Measuring Engagement: Use a vendor or do it yourself?

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So you’ve made the decision to undertake an employee engagement survey. Congratulations! You’re about to take the first step in maximizing your organization’s performance. Measuring the levels of engagement in your workforce will go a long way towards helping you identify your key strengths and top areas for improvement.

The next step is to decide if you want to create your own survey in-house, or if you want to hire a third-party vendor.

Creating your survey in-house

Surveys take a lot of knowledge, time and effort, but if you have the expertise, skills and time to devote to the initiative, it is possible to do the survey on your own. You need to consider every element of the survey process, and be prepared for what’s involved at each step.

•    Identify the goals of your survey

•    Choose the right questions and ensure they are phrased appropriately

•    Choose the right response scale

•    Design the questionnaire

•    Test the questionnaire for validity and reliability

•    Get buy-in from management and a commitment to participate

•    Program, host and anonymously collect survey feedback (surveys generate a large amount of data which can be overwhelming if you’re not used to working with this kind of information)

•    Answer questions from respondents

•    Clean the data and analyze the results

•    Summarize the results into a report that can be used to communicate with management and staff

•    Present the results and answer questions

•    Develop action plans

•    Follow up on recommendations

If any of the above tasks are beyond what your organization is capable of, you might want to consider working with a professional survey partner. If you don’t properly design, deploy or analyze your survey, you can taint the validity of all the data obtained and negate all of your hard work.

Choosing a professional survey partner

Choosing a professional survey partner has many benefits. Not only do they do all the heavy lifting when it comes to designing and deploying the survey, but they oversee all of the details to ensure the survey process is successful from beginning to end.

A professional survey partner will:

•    Help you get executive buy-in on doing the survey, building an action plan, and staying committed to implementing improvements

•    Design a questionnaire that measures what you want to know and leads to results you can act upon

•    Administer the survey to participants either online and/or on paper

•    Collect, analyze and synthesize the results into a meaningful report(s) based on your needs

•    Compare your organization’s results to recent benchmark data of companies of your size and/or industry sector (may only be available from leading vendors)

•    Interpret and communicate survey results to all levels of the organization

•    Give you practical recommendations for making positive changes and following up on results

•    Maintain survey and response confidentiality according to the Council of American Research Organizations’ code of standards and ethics (this is key!)

The bottom line on surveys

The objective of any employee engagement survey is to get candid feedback from employees. Using a third-party survey provider adds a level of confidentiality and anonymity that has shown to increase response rates as much as 40%, and encourage honest and open feedback from employees.

For a do-it-yourself online engagement survey tool that combines the flexibility of a DIY solution with the credibility of a proven questionnaire, try TalentGage Online for FREE. To learn more about how a survey partner can help, contact Sean Fitzpatrick at or 613-248-3417, ext. 501.  


About the Author:

As President and founder of TalentMap, Sean Fitzpatrick has helped many leading public and private sector organizations maximize engagement and boost productivity through TalentMap’s integrated employee feedback system.

TalentMap offers ‘off the shelf’ and ‘custom-designed’ employee engagement solutions that foster continual improvement within your organization.

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