5 Survey Tips to Spot Disengagement

They show up to work. But they lack energy and passion without making waves. Most of all, disengaged employees cost your organization countless dollars in lost productivity, quality, and poor customer service.

5 tips

You can’t fix problems you don’t know about. And you can’t know about problems unless you collect feedback. That’s why you need to start with an employee engagement survey. It’s the best way to diagnose the overall health of your culture. And if you’ve got disengaged employees, the insights will tell you why.

Before you begin an employee survey, here are the must-have criteria:

1. Anonymous and safe. If you want honest, robust feedback, people need to feel safe expressing their opinions. Choose a trusted third-party survey, administered from outside your organization to provide an anonymous, trusted channel for employee input.

2. Reliable and tested. Ensure the survey statements have been rigorously tested, statistically analyzed for correlations, and continually updated for relevance to the current work environment.

3. Short yet smart. A lengthy survey doesn’t necessarily produce better data, but it can create survey fatigue. It also impacts the quality of responses. Choose a survey that’s concise and measures what matters most. Dynamic surveys that offer conditional, open-ended questions produce responses that contain valuable context.

4. Benchmarked and relevant. It’s really important to compare your organization to similar companies in your sector. A raw score tells you a little. But a raw score compared to other aspiring workplaces in the same industry tells you a lot about where there are high-leverage opportunities for improvement.

5. Business-centric and actionable. Interesting feedback isn’t good enough. Ensure your survey captures data your organization can act upon. Do your employees feel appreciated? Do they think they’re getting the communications they need to do their jobs?

There’s no doubt disengaged employees cost you money. So, take charge of the situation. Start with a short, effective employee engagement survey to get an effective measurement of the company’s overall culture. You’ll get insights that will inform your decision-making and enable you to improve business results.

Tom Devane is principal workplace advisor at Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2019. Energage is The Washington Post’s research partner for Top Workplaces.

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