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Employee Engagement Surveys

Posted by

Jenni Guzman

29 September, 2016

When you first think of an Employee Engagement survey, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Is it that you are turned off the idea of having to respond to a survey? Is it that you are worried that your responses won’t be heard? Or is it that you would love to have your say, but you don’t know if any change will come of it?

Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day, committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being.


A lot of people have a bad image of an Employee Engagement survey in their head from personal experiences of failure and poor survey results, yet what a lot of people don’t know, is that a survey can do more than give a general idea of how employees are thinking and can bring about positive change where you would like to see it.

*Surveys are one of the ways to have a say and to maximise the potential of employees by working on the responses as a team across the entire organisation.

Now more than ever, organisations are working on improving employee engagement through focusing on people and their business issues. Having ‘engaged employees’ means having staff who are intrinsically motivated and enthusiastic about their work, and will want to contribute to the organisation’s goals because they care about the work that they do.

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So how do these surveys work?

One of the leading Employee Engagement survey platforms is provided by IBM Kenexa, which has the intention of helping people have their say and enable employers to gain insight on the work they are doing. The survey done by IBM Kenexa has analytics that are able to narrow down survey results to get an accurate idea of how organisations can help their business move forward.

IBM Kenexa has found success with over 36,000 employees participating in the survey this year, with 210 organisations realising how important employee engagement is to their business. (Finalists for NZs best workplaces announced)

In order to get the results, they ask employees a series of 64 questions as well as three open ended questions that relate to the organisation they are a part of, where they are able to respond their own way. This is done to see how employees are motivated and willing to contribute, as well as how much work they are willing to put in to reach organisational goals.

By allowing employees to answer these questions honestly, they are getting a collective idea of how the organisation is functioning with current procedures in place. This allows organisations to focus on areas of improvement, with opportunities to continue doing surveys each year to see how their changes are working.

Some results from these surveys by HRM New Zealand state that 66 percent of employees felt their organisation listened to them, while only six out of ten felt as if inter-team collaboration was working for them.

The questions asked by IBM Kenexa focus on communication and cooperation within the workplace, in order to focus on positive work environments and how management allows people to cooperate and share knowledge. The survey also highlights the importance of giving employees a voice so that their ideas are heard, and not shut down by the organisation.

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Emphasis on employee voice signifies the importance of idea management for employees, as employees can contribute to their organisation and feel more valued in the work that they do by receiving feedback and being able to develop their ideas with other employees.

By being able to share your thoughts, and produce ideas that can receive feedback, you’re enabling others to share their thoughts too which can create a positive work environment. If employees feel they do not have a say, their room to grow and communicate with others is stunted as they aren’t comfortable to do so.

Ways to get the most effective results from your survey:

Be transparent - there is sometimes a lack of communication among employees, where they feel as if they do not have a say in their organisation. A survey allows people to be transparent as leadership teams are able to talk about the areas of improvement they want to focus on and show their employees that they want to work on them as a team.

Avoid making the survey a yearly thing - surveys shouldn't be done once a year in order to gain insight on an entire organisation, they should be done continuously in order to track progress and see how management is adjusting to feedback. This way, people are able to feel as if their responses are being taken on board.

Think about the results and dig deeper - The responses you receive from a survey should be the starting point for research into how engagement could be improved, or what isn’t working for employees.

Group Discussions - after conducting a survey, people should meet in small groups to discuss their responses and put their ideas up for discussion. In doing so, people can discuss business objectives and work through their issues as a team, rather than individually going through the survey process.

In saying all this, the survey you partake in should not be the only way you get to have a say. An Employee Engagement survey should be the start of greater communication and improvement for a business - the start of an innovation journey in which everyone is able to be a part of.

Jenni Guzman