Engagement surveys can be hit or miss – and when they miss, it’s often for an all-too-common reason: Poor timing. As in, they’re either deployed too frequently (creating a burden on your staff) or too infrequently (ie. the “annual” survey).

Why do these “annual” surveys exist?

Really. Do you remember what you did on Tuesday of last week? What you had for lunch? What you did at work? No fair cheating by looking at your calendar. So if I asked you to rate your work experience last week, how accurate could you be?

Unless you have a phenomenal memory, not very.

Annual employee surveys ask you to remember an entire year’s worth of triumphs and frustrations, which no one can.

Your responses are limited to what you can remember, which, most likely, is the recent past.

And that means, depending on when these surveys are deployed, your responses could be colored by…

  • Pre-holiday work stress
  • Post-holiday cheer
  • The most recent all-hands-on-deck work emergency
  • The fluke really bad week
  • Or, anything else

That annual survey only captures a moment in time, which is why we say they don’t exist. You’re not able to review an entire year accurately.

But, we’ve found that you can review the past three months with a fair level of accuracy. And, with surveys repeating every three months, you get a broader and more accurate picture of how your business is really doing on a day-to-day basis.

Three months isn’t so frequent that employees suffer from survey-fatigue, and not so infrequent that they lose accuracy.

The reason why we like quarterly surveys

We’ve often found that new and potential clients come to us expecting surveys to be a labor-intensive, time-intensive process for everyone involved. If you’ve only got one survey and try to pack every question into it, it’s asking a lot of your employees to sit down and fill it out. And then your HR department is tasked with the burden of going through the responses, which means it will take months (at best) for employees to see the results (much less the actions you plan to take to address those results).

More frequent surveys lighten the burden on everyone. They take substantially less time for employees and HR departments, and because of our digital platform that crunches all of the data, results are available as soon as the survey closes.

When done right, it doesn’t have to be a ton of work for the owner or leadership team either!

That means you, as the business owner, can act on those insights quickly, showing your employees that their contributions have a real impact.

Watch Stefan Wissenbach explain why many Employee Engagement Surveys don’t work (and what surprises our clients have found with our quarterly surveys).