do surveys measure?

Employee engagement surveys measure employees’ commitment, motivation, sense of purpose, and passion for their work and organization.

Surveys can provide a lot of important information related to the culture of your organization, as well as, the strength of your procedures, training, operations and more. Asking the right questions will help you recognize what your organization is doing a great job at and what you might be able to improve upon.

Considerations for Your Employee Engagement Survey

You want to ask questions that get at the heart of what you are trying to uncover, or in some cases, validate.

If you know something is wrong in an area, you may want to focus more energy on questions related to the area to validate your suspicions or help identify what the main issue really is. Or you may want to stay more general in your data gathering.

Either way, figuring out the right number of questions and the more important ones for your organization are the framework for your survey process.

There isn’t a magic number when it comes to the right number of questions to ask.

You must consider

  1. How many employees will take your survey?
  2. What amount of time will they be given to respond (if any)
  3. Will the selected questions pertain to the masses? (You never want a group or groups to N/A large parts of a survey – in that case execute a smaller survey with only the groups you need.)

I feel strongly that a pulse survey (meant to be in the moment) should only have 10-15 questions max.

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A comprehensive employee engagement survey might reflect anywhere from 35-50+ questions depending on the size and scope of the organization that is needing the survey.

More important than the number of questions is the content of the questions asked.

A good mix of questions and question types help to keep the survey fresh and interesting as your survey takers will lose interest if the survey is flat and uninteresting or they don’t feel connected to it. You certainly don’t want employees to be honest for the first half of the survey only to just “check the box” for the second half of it. Think about how your survey is presented, launched, and talked about.

I am not a big fan of asking the same question over and over in different ways just to get at the same answer. I don’t think anyone has the patience or time for that anymore. I favor being direct and accepting the result vs. wondering if I can ask something a different way and get a better response.

If your survey takes more than 15 mins to complete, then your end data is going to be skewed as our attention spans dim. The easier and faster an employee can complete the better.

Survey Execution

Internal or External Distribution

You can execute your survey yourself or you can bring in a third party (like C.A. Short Company) to do it on your behalf. One problem with managing the process internally is that the idea of anonymity gets lost…and ALL employee engagement surveys should be anonymous, otherwise, how do you expect someone to share their real insights with you?

I have met so many employees who shared with me that they would have answered a particular question differently had they realized that there was no way to trace back their answer. While this reflects a trust issue between the organization and the employee, it can be easily rectified by making the employee very aware that the survey is fully anonymous. Using a third party can help here as the responses are not going directly to someone in HR, etc. (Don’t waste your time trying to figure out who said what anyway – spend your time figuring out why a group of employees feel a certain way…it’s time better spent.)

Survey Benchmarking

While you should benchmark your survey data against your own past results (making sure that you use some similar questions along the way for consistency), a third party can often benchmark your responses across your industry or across their data base of clients. This is also helpful as you determine what those responses are telling you about your company and/or industry.

The raw data from a survey is important but what story that data is telling you is where the real value comes into play. Trends, outliers…these are what you are really looking for…all while watching out for specific issues that don’t seem to show up anywhere but in your survey. And don’t be alarmed if your employees say they aren’t paid enough via survey responses related to compensation – I have yet to execute a survey where employees didn’t respond to any question related to salary without wanting more of it…that’s just a natural response.

Remove Neutral Answer Response Options

Lastly, a tip I’d like to share is that it’s time to take away the option to respond with N/A or Neutral.

When I see someone select this option, I advise clients that I lean negative on those responses and feel that if the employee felt any sense of positivity, you would see that in the response.

A neutral response, to me, means that the employee had something negative to say but either did not want to be honest or was afraid that someone could trace back their negative response. Neutrals tell us nothing. Find out what’s positive and what’s negative, then act on it!

If you are going to take the time to execute a survey…act on the results. Whether positive or negative, take action that reflects you “heard” your employees. Recognize the positives and course correct the negatives. This is how you build trust in the survey process.

C.A. Short Company Employee Engagement Surveys

C.A. Short Company uses an enterprise software solution to conduct both internal and external employee engagement surveys. We can brand the survey and execute it in every best way possible. They can be sent via email or weblink and can be structured in multiple ways. We provide you with the raw data and the insights to help you decipher a way forward with your results.

Click the button below to learn about our employee engagement survey solution. 

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