Creating an Employee Engagement Survey for Your Deskless Workers
Last updated on November 15, 2022 at 09:52 pm
The 2022 State of the Sector found that 88% of communicators value employee feedback. But…64% learn from and act on feedback and only 47% have a robust plan for capturing it. Clearly, there is a disconnect here. But the reality is getting employee feedback can be an overwhelming process. So in this blog, we’ll cover a few of the basics for starting to regularly survey your people. But we recommend also reading our ebook on creating an employee engagement survey: Guide to Measurement and Analytics for the Internal Comms Professional.
Why Are Employee Engagement Surveys Still Important?
For starters, we think it’s important to talk about why you should be regularly surveying your employees. A recent Qualtrics survey found that 77% of employees want to be given the opportunity to provide their feedback more than one time per year. So, the annual, giant employee engagement survey is a broken system. You need to touch base more often. This doesn’t mean you should get rid of that one annual survey. Instead, add in additional pulse surveys that measure engagement and employee needs year-round.
And changing your survey tactics will benefit you too. So often, we conduct these massive surveys and uncover trends in our employee population that we didn’t realize—but you can’t respond in real-time. Even if you make big changes every year as a result of your survey findings, your people will still feel like you aren’t responsive enough, like their needs and challenges can wait.
So, lesson number one is to engrain surveying into your communication strategy all year long.
But, why? Two reasons: You can’t improve what you don’t measure. And employee engagement is linked to multiple other business health factors, including:
- Lower turnover
- More productivity
- High profits
- Improved customer loyalty
- Fewer safety incidents
- Better quality work
Why Do Some Surveys Fail?
There is also this notion out there of survey fatigue. But this concept isn’t always well understood. Given that employees actually want the chance to provide regular feedback, survey fatigue isn’t getting tired of taking surveys. Survey fatigue is when employees are repeatedly asked for feedback, and then that feedback is never acted on or acknowledged.
There are a number of reasons why we sometimes drop the ball on following up after a survey:
- We haven’t planned adequately for follow-up. Internal communication professionals are busy. And surveying often takes the back seat to the many things we have to communicate on a daily basis.
- We don’t have buy-in from our senior leaders. Surveying really is a team sport. To come back to your employees with a plan of action, you’ll need your senior leaders to commit to addressing what comes out of the survey. If they aren’t committed, it will be hard to make a real change based on your findings.
- We get blindsided by the responses. Especially, if you survey rarely or don’t currently have a focus group, you might be less in touch with the needs of your deskless workers than you realized. A great tip here is to brainstorm what you think you might learn and plan for it. If you have no idea what your teams might say, go through an exercise of asking what the best-case scenario is, the worst case, and the most likely. And then plan from there with your leadership team.
How to Make Sure Your Employee Engagement Survey Succeeds
Before you even start working on survey questions, there are four things you need to do first.
- Look at what you already know about employee engagement and the employee experience. This existing data and insight will help you craft your questions.
- Make some educated hypotheses about what you might uncover. And we recommend not doing this in a vacuum. Let your senior leadership team know about what you think is the most likely outcome of the survey.
- Pledge to report your results back to your employees. Again, make sure your leadership team is part of the process so it’s not a shock later when you ask them to commit to a go-forward plan.
- Get organized. Like any comms campaign, be sure to assign responsibilities, meet regularly with the stakeholders, and keep everyone track.
Once you’ve done these four things, you’re ready to start writing your survey questions.
How to Write Great Survey Questions
Great survey questions have a few things in common. They are:
- Clearly written (i.e. easy to read and understand)
- Accurately written (i.e. actually asking the intended question)
- Correctly structured (i.e. you are using the write question type)
We’ll talk about choosing the write question type in a second. To make sure you are writing questions that accurately reflect your intention and are clear, share your survey with a colleague that had no part in writing it. Get someone with fresh eyes and perspective to read through it and flag anything that was confusing.
But the biggest secret to writing a great employee engagement survey is to make sure all the questions are necessary. Your employees are as busy as you are! Make sure you aren’t wasting their time by evaluating each question in your survey.
For each question ask yourself:
- Does this question align with the goals of the survey? If the answer is “No,” delete that question!
- Will I be able to act on the data from this question? If the answer is “No,” delete that question!
- Are we prepared as a company to act on the answers to this question? If the answer is “No,” delete that question!
How Do I Choose the Right Question Format?
To choose the right question format, you need to understand the major types of survey questions and what they are used for.
- Multiple Choice. Most questions are posed in this format. Multiple-choice questions give survey participants a list of answers they can choose from. This question type should be used to gauge the general sentiment or information on a topic or to collect demographic information.
- Likert Scale. This is a type of multiple choice question where you set a scale for participants to express how much they agree or disagree with a statement. Use a Likert Scale when you want to gauge degrees of agreement on a topic rather than a yes or no.
- Select your top choices. This is another type of multiple-choice where survey participants can pick multiple choices out of a pre-set list. We recommend always limiting how many choices they can select (3-5 is the sweet spot depending on the length of your list). Use this format if you want to gauge what is most important to people. These are also a lot easier and less time-consuming than questions where you have to rank each item.
- Open-Ended. This is when your survey participants can write their answers to a question in their own words. Use these when you need more detailed responses or if you want more context about why a multiple choice question was answered a certain way.
Need More Help?
If you need more help writing employee engagement surveys or if you aren’t sure how to reach your deskless workers and get them to take a survey, let’s get in touch.
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