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By: Kayla Bell on March 14th, 2014

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Pros Vs. Cons of Employee Engagement Surveys

Business Management & Strategy

Employee engagement surveys, sometimes called employee satisfaction surveys or employee feedback surveys, can be a great tool for leaders to understand employee viewpoints on a variety of organizational aspects. Before an organization launches an employee engagement survey it is important to understand the pros, cons, and things to keep in mind when seeking to determine a level of engagement by asking for your employee’s opinion.

Pros of an Employee Engagement Survey

Let’s start with the positive aspects of an employee engagement survey – and there are many!

  • Employee surveys can be written specific to the needs of your organization and can cover variety of topics ranging from culture, leadership, management, benefits and compensation, communication, job expectations and more.
  • There are great online survey tools that allow organizations to conduct surveys in-house or organizations may opt to use the knowledge and experience of a third-party vendor.
  • Often times, engagement surveys are conducted anonymously which makes employees feel more comfortable about providing honest and candid feedback; however, these surveys can be structured to not be anonymous if this is ideal for your organization.
  • Employees will gain a stronger sense that their feedback and opinions matter to the leaders of their organization.
  • The survey will allow leaders to gather employee feedback in order to identify and prioritize the need to develop or enhance programs that offer win-win solutions to both the organization and the employees; in turn, this will increase employee morale and engagement.
Cons of an Employee Engagement Survey

I’m not sure if “cons” is necessarily the appropriate word to use when discussing the potential downside to employee surveys, but there are a few things that may require you to consider if employee surveys are right for your organization.

  • There is no guarantee of employee participation; having a high level of participation is instrumental in being able to effectively assess employee viewpoints in an effort to identify and implement solutions for improvement.
  • Despite anonymity, employees may not provide the honest and candid feedback you are looking for.
  • Employees may provide feedback that you do not like or are not ready to hear.
Things to Keep in Mind When Conducting an Employee Survey

The intent of an employee engagement survey is to obtain employee feedback and opinions, so before you do so it’s important to be prepared to receive feedback. Prepare yourself, and your leaders, that you may not have a true understanding of how your employees feel about working for your company. Your idea of what’s important to your staff may vary from what is actually important to your staff – and that’s okay! That is precisely why you would conduct a survey, to identify gaps and develop solutions for the employees and the organization.

In addition to being prepared to receive feedback, you need to be prepared to act on that feedback. While you may not be able to accommodate every employee’s wishes and demands, you will want to implement solutions that fit the needs of the majority of employees without being detrimental to the success of your organization.

When analyzing the results of your survey, you will want to look for trends in responses:

  • What areas of concern seem to be the most important to employees overall?
  • What are you prepared to do to address the employee concerns to ensure that you maintain your key personnel?
Conducting an employee survey leads your staff to feel that their opinion matters; if an organization doesn't follow through afterwards and take employee opinion into consideration it can be damaging to morale and engagement among the employees.

If your organization is considering conducting an employee survey, consider the pros, cons, and things to keep in mind listed above. Again, employee surveys are a great tool for organizational leaders to use to increase engagement and develop employee programs.

Organizational leaders need to identify the organizational aspects for which they are seeking input, determine how they want to gather employee opinion, and be sure they are ready to hear and act upon the feedback that may be received during the survey. Once you've accomplished these three tasks, you are likely ready to move forward with the employee survey process.

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