What to Look For When Choosing an Employee Engagement Survey

A Quick Checklist of Must-Haves

It can be overwhelming to sift through the myriad of information about employee engagement surveys. Just Googling employee engagement brings up almost 50 million results. Yes, 50 million.

We want to give you a concrete list of things to look for in an employee engagement survey as well as things to keep in mind about the service offered by an employee engagement survey provider. A checklist of things we believe are priority for an effective employee engagement survey, analyses, and follow up with the right team support.

When looking for an employee engagement survey, here are features we recommend you ask about when discussing the survey itself:

  1. Benchmark data – Validated background information on survey items collected from industry sources to determine how other firms (especially the best in class ones) achieve their high levels of performance. Lack of benchmarks is a deal breaker. Without benchmark data, it makes no sense to invest time and money into a survey. To understand how important benchmark data is to your organization’s employee engagement survey, read this Industry-Specific Benchmarks and Employee Engagement article.

  2. Ability to analyze the data and identify priorities for the organization to focus on. Does the reporting identify specific areas (demographic subgroups) within the larger company that are having problems or "at risk"?

  3. Confidence in the assigned competencies, e.g. knowing that you have not missed a critical aspect of employee engagement. This can be tricky, as you don't know what you don't know... but a thorough review of the literature, academic research, other surveys, etc. goes a long way toward ensuring that no key areas are missed.

  4. Along with measuring the global key drivers of engagement, can your organization add custom items to the survey that are specific to your industry or transitional company events?

  5. Is the survey actionable? Does the survey provide targeted follow up questions to elicit more detailed feedback from employees? This is important to look at not only quantitative data but qualitative as well. Some of the choicest gems of insight are found in the comments.

  6. Data analyses: The last thing you want is to be stuck with piles of data. When the survey results are in what kind of reporting does your survey vendor offer? The trend is leaving bulky paper trails behind which is less efficient and unfairly taps our environmental resources (trees!). So find out if the survey company has a robust, full-package product that uses cutting-edge technology to deliver analyses.

Finally, always be sure to evaluate the company’s experience and focus. And remember, while the initial responsibility is on the survey provider to provide an excellent data analysis tool and participant experience, the true test and efficacy of the employee engagement survey resides in your ability to follow through on the results.

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