Employee Engagement Surveys – Are They Dead Or Alive?

September 9, 2015


To answer the question, they are very much alive, but not as you know them….

I’m sure you’ve worked for a business that has sporadically done the old employee engagement survey or suggestion box type exercise, and if you’re brutally honest you’ve probably never seen the company take on board your ideas and implement them or even provide feedback, which can actually be a backward step in employee engagement rather than the forward steps it was aiming to take!


Employee Engagement

The fact is, suggestion boxes have never worked nor are they likely to! But employee engagement surveys do work, they just have to be done right. There’s usually lots of fanfare when a business first launches the employee engagement survey, in whatever format, but who dares make a suggestion especially if the culture has never been engaging?

Equally if suggestions are made, the pressure is on the management to respond and either take action or politely say no. This article takes the old idea of the suggestion box and updates it with more modern social media methods with more engaging enhancements.

So How Do I Implement This New Approach To Employee Engagement In My Business?

  • Use social media or other online collaboration tools to ask staff for ideas to solve a specific issue (none of that any suggestion will do approach);
  • Ask the relevant staff for feedback on subjects they know about, or if you are looking for more ‘outside the box’ type of ideas, it’s sometimes a good exercise to ask for other departments to provide feedback, as we all know employees can get stuck in a rut and are often not open to change;
  • Encourage people to debate and share feedback online;
  • Ask staff to vote on their favourite suggestion or idea;
  • Give feedback on ideas you have implemented and maybe more importantly the things you couldn’t implement and why not, so that employees understand and don’t feel their ideas aren’t worthy so don’t bother to participate in future employment engagement ideas.

As the Author in the HBR article says “ to access the wealth of untapped employee potential locked up in departments and functions, all you have to do is ask the right questions”.

Whilst the article’s focus on social media/online tools is a step forward, in my opinion, the process could be significantly improved by inviting a selection of staff of get involved in implementing and testing the proposed improvements. They could also use the online tool to feedback progress and results to the wider audience.

The concept of employee engagement and asking staff for ideas to improve the business is nothing new or even rocket science, but it’s not as common as we would like to think.

How Well Is Your Business Performing From An Employee Engagement Point Of View?

We all like to think that we are great employers but in reality it’s not always the case. That’s why I designed ‘The 4 Disciplines Check’ to see how well your business approaches improvement ideas.

Take the test here, it doesn’t take long and could give you some interesting insights into your business.