(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by Readex Research, which provides expert survey services to help businesses understand their internal and external customers. Their services include employee experience surveys. Enjoy the post!)
Last month, Gallup released its State of the American Workplace report. It’s a long read – 200+ pages! But it’s important for two reasons. First, as much as we talk about the dynamics of employee engagement and disengagement, not much has changed. There’s still a significant percentage of the workforce that’s disengaged.
That’s an important thing to know. But the second point is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Organizations have an opportunity to find out how to engage employees. And it doesn’t involve a big, long, expensive process. In fact, it starts with something we do every day – communication.
Survey Research Versus Surveys
The definition of communication is “the imparting or exchanging of information or news.” So, one means of communication is to ask people what they think about a particular topic (i.e. survey). It’s a way for them to impart information.
However, according to Readex CEO Jack Semler, a survey might not give you the best information. Survey research will provide organizations with better insights. “There’s a distinct difference between surveys and survey research. Some would say it’s very subtle, but let me try and explain. Survey research is an ecosystem comprised of planning, creating, gathering, and then bringing understanding to data. You can gather information in many different ways, with a survey being one means. Other key components of survey research are asking questions the right way and then doing deep dives into data to provide as much clarity and life as possible. In other words, survey research is more than the act of asking questions. It’s a process based on a solid vision and plan, execution, and analysis.”
Semler’s definition reminds me of that old computer science acronym GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). If organizations do not take the time to properly plan and design their survey research project, then it could impact the information they receive. And when the goal is to act based on the data, having valid data is imperative.
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3 Advantages That Survey Research Can Bring to Employee Engagement Efforts
Clarity. First and foremost, survey research allows the organization to clearly hear the voice of the employee. There’s absolutely no reason to conduct survey research if you’re not interested in getting first-hand information.
Clarity is also the reason that employees are willing to participate in surveys. They want their voices heard but in a confidential way. Survey research allows organizations to clearly hear the voice of the employee using a process that ensures confidentiality. Hence, this encourages employees to truly speak their mind.
Consistency. One-on-one meetings are very effective and should be conducted on a regular basis. But when we’re talking about survey research, we need a way to quickly gather good data from a lot of people. That means using a process that will scale effectively.
Survey research can connect with employees all at once, saving time for managers, employees, and human resources. Let’s face it, no organization operates with an unlimited budget. Companies want to engage employees and utilize company resources in a responsible way.
Results. One of the biggest complaints I’ve experienced with surveys is turnaround time. Having feedback meetings with employees months after the survey doesn’t send the right message. Survey research offers a real-time reporting system, so organizations can share results in a timely fashion.
It also means that companies can act faster. Remember the goal is to impact employee engagement. So, the sooner companies have results, the sooner action plans can be developed.
Survey Research Creates Positive Impact
We all know that impacting employee engagement influences productivity, sales, and the bottom-line. But it can be hard to find a place to start. Survey research allows organizations to gather the data they need to make an impact.
If you want to learn more about how survey research can impact employee engagement, be sure to download Readex Research’s white paper on the “5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Your Next Survey Research Project”. It’s a straight-forward read that you can socialize to the senior management team for initial feedback and discussion.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby at the Great Place to Work Conference in Dallas, TX2