Employee engagement is a powerful force for good within the organisation, but it’s also fragile: employees can quickly become disengaged during times of uncertainty and change.

For this reason, even though times of challenge or change increase the burden on leadership, measuring and maintaining employee engagement levels as the team works through a challenge or moment of change can make or break whether or not the outcome is successful.

During a busy time, it’s easy to delay fielding an employee survey. However, those times are when checking in on your people and gathering their feedback is vital.

Why surveying employees during organisational change is beneficial 

Checking in with employees as they navigate change confers multiple benefits: leadership gains real-time insight into how people feel and what they’re thinking, and employees feel valued and heard. Specific benefits include:

  • Checking for alignment. If the organisation is going to navigate change successfully, employees need to be standing with you, shoulder to shoulder, and an engagement survey will let you know where they truly stand. Ideally, the survey should be segmented by team, enabling leaders to understand whether individual teams have the information they need and are aligned with the organisation’s strategy or approach.
  • Alleviating pressure through employee feedback. Change is stressful, and inviting employees to share their feedback has an important but often ignored benefit, acting as a pressure valve and allowing employees to voice their concerns. Segmenting results by team is useful here, as well: if teams are struggling, that will show up in the data, enabling leadership to take action.
  • Uncovering employee concerns or rumors leadership should address. In addition to helping alleviate pressure, inviting feedback during a challenging time can also help leaders identify concerns, issues, or rumors that can quickly degrade employee engagement and morale.
  • Gauging employee engagement and morale to proactively retain employees. Times of change and uncertainty can trigger employee turnover. Keeping close tabs on engagement levels and morale will allow leaders to quickly spot teams vulnerable to turnover, and take action to shore up engagement and employee satisfaction.

Build unity and alignment in your team from Day One 

Borrowing elements of your employee engagement strategy can help you build unity and alignment for a team that’s faced with a challenge. Clear communication that speaks to common individual concerns–such as job security, career opportunities, and role clarity–can go a long way to keeping your team cohesive and positive. Tactics to use include:

  • Explain the “why” behind the change and the benefits the organisation expects to realise.
  • Communicate frequently to reduce uncertainty and build trust and allay fears about job security.
  • Emphasise (or if necessary, define) the shared purpose, vision, and values for the team.
  • Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) outcomes-based goals to focus efforts on achieving necessary results.

Build employee surveys into your operating procedures

Surveying your workforce once is good. Taking their feedback on board and communicating what the company will be doing, as a result, is better. Repeating this feedback process consistently is ideal: when you make surveying employees and gathering feedback a habit, the quality of the information you gain increases, and you’ll have a consistent view of how your people stand. As you accumulate data, you’ll be able to spot deviations, enabling leaders to respond in an agile way to resolve issues before they balloon into significant problems.

Best of all, when you gather employee feedback consistently and make checking in with your workforce a habit, there are fewer surprises that can throw the organisation off track. Employee engagement generates measurable results and makes a company easier to run – especially during a moment of organisational change.