In the 8 years we’ve been in business, for almost 7.5 of those years we’ve created engagement surveys for small and medium sized organizations to help businesses understand how their employees are feeling. We’ve received the opinions from more than 5000 employees and 250+ companies in North America, from companies sized 5 employees to 500 employees. Our lowest engagement score was just over 20% and our highest topped 97%.
What we’ve learned is the following:
So how or why does this happen when all the stats we’ve read say that higher engagement leads to higher profitability, higher revenue and lower turnover?
That answer is fairly simple. An engagement survey is not the only metric a company needs to use to determine whether or not a company is successful. Taken at a point in time, it is simply that – a snapshot of how people are feeling – that day, that week or that month (and if you’re really stretching…sure, that year).
It is a leader’s ability to be accountable for their own actions and how they treat people that really make the impact on an organization. The better the leader – the better the engagement. The better the leader – the better the profitability or higher revenue etc.
So why should I answer an engagement survey if it doesn’t mean anything?
Because when you have a voice and are given the opportunity – you should always use it. The truth is, it really sucks to work at a company you dislike and feel like you have no say. (Although don’t ever stay because you feel trapped. Stop being a victim!) But when you’re asked your opinion, instead of choosing not to give one, recognize that an engagement survey can actually be a safe platform to use. The truth is, an engagement survey gives you an incredibly powerful voice (and the truth is only a 1/3 of companies even bother to ask you your opinion in the first place!) Not only are your comments and scores received without bias (managers and leaders truly have no idea who you are) it is a platform that you can help guide your human resources programming with and build something you do enjoy coming to.
And for those that love their organization – this is a great way to affirm what you love and keep doing!
Just remember – when answering, it’s not just about that day or that week – consider answering with the whole year in mind (keep that recency bias to a minimum!)
Are surveys really anonymous?
For companies who use our surveys at Elevated we can absolutely say they are anonymous. We won’t lie though – when you write a comment many leaders try to figure out who you are by what you have said. And based on how many written interactions you have with your manager, it’s sometimes quiet easy to tell who someone is. BUT – how you score overall – no one can ever tell that with the surveys we use. (And by the way – not ONE person we have ever worked with has been fired known or unknown because of a response in a survey!)
We’ve also worked with companies like KornFerry, Aon Hewitt and Gallup. While they ask for your email address so THEY can correlate who they’ve received a response from, they are very good at keeping them confidential as well. That said, it is the one reason why at Elevated, we don’t track IP addresses or email addresses – we don’t ever want to be put in a position TO know who you are. We like simply not knowing.
So what’s the point?
Truthfully? Maybe nothing. But the fact that your company is paying to hear your opinion in an anonymous way – maybe everything! We’ve seen so many companies make changes in their HR programming because of what they have heard from you. We’ve seen so many companies get initially upset that a program they run isn’t as good as they think it is – but given the feedback want to make a change. And sure – we’ve seen companies do absolutely nothing initially…and then 6 months to a year later finally realize they need to make a change (and do!)
An engagement survey response won’t change the world. But your collective responses as a team may change your company – which in turn, may be a way you start to see the world differently!
It’s kind of like voting. Your preferred candidate may never win – but why would you give up on an opportunity to at least have your voice heard if you are given a platform to do so?
As such – we recommend you always use your voice when you’re given the chance. Answer the survey.
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