Monday, September 8, 2008

13 "Must Haves" for Employee Surveys

According to, the use of employee surveys is trending upward. The following examples demonstrate real financial impact of strong employee engagement:

  • Data from Best Buy shows that stores where employee engagement increased by a tenth of a point (on a five-point scale) experienced a $100,000 increase in annual sales.

  • JC Penney has found that stores with top-quartile engagement scores generate roughly 10% more in sales per square foot than average and 36% more operating income than similar-sized stores in the lowest quartile.

So now that you see the WHY behind tracking employee engagement data, here are the 13 "Must Haves" when you start an employee engagement project:

  1. Shared goals-Make sure upper management is onboard with the idea and that the goal for everyone is continuous improvement

  2. PR-Communicate the upcoming survey to the employees explaining the reasons for the survey and to set expectations for the follow up of results, confidentiality, etc.

  3. Questions-Make sure you are prepared to take action based on the questions you ask. Even if that action is monitoring that question, make sure you know what you will be doing with the data.

  4. Delivery-Make sure respondents have access to the survey. Many times production and field workers do not have Internet access. Have paper copies available for those groups.

  5. Language-If you have multiple languages represented in your employee population consider survey translation. Meanings do get confused and you want to avoid survey error.

  6. Response rate-Monitor response rates and publish those to employees encouraging 100% participation.

  7. Data analysis-The data has to be analyzed in a way so that action can be taken. This means that the onion must be peeled back so that the data is meaningful to those taking action.

  8. Data story-DO NOT USE ENDLESS CHARTS AND GRAPHS. Tell an effective data story beginning with 2 killer slides that gets to the POINT in a succinct, understandable way. (see post: How to tell a GREAT data story)

  9. Communicate again-Be sure to discuss survey results with employees. Also, any action items that have been planned as a result of the data should be reported as well.

  10. Action planning-Don't stop the process after the last report out. Make sure you managers are involved with action planning to improve and/or maintain scores.

  11. Remeasure-After actions have been taken, go back and remeasure to track results

  12. Get predictive-Begin analyzing historical data and other relevant company data to be able to produce intelligence like Best Buys and JC Penny.

  13. Include engagement scores on HR scorecard and Company Scorecard

Action item: Talk to management about employee survey, 4th quarter 2008!

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