everything is relative. If the same questions have been asked of
10,000 employees across North America and your company is
in the 10th percentile, then you’ll know you have a lot of work
Conversely, if scores seem low but other organizations also
score low on that topic, it can prevent you from flagging an is-sue
“For example, if your scores on pay are low, it doesn’t neces-sarily
mean you have to pay everyone more,” said Robert Gray,
president of Insightlink Communications in Palm Springs, Calif.
“It means you’re right in line and that’s just the way people across
the board feel about pay.”
Typically, an engagement survey will include questions grouped
within particular categories. Gray’s firm, for example, explores four
areas: culture, commitment, communication and compensation.
“A survey should be objective and shouldn’t lead you to a par-ticular
answer,” said Gray. “It should also be constructive, where
you don’t only hear the highs and the lows.”
Surveys should also have enough breakdown included to
properly decipher results.
“When you’re looking at surveys and deciding which to use,
see if the survey breaks things down far enough to look at in-dividual
parts of the organization, because someone could be
completely satisfied with their supervisor and disengaged with
the employer generally,” said Webb. “You also want to have some
segmentation between the various layers of the organization.
That way, once you get all the aggregate data, you can paint a pic-ture
of your strengths and weaknesses.”
Whatever questions you do ask, it’s critical to ask them of the en-tire
“What you want to do is hear from everyone – ideally 80 to
85 per cent participation,” said Gray. “Make sure data collec-tion
methods fit with the nature of the workforce.” If not all staff
members have web access, for example, then a survey that’s only
available online will leave many out. You’re not only missing out
on valuable data, you risk alienating an entire group within the
Well in advance of the survey, staff should have a clear sense of
what’s coming, why and what the organization will do afterward.
“One of the biggest missteps I see when organizations conduct
engagement surveys is they don’t state what their guiding princi-ples
are from the outset,” said Gray. “Why are you doing it? What
are you going to do with the results? How are you going to put
those plans into action?”
You’re asking staff to invest a fair amount of time giving can-did
and honest feedback. A little explanation can go a long way
to establishing trust.
You need reliable information at your fingertips
to maintain a safe workplace.
We’re here to help.
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY GROUP INC.
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