6 Steps For Better Staff Engagement Surveys

Without a doubt, getting company culture right is critical for achieving your business goals. In fact, along side strategy, research published in the Harvard Business Review suggests culture is the primary lever for organisational success.

“A recent global study of engagement from the ADP Research Institute found that if employees consider themselves part of a team (or even better, part of more than one team), they are twice as likely to feel engaged in their work.”

HBR

To get your culture right, you need to understand your people as best you can and the most effective way to understand your team is through regular staff engagement. There are plenty of ways to engage with your staff, but one of the most effective in terms of resources and outcome, is staff engagement surveys. They’re cost effective, provide staff with a platform to have their say, and provide leaders with real insights that can support better decision making.

These 6 steps will help you conduct staff engagement surveys that facilitate constructive dialogue and improve company culture and productivity.

1. Focus on teams

One-size-fits-all, whole-of-organisation surveys have their place, but they’re also clunky and can fail to give a true indication of the state of your staff’s engagement with their job and your organisation.

Evidence suggests that a staff member’s immediate team and line-manager have a big impact on how they feel about their job. So, tailoring surveys to suit the needs of individual teams gives leaders more honest insights into the workings of their team, and focus their energy on what really matters.

2. Be consultative

Involve staff in the design of your survey to generate buy-in and higher participation rates. When you ask staff to be part of the survey’s creation, you also gain insights into what your staff want to tell you their team, their job and their manager.

3. Make them regular

Once a year surveys just don’t cut it anymore. Conduct your staff engagement surveys no less than twice per year. In my opinion, conducting a staff engagement survey once every quarter is best-practice, especially if you are a large organisation.

Shifts in culture and in the general business environment happen quickly and often in today’s business landscape, so conducting surveys any less than twice per year can result in stale, unusable data over time.

4. Make them easy

Make sure your surveys are easy to access and not too long. Conduct the survey online and make it accessible through a link you can send around via email and that is available on your intranet or online learning management system.

The survey should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete. Any longer and staff will lose interest and answer questions without proper consideration. At the end of the day, you want your staff being productive not spending half their day filling out a survey.

When the survey is ready for staff to complete, set and communicate a deadline along with regular reminders so staff don’t forget to participate.

5. Be transparent

Share survey data with everyone in the organisation as soon as possible. There are a number of ways you can do this. Try a combination of the following: an agenda item at team meetings; a whole-of-team email; a whole-of-organization email; an address from the CEO; post results on your intranet or online learning management system; all of the above.

Include in your communications a high level plan and timetable for taking action on survey results.

6. Take action

Don’t expect the data from your surveys to always tell you how awesome it is to work at your company. No company is perfect and even the best places to work in the world invest in maintaining and improving their culture. Good staff engagement is a continuous program of improvement.

Get to work as soon as possible. Create project teams to plan and drive the change process. Open project teams up for volunteers from all teams who want to make a positive contribution to the company. Ensure senior leadership champions your change agenda.


A great company culture is the sum of a lot of different, interconnected activities and efforts. Knowing how engaged your staff are with their job and how they feel about working for your company is the first step toward creating a company culture that drives productivity and success.

Sharing is caring, so please let us know your tips for conducting staff engagement activities?


This piece was originally written and then adapted for Fridge Magazine in 2015.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s