Employee engagement surveys: 4 reasons why they may not drive results

By Laksitha Siriwardena

2023-12-08 — Read 5 min

Share this article

Share on LinkedInShare on TwitterShare on FacebookShare via Email

Increasing employee engagement is at the forefront of every leader’s mind in any business, but improving engagement has always been a challenge.

Low engagement can lead to employees feeling disconnected from their company, and in turn produce a lower standard of work or, in the worst cases, leave. In turn, low engagement from one employee can sour the engagement of many other employees, reducing the overall productivity and satisfaction of fellow employees. According to Gallup, in the US, when 32% of employees are engaged in general, about 18% are actively disengaged at work. (based on a sample of 15,000 U.S. full- and part-time employees each quarter.)

Many businesses commonly employ surveys, such as engagement, satisfaction, and overall employee experience assessments, to gauge their employees' engagement levels. Despite the advanced analytics and next-generation features offered by various survey tools in the market, HR specialists and leaders often find it challenging to translate these insights into tangible improvements at the grassroots level.

In this article, we are sharing four reasons why employee engagement might not drive results and tips to overcome common loopholes to boost employee engagement.

Lack of accountability

In most organisations, engagement and other employee surveys are often perceived as HR-owned initiatives. This perception can cause leaders and individual team members to feel less accountable for their survey results.

 Without a sense of team ownership, teams frequently fail to engage with the results and take proactive steps to improve their performance and elevate the team to the next level.

Not surveying frequently enough

Often, organisations deploy engagement surveys annually, in one long survey designed to assess a multitude of different factors to get an overall view on the employee experience.

However, employee engagement and the factors that drive engagement change all the time. Therefore, they need to be captured and measured regularly as they are subject to change.

This allows teams to take action to address specific challenges in a timely manner. Annual employee surveys often fail to capture factors that matter to teams and individuals on a day-to-day basis and leave management fixing problems that may no longer exist.

Using the results as a scorecard instead of a catalyst for development conversations

In most organisations, HR specialists/leaders treat survey results as scorecards and aim for positive results which will, in their opinion, reflect well on the company or department.

However, survey results are meaningless unless they are used for meaningful development discussions. That's why we advocate for collective development discussions among team members to serve as a catalyst for future change and improvement. These conversations are as important, if not more important, than the results themselves. 

If HR departments and leaders continue to push the surveys as score and results based, then employees will increasingly chase just good scores, and therefore reduce the accuracy of results gathered, potentially providing a false negative score for employee engagement, which adversely impact employee engagement.

Therefore, employees and leaders should chase honest and accurate results over ticks and green boxes, as this way the honest and open conversations can happen about making changes for the future.

Failure to mind-set the teams well

Ultimately, the success of employee engagement surveys relies on employees providing accurate, honest results. These results cannot be achieved if employees are not aware of the reasons for completing the surveys. Therefore, it's critical to mind-set the teams regarding the purpose, process, and anonymity of the surveys before sending them out and collecting feedback from employees.

Failure to mind-set a team prior to a survey initiatives and ensure psychological safety, the surveys may lack accuracy, response rates, and support from employees.

In conclusion, leaders and HR specialists should begin to treat engagement surveys as a team-owned solution that encourages more development-centric, honest, and open conversations to get the best value from survey solutions.

MyTeamPulse is a pulse survey tool that helps leaders and HR professionals in addressing common challenges that traditional surveys may encounter. The expertise, support, and theunique deployment process that accompany MyTeamPulse make it an exceptional and more effective solution for team-centric, team development.

If you want to learn more about the MyTeamPulse tool or have any questions, visit myteampulse.com, or contact our organisational development lead, Angela Neely, a.neely@smartleaderacademy.com, today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can employee engagement surveys improve team performance?

Employee engagement surveys provide valuable insights into the level of engagement within a team, allowing leaders to identify areas for improvement and take proactive steps to enhance team performance.

How often should employee engagement surveys be conducted?

Employee engagement surveys should be conducted regularly to capture the dynamic nature of engagement. Annual surveys may not be sufficient, and more frequent surveys are recommended to address specific challenges in a timely manner.

How should survey results be used to drive development conversations?

Survey results should be used as a catalyst for meaningful development discussions among team members, focusing on identifying areas for improvement and implementing changes for the future. These conversations are crucial for driving positive change and enhancing employee engagement.

How can leaders ensure accurate and honest employee engagement survey responses?

Leaders should mindset teams about the purpose, process, and anonymity of the surveys to create a safe and supportive environment for employees to provide accurate and honest feedback. Clear communication and transparency are key to encouraging participation and obtaining reliable results.

How effective is the reward and recognition programs in recognizing individual contributions?

A well-designed reward and recognition system, based on clear performance criteria and objectives, can effectively acknowledge and appreciate individual contributions. Fairness, timeliness, personalization, and regular evaluation are essential elements for an effective system that boosts team morale and motivation.

How can MyTeamPulse help address challenges in employee engagement surveys?

MyTeamPulse is a pulse survey tool that offers expertise, support, and a unique deployment process to address common challenges faced by traditional engagement surveys. It provides a team-centric approach to foster development-centric conversations, which enhance employee engagement.

Enabling the team to ask the right questions of themselves and take a reflective approach is at the heart of MyTeamPulse.

For more information or inquiries, visit myteampulse.com or contact our organizational development lead, Angela Neely, at a.neely@smartleaderacademy.com.

#netpromoterscore #HRassets #motivated

Published 2023-12-08

Share on LinkedInShare on TwitterShare on FacebookShare via Email

By Laksitha Siriwardena

Stay connected with SmartLeader

Subscribe to get our latest articles and research insights.

By subscribing to our newsletter you agree to our privacy policy and allow SmartLeader to store and process the personal information submitted above to provide you the content requested.

101 Clifton Hill, London NW8 0JR, UK

(+44) 7789 405 294

302/8 Commerce Street, Auckland, New Zealand

(+64) 9 366 1560 

© 2024. Powered by Smart Leader Diagnostics