An engagement survey is a powerful tool that can reveal key insights for HR practitioners, managers and leadership teams.

Leveraging surveys is paramount if organisations want to create a truly happy and engaged workforce, but not all surveys are guaranteed to deliver meaningful results.

Surveys that aren’t designed effectively, lack any direction or fail to get buy-in from those participating, will struggle to offer any real insight for leadership teams.

Here at Primary Colours Surveys, a lot goes into ensuring our clients gain actionable insights and organisational impact from their surveys. We pride ourselves on working very closely with our clients to help them identify, track and manage the key factors that have an influence on employee engagement within their organisation through surveys and other methodologies.

For those looking for some general guidance, the tips below include some ideas for getting started with engagement surveys. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your organisation leverage this powerful tool, or you’d like to get more from your surveys, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team.

Six tips for creating better engagement surveys

Choose questions wisely

Engagement surveys are only as useful as the data they provide. This means asking hollow or vague questions simply won’t allow your business to gain the information you need. Questions should be well thought-out and cover specific areas of day-to-day working life.

For example, an engagement survey can never be successful if it fails to cover the factors that actually influence engagement in the workplace.

When designing employee engagement surveys, they need to be truly relevant to your people and your specific organisation. It also needs to ask questions and communicate in a way that gains buy-in from the people participating in the survey.

Being transparent and open with employees about what the business is hoping to achieve from these surveys can help participants feel more comfortable answering questions honestly.

Minimise unconscious bias

The way questions are positioned and asked, can have a huge influence on how people answer that question. Removing any kind of suggestion towards an answer ensures employees respond as objectively as possible.

Once you’ve decided on the questions themselves and the format of these questions, the order in which they are asked should also be considered.

Surveys need to avoid potentially influencing participants and creating a subconscious impact due to the order of the questions or answers.

Effective surveys will have a clear journey for the participant that helps cover broader topics and issues, before going into the details. Going from the finer details of a specific question to the nuance of another, without anything bridging this gap, can result in participants getting confused, overwhelmed or cause survey fatigue.

For help with this type of survey psychology and design, our team here at Primary Colours Surveys, can help design effective surveys that take all these factors into consideration.

Timings and communication

The timing of the survey is also something to think about. Asking employees to complete a survey in their own time, or during a very busy period at work, is likely to be frustrating and seem inconsiderate.

It’s better to clearly communicate when the employee will have time to complete their survey, how long the survey will take and what the next steps are. This helps ensure employees have a positive feeling towards future surveys.

Organisations also need to think about what happens after the surveys are finished and the timings between analysing the data and creating actionable roadmaps with teams and leaders.

The power of words

Having surveys that provide the chance for employees to write answers, as opposed to just using check boxes or multiple choice, can often help organisations to understand the true emotion behind a topic or issue for their employees.

Word Clouds and sentiment analysis can help highlight common themes that emerge from open questions and help visualise potential trends and patterns.

External benchmarking

Having external benchmarks can help provide some context for the data created from engagement surveys. It can also make decision making based on the surveys more reliable and clear.

Our reporting system allows you to examine your results for key differences within your organisation, compare results to your previous surveys and to other similar organisations.

Limit neutral answers

If you’ve tried surveys in the past and struggled to yield meaningful results due to neutral answers, you could perhaps look to remove neutral options within certain questions.

For example, on a scale of 1-10, 5 could be seen as quite a neutral answer, and doesn’t shed too much light on how an employee is feeling about something. In many contexts, that is fine, however, it certain situations, simply removing 5 as an option forces them to commit slightly in either direction.

Similarly, the options could simply be “yes” or “no” – which forces an employee to either agree with something or not.

This could be useful in situations like deciding whether employees would be happy to move locations or not. Vague, unopinionated answers won’t help leadership teams to decide, instead, they would benefit from clear, decisive answers.

Learn more with Primary Colours surveys

Understanding how to get the most out of engagement surveys is something we spend all our time on here at Primary Colours Surveys. As part of Edgecumbe, we use business psychology and proven theory to help organisations build employee engagement.

We have translated academic theory and evidence into simple, practical and actionable models in order to help you to think about, communicate and measure engagement in your organisation.

Get in touch today to learn more.