Have you tried engagement surveys in the past that didn’t deliver the results you were hoping for? Well-intentioned CEOs and founders institute engagement surveys all the time – and are frequently disappointed by the results.

Stefan Wissenbach explains in this 4-minute video, Why Engagement Surveys Don’t Work, common reasons they so often fail.

Traditional engagement surveys tend to go out annually and require employees to spend a lot of time, thought and energy to fill out. Then, employees have to wait weeks or even months, for results to be analyzed by HR, for management to form a plan, and for their feedback to be put into action.

After all that time, most of those employees can’t even remember what they wrote down, much less notice if any real changes resulted from their input.

How to Set Up Your Engagement Survey: Holistic and Integrated

Leading-edge employee engagement survey best practices are predicated on the idea of being “more holistic, integrated,” as one Forbes contributor, corporate HR analyst Josh Bersin, put it back in 2014. He also predicted that engagement was becoming “one of the biggest competitive differentiators in business.”

We couldn’t agree more.

We’ve found great success with 90-day team surveys, rather than more frequent surveys, or annual company surveys. While annual surveys are too few and far between, too-frequent surveys come with their own set of problems, like survey-exhaustion, and no time between surveys to see the results of the last. At either extreme, employee motivation slumps.

Here are our Employee Engagement Survey Best Practices for achieving the results you’re looking for – and remember, 90% of our clients reach Engaged Status by their fourth survey.

Employee Engagement Survey Best Practices

  • Every 90 days seems to be the magic number – After testing with a few time-spans, we’ve landed on 90-days as the sweet spot for engagement surveys. Quarterly surveys give leaders enough time to analyze their results and create an action plan around employee feedback (which our expert engagement specialists are available to help with). It’s also not so long a time-span that employees forget what their feedback was in the first place – and if they do forget, they need only log in to their personal Engagement Multiplier account to remember.
  • Create a set of measurable objectives to improve after each survey – In our office, we have our employees take our survey too, one team member said “After taking that first survey, we had a set of identifiable objectives to work on, and by the next survey, we could see when and how those were completed. Then we worked on creating the next set. That transparency, and the camaraderie that results, has been really nice.”
  • Commit fully – Engagement programs are only as good as the company’s commitment to embracing them, which means you have to stick with it. We don’t do free trials, and it’s not because we don’t think you’ll love Engagement Multiplier. It’s because if you try an engagement program out on your employees, then drop it, they won’t take it – or your commitment to them – seriously. You have to give engagement a chance to become an integral part of your culture.
  • Share survey results, even when they’re bad – You can’t ask an employee to fully engage in their jobs if you aren’t willing to risk creating a transparent, honest work environment. A vital part of that is sharing your survey results with all of your employees (not just management), acknowledging your shortcomings, and presenting a plan to address them.
  • Ask your employees for their ideas – Your best solutions are already at your fingertips: Just ask your employees. You’ll need to work together to put your engagement plans into action, and asking for their input from the beginning ensures that they’ll be on board and excited. In our next post (and Stefan’s next video), we explore ways to gather great ideas from your employees that will improve your company, and boost engagement.

Watch Stefan Wissenbach explain Gathering Employee Ideas in this 2-minute clip

Essentially, the recipe for a successful engagement survey is simple: 90-day surveys, commit to engagement, enable transparent communication that goes both ways, and following through. But, of course, the survey itself is the easy part. Finding the best possible ways to respond – that’s another post!

Take a closer look at Engagement Multiplier’s employee engagement survey questions