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Employees are the heart of your business, but are they happy?

When employees are engaged, a business will be more productive, efficient and successful - particularly in smaller businesses, according to Qualtrics, the private research software company.

Measuring employee engagement is important to help maintain engagement levels and identify opportunities to improve engagement, and an effective way to do this is through an employee engagement survey, Qualtrics says.

Bill McMurray, Qualtrics APAC managing director, says, “Surveys provide the opportunity to collect valuable employee feedback and enable organisations make changes on their behalf if needed. If this is done right, it is possible to optimise engagement and improve organisational performance.”

“To get the most out of an employee survey, it’s important the questions measure the following: pride in the company, intention to stay with the company, motivation of employees to go above and beyond, and the likelihood of recommending the company to friends or family - this is known as an Employee Net Promoter Score,” he says.

Qualtrics has identified seven steps to developing an employee engagement survey that will deliver value.

1. Involve key leaders when prioritising issues

As well as understanding what the business needs from the bottom up, it is important to know what it needs from the top down. This means engaging with key leaders when prioritising issues.

2. Develop a business specific list of engagement drivers

Traditional engagement category drivers include; autonomy/empowerment, career progression, collaboration, communication, company leadership, pay and benefits, quality of product/services, recognition, resources, strategy alignment, supportive management, and training/development, according to Qualtrics.

Businesses need to ensure that all of the engagement categories are relevant. Don’t be afraid to remove categories that don’t seem relevant and create new categories that are relevant to your business, says Qualtrics.

3. Define the questions

Once the customised engagement categories have been finalised, create a few questions per category, Qualtrics says.

Key considerations when creating questions include:

  • Ask a robust engagement measure
  • The questions should attempt to measure different aspects of a theme (e.g., the company, the manager, the team, the individual), so that you get a new piece of information from each.
  • Wherever possible, define and consistently use the same scale. For example, the majority of the time, you should be able to word a question to be answered on a 'strongly agree - strongly disagree' scale or a 'very good - very poor' scale.

4. Include necessary definitions

Not everybody understands certain titles and terms in the same way. Make sure everyone is on the same page by including definitions at the beginning of the survey, or attached to individual questions, depending on the layout of the survey.

5. Know how to reach your employees

In today’s day and age, you need to ensure you deliver your engagement survey in a relevant manner to encourage employee participation. You should ensure your surveys are mobile device responsive so employees can complete them on their mobile devices, Qualtrics says.

6. Determine how the data needs to be broken down for analysis

You should be integrating your business structure and demographic data into your employee engagement feedback so you can breakdown the data and deliver it in a clear way.

7. Action the employee feedback

Before you start your engagement survey, you must understand the strategy and how you will action the data. The most important part of collecting employee feedback is to take action on the feedback in an appropriate timeframe to show employees that you have listened and value their feedback, says Qualtrics.