Surveys are tricky things. The answers we get depend on the questions we ask. And the thing about engagement surveys is that they don't allow for individual input – well not the one's I've seen.
I think engagement surveys are a good thing from both the organization's point of view, and the employee's point of view if the organization takes sincere action based on the results. But here's where I think they fall short: They certainly take the pulse of an employee's level of engagement, but they don't really get to the heart of why the employee is answering the way they do – good or bad. They don't reveal the emotion. For example, one organization I worked at was doing the usual annual engagement survey. If I recall, one of the questions asked
whether the employee en
joyed coming to work in the morning. I replied “no.” That may or may not tell the employer much. I could be replying “no” because I'd rather be travelling or doing my hobbies even though I might quite like my work. The reality in my case was otherwise. I recall the sense of anxiety I used to feel on a Sunday about going to work on the Monday. I recall on a day going to work in tears. The survey didn't get anywhere near surfacing those emotions, and emotion is a big part of engagement (or disengagement ,as the case may be). That organization really needed to know what it was doing wrong to make an employee feel that way. And that's where engagement surveys fall short. They read the pulse but not the heart, and in so doing leave a lot of valuable data on the table.
Tags: employee engagement, employer brand, outsidein, outsidein communications