Engagement Planning – Getting the Most Out of Your Survey
You’ve done it. You’re signed up to gain a meaningful insight into your organisation’s engagement levels. It’s the first step towards sustainable workplace engagement, increased productivity and a happier, healthier workplace culture.
So – what happens next?
Whether you’re running your engagement survey with Best Companies or another provider, planning your journey for the coming weeks and months is the best way to get the maximum value from your surveying efforts, and ultimately lead to the richest insight into your organisation’s engagement levels.
Following this article, we’ll be sharing more detailed information that needs to be considered at each stage of the process, as well as best practice examples from organisations that survey with us.
However, we don’t want to jump ahead too quickly! So, let’s start with the basics:
Who needs to be involved?
Regardless of your company size, your engagement survey will run a lot smoother if a project manager is in place; someone who can coordinate the efforts of everyone in the company to make sure the right information is obtained and that the organisation engages with the process.
The programme ideally needs input from the following areas. This can sometimes be just one person but other times, especially in larger organisations, this may require multiple stakeholders from across the organisation:
- HR (for employee data and knowledge about any learning and development programmes);
- Strategy (to understand short- and long-term plans for the organisation, and help build upon organisational clarity);
- Communications (awareness of key opportunities to engage with employees at every stage and create buy-in to the programme, from promoting the survey before it launches right through to sharing the results and collaborating on actions.)
Building excitement around the survey is essential to help achieve a great response rate from your employees and gain buy-in from across the organisation. Having knowledge of the mechanisms available to combat any challenges in communicating with employees in multiple sites or remote locations will drive this response rate without leaving parts of the organisation unaware of the opportunity to have their say.
Remember; the greater the response rate, the more certain you can be that all opinions have been considered, reinforcing confidence that your resulting actions will target the areas which can make the greatest impact to your engagement scores. In a similar vein, the more buy-in from across the organisation, the more receptive and enthusiastic an audience you’ll have when discussing the results and moving forward with future initiatives.
Communications about a survey at every stage is vital to its success – as such, we have an article which goes into this in more detail, which can be viewed by clicking here.
For now, focusing on communicating the reasons why you have embarked on this engagement journey and demonstrating that there is a commitment to change will help to alleviate concerns about responding. Employees won’t want to spend time surveying if the results are just going to be filed away in a drawer!
What are the key steps?
If you are surveying with Best Companies, your Account Manager will be in touch to ensure all the necessary details are in place before you launch your survey, as well as advising on how to cascade the data afterwards. They will be able to help you manage all key steps involved, but if you’re already aware of what these are, you can go straight into thinking about how you will gather and distribute the information.
We’ve broken down the entire survey journey into five major elements. Each of these needs to be carefully considered in order to gain the maximum return on investment from your engagement survey.
Setting up your Data
The first thing you need to think about is the makeup of your organisation. The key pieces of information you will need to identify and collate are job grades, job roles and employment groups. At Best Companies, we guide you through this process with clear step by step instruction via our online Dashboard, however regardless of who you are surveying with, setting up your data is crucial to the success of your survey.
We recommend that you consider job grades and job roles as these are essential to delve into how various parts of the company are feeling. For job grades, we're talking about anything from Team Members to Board Members, and for job roles we’re thinking about Administrators and Sales Representatives. Your Account Manager at Best Companies will help to figure out what might be most appropriate for you; the rule of thumb is ‘the more you customise, the more you'll get back’, so they’re definitely worth thinking about!
Employment groups allow us to piece together the data to reflect how the organisation is structured, allowing you to see a cascading breakdown of the different engagement levels across the company. Again at Best Companies, your Account Manager will be able to help determine how specific these get, and tailor the employment group structure to your requirements.
More detail on this can be found by clicking here.
Increasing Response Rates
As we’ve established, communicating effectively is paramount to achieving a good response rate. However, while trying to boost your response rates, we need to ensure that you do not incentivise or influence how your employees participate! Not only is this likely to skew the results for your surveying, but if you’re working with Best Companies it could also mean that your company is disqualified from being considered for our accreditation and The Sunday Times Best Companies list.
Regardless of who your survey provider is, being open with your employees about their concerns and what the organisation is wanting to achieve, as well as explaining the anonymity measures that are in place will definitely help to increase the number of responses.
Our average response rates for 2019 are shown here. If you are working with Best Companies, we will help to announce and promote the survey within your organisation by providing you with all the communications you need to get the message out to the wider organisation. From email templates and downloadable posters, to charitable donation opportunities per returned survey, we are able to help you increase your response rates so that you have the best possible return from your people.
Your survey is now closed; you can take a breath! It’s now the turn of your survey provider to complete the analysis of the responses that will give you the understanding about your engagement levels.
When your survey closes, we highly recommend sending a thank-you to your employees and advise them of the next steps – they’re instrumental to the process of not only advising on but also fulfilling the actions to make your company a better workplace.
Your senior leadership group and HR team will need some time to digest the results, however, communicating the data to everyone demonstrates the company’s commitment to positive change. There are a number of ways we recommend which can be tailored for your organisation, and we will discuss these in the upcoming articles.
So – you have received your data. You’ve informed the organisation about the results and your key stakeholders are aware of the particulars.
What happens now?!
Now is when you decide how to increase engagement levels in the future. Different parts of the organisation are inevitably going to have different things to focus on, and it is important that senior leadership consider how current strategic initiatives can incorporate the themes found in the data.
Action Planning is a great way to collaboratively assess opinions about the data from across the organisation, and determine strategies to increase lower areas of engagement. If employees are involved in the design and execution of these actions, any initiatives implemented will be far more effective. This is because it creates a sense of accountability for every employee to contribute to the changes they would like to see.
The saying “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand” is as poignant as it gets in this case!
Following your Action Planning, it can be helpful to schedule in a review to see if any new initiatives are having the desired effect. However, running another full survey less than a year after your current one can turn employees off from the process through survey fatigue and lead to a data-overload.
This is where we highly recommend a pulse survey; an interim ‘dip-check’ that uses a smaller question set to monitor overall engagement levels. At Best Companies, we can run different pulse surveys tailored to your company to make sure that key components of your engagement are captured, whilst keeping the pulse survey concise.
Pulsing is by no means mandatory. However for a year-round platform that will offer the most impactful improvement to engagement levels, it is a helpful tool to facilitating change.
What can we do now?
The above stages are certainly something to ponder before you begin planning your survey but remember to keep an eye out for our upcoming in-depth articles to help you get the most from each stage.
Additionally, you can click here to download a template of the engagement plan that we use at Best Companies. This covers all the major key points that we consider at Best Companies, and as such this can look quite intimidating at first! However, you can tailor this to your organisation specifically, and include the areas that would be relevant to you.
As a final thought, perhaps the most important thing you can do before you start is ask yourself the following questions:
- Why are we surveying, and have we communicated the ‘why’ to the company?
- Have we let key stakeholders for this process know that we’ll need their help?
- What would be the ideal date to launch our survey?