December 2016
Issue Map
December 2016
The Buzz
Designing Better Engagement Surveys
Monday, December 12, 2016

One of the most common tools for determining employee engagement and satisfaction is the survey. However, many experts question if these surveys are the best way to measure workforce attitudes. For one, many employees simply don’t bother to take them. The standard response rate for web-based employee surveys is 50 to 60 percent. Those who opt not to take the surveys usually believe they are useless—that nothing will change regardless of the results, or worse, that they will face retaliation if they say what they really feel. Another issue has to do with the survey’s design. One common question found on many engagement surveys reads, “Would you recommend this organization to friends and family members as a good place to work?" with the binary response choice of “yes” and “no.” The answer, however, doesn’t matter because it reveals nothing to the manager. If the answer is yes, there is no reasoning for it, and if the answer is no, the manager is offered no insight as to what could be fixed. A better way to ask this question, and all engagement survey questions in general, is to leave it open ended. Allow employees to rank their responses on a scale of 1-10 and offer feedback.

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