For years human resource professionals have been promised data that will “inform smart decision making” and “transform HR.” The pandemic ushered in new demand from executives for timely employee engagement data, bringing with it new opportunities for HR professionals to advise company leaders as we move forward.

The employee engagement data gathered from your survey results tell you a lot more about your organisation than how engaged your team is. Employee engagement data analytics enables you to:

  • Get a complete view of how your employees and business are doing
  • Swiftly identify problem areas in the workplace
  • Gather employee feedback and tap into their ideas
  • Know where your people stand on specific workplace issues
  • Understand the impact of organisational change

Below we discuss the benefits of employee engagement data and how analysing the results from an employee engagement survey can help you retain employees, improve performance and promote productivity in the workplace.

A complete view of how your organisation and employees are doing

First and foremost, a well-structured employee engagement survey will give leaders a 360-degree view of the organisation and is likely to bring a lot of new information to light.

Irrespective of the size of your company, the data and employee feedback your employee engagement surveys generate represent something very important: the truth – about where your employees stand, how they feel, and where they need support.

“The survey has enabled us to provide a voice to our people and further understand what they value,” wrote one of our clients in a recent review.

Pinpointing problem areas in the workplace

Looking beyond the surface of your employee engagement data, for example, and drilling into the results by location, team, or another segment within your organisation is one area where it’s easy to spot where trouble is starting to brew.

A recent client’s report was a perfect example: while their high-level engagement scores were very good, and showed yet another increase in employee engagement across the organisation when you looked at the data by team, there was one glowing amber indicator that stood out, signaling fragmentation, against a sea of green and blue indicators that signal good to excellent levels of engagement. In this case, the amber indicator was in the “Leaders” column, a direct result of scores employees in that division had given their managers.

Creative use of segmenting your survey by groups – as long as they include more than three people, can help you spot problem areas like the above example. Here are some ideas for assigning groups within our engagement platform that are less obvious but can be remarkably useful:

  • Personality profile. A client of ours segments employees by personality type (as indicated by a standard evaluation they use) to understand the employee experience for different personalities.
  • Performance rating. One organisation assessed to better understand why they were not retaining their high-potential employees, and could also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of employee development efforts.
  • Participation in a significant project or initiative. Big projects can have various impacts on the participants. Especially for those that last over several quarters, getting a read on employees’ engagement data can provide insight into how effectively the project was managed.
  • Completion of professional development programmes. Find out quickly if your organisation’s investment in learning and development is affecting employees’ engagement.

Any time employees are brought together into an identifiable group – whether they were invited to a leadership development programme, were part of a corporate initiative, or have some other variable in common – presents an opportunity to understand the impact on their individual engagement, gather specific feedback related to their experience and more easily spot specific areas of opportunity.

In their reviews of our service, clients often mention the fact that Engagement Multiplier surveys open their eyes to previously unknown issues:

“This system has allowed us to pinpoint areas within our company that need more coaching.

“We have found EM to be a great resource for collecting and analysing feedback from our staff. It has enabled us to better understand the core needs of our staff and address issues we were unaware existed within teams or the business.”

Tapping into employee feedback 

In addition to providing a holistic view of your team’s engagement and feedback, the anonymity a third-party platform, like Engagement Miultiplier, provides also enables leaders to access employee feedback they are unlikely to have otherwise received. Here are two more examples from clients:

“The platform’s anonymity has allowed us to access feedback, critique, and opinion that we would never have accessed otherwise.

“Though the anonymity of the survey employees felt at ease to discuss and suggest matters that may be uncomfortable in a face-to-face meeting.

Some employee feedback may be offered in the form of constructive criticism. While sometimes hard to read, this sort of feedback can be especially valuable.

Stefan Wissenbach, our founder, notes that this kind of feedback presents a leader with one of two opportunities: correcting a misunderstanding, or an opportunity to become better.

The written feedback is invaluable and gives the employees a secure platform to voice their concerns and give constructive negative feedback anonymously.”

“I was a little skeptical about signing up to Engagement Multiplier as we are a small business and it was a significant commitment, however, the trial was free so I had nothing to lose. The first survey was a great success; we had an uptake of over 79% and an initial engagement score of 84 but the comments were eye-opening. I was impressed how honest the staff felt that they could be, knowing that this is totally anonymous and I took full advantage of the secure platform to follow up on comments and gain further insight into what was happening or being perceived to be happening in the business.”

Knowing where employees stand on specific workplace issues 

It’s also difficult to overemphasise the importance of understanding where your team stands on current workplace issues and events – such as their comfort levels with returning to the workplace, or their preferences concerning remote work. A variety of studies on employee priorities make clear that for many, these are make-or-break issues over which they will leave their job.

Our founder, Stefan Wissenbach, often says, “Ignorance isn’t a strategy,” and in this case, knowing whether a leadership decision is likely to create the risk of additional employee turnover would probably be a useful factor to consider.

Likewise, it’s also important to evaluate whether company programmes (like mental health support or professional development) have delivered upon the promised benefits. The comprehensive IBM report titled “Closing the Chasm” notes that executives are very likely to overestimate the impact of the company’s programmes.

“Ongoing analysis of global consumers and business executives shows that there is a deep disconnect between what leaders think their organizations are offering and how employees feel about that support. In general, we found that employers significantly overestimate the effectiveness of their efforts to support employees.” — IBM Business Intelligence Unit, “Closing the Chasm”

You can survey employees on specific workplace issues and programme effectiveness either by adding your own questions to the regular quarterly benchmark survey, using one of our pre-made On-Demand surveys, or developing your customised on-demand survey.

In short, employees’ perceptions form their leaders’ reality. The good news is that most employee engagement survey data and analysis will provide leaders with a clear picture of employee sentiments.

Understanding the impact of organisational change

Employee engagement data can provide a lens into how the organisation is coping with change, whether it’s something that affects everyone, such as the pandemic, or a change that affects a specific team, such as a new leader.

In addition to keeping an eye open for commentary related to the change within the employee feedback, you should also compare current employee engagement score data to see how it’s trending and spot any more subtle changes, such as a dip in a team’s engagement score, or scores within a specific dimension that slip.

Assessing change is also another terrific application for a custom On-Demand survey, enabling you to delve deeper into the impact of the change and likely identify opportunities to improve.

Applying employee engagement data to the business

The employee engagement data you receive from Engagement Multiplier is easy to understand at a glance because we do the number crunching for you. Data visualisation is built into the platform, enabling you to quickly spot emerging workplace issues or changes in trends. Using the data we provide, you’ll be able to:

  • Understand the level of engagement across the whole organisation,
  • Evaluate scores on a per-team basis,
  • Easily change how you sort and view results, depending upon how you have organised your employee data,
    • For example, in addition to assessing scores by department or job function, you can also sort by criteria such as hire date or location to understand different nuances.
  • View how your engagement scores have trended over time,
  • Read written feedback from employees (and respond to it anonymously, as well),
  • Spot areas where a manager needs some coaching or employees need help.

One of the most predictable factors in employee performance and retention is employee engagement. Looking beyond your organisation’s score into the feedback, sentiments, and scores from different employee segments provides leaders with current, actionable data they can use to improve business performance.