How fast does an employee engagement program take to work?

When will I see results from my first engagement survey?

We hear these questions often and are not surprised by the sense of urgency many new clients display. Issues concerning your workforce can be worrying.

The good news is that many companies see immediate results, however, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note that success requires leaders to not just gather feedback, but to act on it as well.

Three tips for getting quick results from an employee engagement survey

Success Tip 1: Take visible action after the survey, utilising the feedback received.

Here are two recent reviews (both received within the last two months) that describe the impact the first survey delivered – and the subsequent actions taken by the leadership teams:

“Already, in the space of one quarter, we have seen a jump of 6.7, taking us over 80%. This is entirely due to the first survey and the response we have had from the staff in involving them with the changes arising from the workshop we held after that survey. The support we receive from Engagement Multiplier compliments the work we put into the workshops and the extra publications and webinars they make us aware of are very timely.” –  January 2021

“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 by 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.

We were able to make some small changes immediately which meant that when we went out for a 2nd survey the uptake was even higher at over 87%. Comments noted that management had taken the previous survey on board and made changes and this gave confidence that their opinion truly mattered.

A win, win all around.” – March 2021

In both of these cases, leadership took action based upon the feedback generated by the survey, underscoring our first tip for success: leadership action.

In one case, the client held a workshop after their first survey. The other client was able to make small changes immediately after the survey, which lead to an even higher participation rate for the following one, in which employees noted the changes leaders had taken.

Demonstrating to employees that their feedback matters by acknowledging it and acting upon it is the surest way we know to both improve survey participation rates and make swift progress toward increasing employee engagement.

Success Tip 2: Make gathering – and responding to – feedback part of standard operating procedure.

“When our Coach recommended Engagement Multiplier we were a little bit doubtful about it – yet another survey system to exhaust our exhausted team. However, our cynicism was completely misplaced. It has been an excellent tool to allow us to get quarterly feedback that is frank and constructive. Being completely confidential, staff have felt safe providing feedback – fortunately mostly good (!) but also some very constructive negative feedback and criticism, which we have then been able to try to deal with. If there are problems out there, it is far better that we know about them and deal with them. We have been able to tailor these quarterly surveys which have been excellent over the challenges of last year. The ability to provide feedback directly to anyone making criticisms, without knowing who we are responding to, has been particularly constructive. We have also used it for fun things like Employee of the Month polls. The support from the EM team has also been excellent.” – February 2021

For this client, skepticism immediately evaporated when they saw the value of the feedback they received from employees, even though it wasn’t all roses. However, this client got a number of things right:

  • They were open to all feedback, even that which highlighted issues that needed to be addressed,
  • They used our Secure Follow-Up feature to respond directly to those who had offered critical feedback, ensuring employees know they are being heard, while still maintaining total anonymity,
  • They doubled down on feedback, by customising their quarterly surveys, and also using the Engagement Multiplier platform for “fun” feedback.

Success Tip 3: Repeat the process, building upon the knowledge and using it to increase engagement and drive continuous improvement.

We were delighted to hear from a number of clients who have been using Engagement Multiplier for more than three years. All have consistently used the program we recommend, which is based upon gathering feedback, sharing the findings with employees, and committing to taking action based upon the insights the surveys provide.

“The tool has been fantastic over the last 3 years and helped us to progress significantly as a business. It has given us a clear path and supported our roadmap to getting better engagement and a stronger culture. We have consistently used the feedback, listened to our employees, and made changes, some quite small and some very significant.” – February 2021

“Our first survey with Engagement Multiplier was in January 2018 and our engagement score was 65.9 and our latest in November 2020 was 84.0. I believe that this increase has been due to the advice given by Engagement Multiplier on how to use the information gained effectively from the survey. As a Senior Management team we have read the results thoroughly and after each survey address 2-3 issues that were mentioned by 2 or more employees, acknowledging the issue and then reporting on what we planned to do. Our Purpose, which is now embedded in the culture of the company was the first thing we worked on after our first survey. Engagement Multiplier is a great tool to really understand the thoughts and issues felt by our employees, many of which are easy quick fixes that can make a huge difference to our employees every day working life.” – February 2021

“Our team has been using the Engagement Multiplier for over 3 years – it’s been a great way to receive anonymous feedback from our team and look at ways to grow. We aren’t mind readers, so getting the inside scoop on how people are feeling (especially through the pandemic) has been invaluable!” – February 2021

Won’t employee surveys be a lot of work?

In addition to asking how quickly they’ll see results, prospective clients also express concerns about what they will uncover, and how much additional work the survey will create. As our founder, Stefan Wissenbach, likes to say – the problems are there. This issue is whether or not you know about them. Letting problems fester always creates more work, in the end.

In most cases, our clients find that making an end-run around issues that prevents them from growing into problems and reduces costly employee turnover – along with the gains they see from increased employee engagement – are benefits that end up saving both effort and cost over time.

Additionally, Stefan always reminds our clients that it’s not necessary to solve everything all at once. Instead, use the clarity the surveys provide to prioritise and focus your efforts, knocking out smaller issues and delivering incremental improvements, and giving leadership time to address more far-reaching problems.