Are You Really Listening?

"It is impossible to remain impartial when organisational challenges or politics are at play. So step back and hand the data over!"

Employee engagement surveys are dead – long live employee engagement surveys! This argument can go on forever. But ultimately what’s important is that organisations are really listening to their employees. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when looking to engage with employees via a survey:

1. If you’re not asking the question, you can’t possibly know the answer!

It is easy to give employee surveys a bashing – but what it comes down to is a willingness to ask the question. Clearly an ill-created survey could throw up more questions than answers, but with the right investment (be that man-hours or ££ – both ultimately!), whether it’s annually, frequent pulse checks, 1-2-1’s, town halls, whatever way you engage, you then have the ability and data (and responsibility) to respond accordingly. Make changes for good, listen to teams, break down barriers. Don’t put it off – ask the question!

2. Beware of bias

It is unavoidable that bias – conscious or unconscious – will creep into any survey analysis. One of the best ways to avoid this is to outsource – impartiality means the real story is presented back. When my client asked me to complete their survey analysis, I was clear that I didn’t want to know much background initially – not because I wasn't interested, but because I didn’t want any bias to creep into the results. This allowed for impartial, honest insights. This is key in any sized organisation. If there are 30 employees, you know everyone and can’t help but formulate opinions about why someone responded in such a way. If there are 3,000 employees, you may not know everyone, but the same applies – it is impossible to remain impartial when organisational challenges or politics are at play. So step back and hand the data over!

3. Rubbish in, rubbish out (that's the polite version!)

This is about asking the right questions. Consider what is important to your organisation and what values your teams are asked to live by. Open questions such as ‘If this organisation was a car, what would it be?’ are pointless! They're not going to deliver anything valuable that can be acted on! But asking carefully crafted questions about specific areas, be it wellbeing, learning and development, collaboration and so on, can deliver a solid data set that can be explored and acted upon. And remember, too many open questions and the survey will take too long – both to complete and to analyse. So stick to clearly crafted closed questions (with optional comments box), plus 2-3 open questions for detail and verbatims.

Most importantly, if you go to the effort of creating and distributing a survey, and teams give up their time to respond, then it is on leadership teams to listen and act on the results.  Bon Insight offers impartial insight to your data –  get in touch for a chat.

About The Author 

Bonamy is an expert in getting the most from your engagement surveys. She also loves listening - to hear friends, to her family, to music, the sea... lots of listening (and talking too!).

Want to chat about your engagement?

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