Building a strong employee engagement strategy starts with listening. A well-timed survey, conducted with a clear purpose, can be a powerful tool. Just running a survey sends a positive message – it says you care about what your people think. It’s a chance to take the temperature of the room and understand your employees’ perspectives. However, preparation is key. A poorly planned survey can backfire, leaving employees feeling unheard and undervalued, potentially leading to decreased morale and disengagement.

Before You Begin: A Commitment to Listening

First things first: be honest with yourself. Are you ready to listen and act on feedback? An engagement survey signifies a long-term investment in listening to your employees. Rushing into it without a plan to address feedback can damage trust.

Sure, the act of asking for opinions can send a positive message. It says, “We want to hear you.” However, good intentions can turn sour if the message is superficial. The worst thing you can do is raise expectations you can’t meet with employees. It breeds cynicism and disengagement, the very things the survey was supposed to fix.

Preparing Your Team for an Engagement Survey

The first step is to understand your employee-management relationship. Is it built on trust? Because to truly drive engagement, you want to create a symbiotic relationship where employees are co-authors of change, not just passive participants. Be clear about the survey’s purpose from the outset. Let your team know that their input matters and that you’re committed to change. Frame the survey as an opportunity for improvement, not a search for weaknesses. If trust is lacking, use the survey as your opportunity to start addressing the issue. Here, ensuring anonymity and confidentiality in the survey process becomes even more critical. Consider using an independent survey company to demonstrate your commitment to honest and unbiased results.

This approach builds on the groundwork laid in identifying your survey’s purpose and timing. By fostering trust with your team, you’re setting the stage for a successful engagement survey that delivers valuable insights.

Here’s how to manage expectations before you launch:

  • Transparency is key: Be upfront about why you’re conducting the survey and how you’ll use the data. This shows your team you’re serious about using the survey as a tool for driving change.
  • Set the tone early: Explain the survey’s purpose, the survey process and how anonymity will be guaranteed. This creates a positive first impression.
  • Emphasise anonymity: This shows you’re serious about getting honest feedback that matters.
  • Let everyone know the results will be shared: People want to feel like they’re contributing, not just cogs in a machine. Be upfront about timelines for sharing results and how data will be used.
  • Don’t overpromise: Some things simply can’t be changed overnight. Be clear that the survey will not solve all employees’ issues, as some solutions require a long-term approach.
  • Use a mix of question types: Open-ended questions encourage detailed feedback, while Likert-scale questions provide for easy analysis. Ensure your team understands the importance of both.

Leveraging Past Insights and Managerial Collaboration

As you gear up, refer to insights from previous surveys and show how they helped shape your workplace. This reassures employees that their voices are heard and valued over time. By referencing past initiatives that originated from employee feedback, organisations can underscore the tangible impact of these surveys, emphasising their importance as a catalyst for meaningful change.

Don’t forget your managers and supervisors. They are your front-liners. Involving them not only fosters a sense of ownership but also enhances the relevance and credibility of the exercise.  They play a central role in contextualising survey results and driving actionable outcomes. So involve them from the beginning. By preparing managers in advance, articulating the purpose of the survey, and highlighting the organisation’s commitment to transparency and responsiveness, organisations can instil confidence in employees regarding the survey process.

Finding the Right Partner

Ultimately, if you’re engaging with an independent survey provider, choose one with a proven track record of fostering honest responses. Look for clear communication throughout the process, guaranteed anonymity, and a meticulously planned survey design. Talexio Team Voice empowers team members to share their thoughts openly and honestly. Additionally, monitoring response rates and delivering unbiased results ensures you get a clear picture of employee sentiment.

In essence, effectively managing employee expectations before conducting an engagement survey lays the groundwork for success. By fostering trust, communicating transparently and setting realistic expectations, organisations can ensure a positive experience for employees and glean meaningful insights for organisational growth and improvement.