The 7 steps to a successful engagement survey

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An employee survey isn’t just a series of checkboxes or meaningless questions. It’s an important undertaking that requires a solid plan of action. Through our 12 years of experience, we’ve perfected a 7-step survey process that will ensure your project runs smoothly and produces results that you can use to improve your organization.

1.    Preparing for action: Before you begin the survey, you must plan out every aspect of the project.

•    Goals – what do you want to get out of the survey? Does it fit into your long-term plans?

•    Roles – who will be involved, at what stage, and what will be expected of them?

•    Timing – when is the best time to launch the survey to ensure a full commitment from all levels of the organization?

•    Resources – do you have the necessary people, power and other resources to see the survey project through to completion, and beyond?

2.    Designing your survey: Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you’re ready to start designing your survey.

•    Validity & Reliability – have the survey questions been tested for validity and reliability?

•    Customization – do you need to customize the questions or wording?

•    Length – what is the optimal number of questions to ask?

•    Languages – will the survey be offered in other languages?

3.    Spreading the word: A communication plan ensures that employees are aware of and feel comfortable with the survey, its goals, timelines, key messages, and commitment to following through on results.

•    Promotion – how will you promote the survey? Considerations could include posters, FAQ documents, executive memos, newsletters, town hall and staff meetings, PowerPoint presentations, and email reminders.

4.    Launching your survey: You’re now ready to launch your survey.

•    Survey Access – how will employees access the survey? Online through a unique link, on paper, by phone or using a kiosk?

•    Survey Period – how long will the survey be open for participation?

•    Ongoing Promotion – How will you keep the survey top of mind to raise response rates? Launch meetings, email countdowns, internal contests, incentives, manager promotion or a designated survey time can all help raise participation.

5.    Analyzing your results: It’s time to crunch numbers and start making sense of all the valuable information you’ve collected.

•    Presenting Data – how can you present the data to ensure clarity and that key results are highlighted?

•    Comments – what insight can you glean from candid comments?

6.    Reporting results: It`s important to communicate the results to the entire organization.

•    Approach - how will you communicate, review and discuss the results at each level of the organization?

•    Reports - what types of reports will be most useful to your organization?

•    Timing – how and when will you communicate and discuss results?

7.    Developing action plans: Implementing change is where a lot of organizations drop the ball. The key to success is deciding, up front, how the organization will incorporate the results into its operational decision making.

•    Focus Groups – use focus groups to uncover the root causes or get more detail on identified issues.

•    Prioritize – use executive planning sessions to categorize and prioritize improvements.

•    Implementation – develop concrete action plans that outline the changes you are going to make, the timelines, who will be responsible and the resources required.

To help get your questions answered and learn more about how to conduct a successful survey, get your FREE copy of the go-to resource on the topic, “Employee Engagement for Dummies”, or 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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