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Turn Insight Into Action With Employee Engagement Surveys

April 4, 2024
9 min read

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This post about the value of leveraging employee engagement surveys and acting on their feedback was first published in October 2020. It was updated in April 2024 with new information.

Your employees’ engagement level resonates throughout the business. It affects employees’ effort and efficiency, which then impacts productivity and work quality. Employees’ experience at work even affects the customer experience. It’s also one of the top reasons they choose to leave a job — twice as many people quit due to issues with engagement and company culture as did for better pay and benefits.

With so much riding on your employee engagement strategy, your team needs actionable insights so your HR team can accurately determine the best possible approach for your company. You need to understand current levels of engagement and overall job satisfaction, not to mention, their opinions about hybrid work policies or diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) efforts. One way to do that is by getting employee feedback via employee engagement surveys.

🚀 Unlock the power of employee engagement surveys! Use employee feedback to create a game plan for improving engagement. Learn how HR can turn insights into action with these 6 steps:

Employee surveys include everything from one-question pulse surveys answered on a rating scale to more in-depth surveys on a specific topic made up of open-ended questions. Regardless of the surveys you send, the key to a successful strategy — and improving employee engagement — is taking action on what you learn.

Read on to learn how you can:

  • Leverage employee surveys as a tool for your engagement strategy
  • Stay on top of dynamic employee engagement
  • Ensure your employees’ voices are heard consistently
  • Create a real-time feedback loop for employees and management alike
  • Make the business case for employee engagement and feedback
  • Drill down into feedback to make actionable choices for your workforce

The Value of Employee Engagement Surveys

Feeling like their opinions count at work is one of the key indicators of employee engagement. Surveying your employees regularly and at crucial milestones and communicating how you’ll enact those changes not only builds trust, it starts a conversation aimed at continuous improvement.

The most well-known employee engagement survey is the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) survey. It’s a one-question survey that asks employees to read a statement and indicate their level of agreement with that statement on a scale of zero to ten:

“How likely are you to recommend us as a place to work for your family and friends?”

While your eNPS score gives you a high-level overview of employee happiness, more targeted employee engagement survey questions provide more actionable insights. Your surveys might ask for feedback about a specific policy, experience, or topic:

  • Employee well-being and mental health
  • Onboarding/new hire experience
  • Offboarding experience
  • Remote or hybrid work environment
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) policies

You can also create custom surveys to ask about topics specific to your workplace or dive deeper into what drives employee engagement at your organization.

Tracking and responding to employee feedback in real time improves business results and workplace culture —and we have data to back that up. It’s no wonder more companies are prioritizing employee listening strategies. Here’s what we know for sure:

  • Sending surveys and not acting on the results can do more harm than good.
  • When employers assume what their employees want, they’re often wrong. For example, one survey found that while employers assumed their people would prefer enhanced health and dental benefits, HSAs, and charitable contributions, employees actually preferred compensation and 401(k) match increases.
  • Organizations with highly engaged employees outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share and have a 21% higher profitability rate and 25% lower turnover.
  • Annual engagement surveys are not enough. 68% of companies ask employees for feedback more than once a year.
  • 75% of CHROs say improving employee experience and company culture is a top priority in 2024.

Those aren’t the only reasons to ask for employee feedback. There are many more benefits to using a digital survey tool:

  • Measure how employees are feeling and let them know their opinions are valued. When industry and workforce trends are changing on a dime, annual surveys may no longer be useful or valid. Your employees need to understand you are listening right now to what is happening inside your employees' lives and inside the (figurative) company walls.
  • Provides a real-time vehicle for honest and anonymous employee feedback. Not all feedback is pleasant, and you may receive some feedback that requires immediate action and improvement. Don't be discouraged — you want honest feedback. Create your surveys to elicit honest answers, and ask your workforce to share any solutions they might have.
  • Identifies trends and areas for improvement. You can't manage what you don't measure. If you are unaware of a problem, you cannot address it. Further, when you can show a clear trend or fissure in the organization, you are more likely to get some authority to fix that problem or leverage it for improvement.
  • Informs leadership and managers. Every person in your organization needs feedback, and managers are no exception. Let's not forget they're also working to keep people motivated and moving forward, despite uncertainty. When you give them more information, you better equip them to engage their teams.
  • Enables proactive responses when issues arise. Once you've begun your employee engagement survey program, you'll start to see issues before they arise. This helps you proactively manage small problems before they turn into large ones. You can see results, spot trends, and act on findings.
  • Increases employee trust, retention, and engagement. It’s hard to continue working at your peak productivity if you feel your voice and opinions don’t matter. When employees are engaged in giving and getting feedback and know their issues and concerns are being taken seriously, they have more emotional energy available to devote to their daily work.

Whether you approach employee engagement surveys from an anecdotal and instinctive perspective or look at the cold, hard facts above, it’s clear that surveys are a smart and effective way to improve your organization. Now is the time to put employee experience and engagement at the top of your priority list.

📊 Dive into the data! Discover how to analyze employee survey results and create a roadmap for success.

6 Steps Turn Survey Responses Into a Game Plan

Now that you understand the power of collecting employee feedback, let’s look at six steps to turn that feedback into a plan of action.

1. Analyze the Survey Data

The first step toward creating your game plan is to look at the survey responses so you can start to see any patterns or trends. If your team is using employee engagement software, analyzing your survey data gets a whole lot easier. The software automatically aggregates responses into neat, easy-to-read reports that help you understand workforce sentiment. Depending on the survey’s anonymity level, your HR team can filter the data by department, role, or office location or look at individual responses for more insight.

2. Pinpoint Key Takeaways

Now that you’ve analyzed the data and generated reports, it’s time to shift focus to defining the key findings of your survey. You’re looking for recurring themes or opinions expressed by many employees so you can identify both strengths and areas for improvement. If your priority is cultivating higher employee engagement at work, you want to prioritize areas with the most significant impact on engagement.

For example, imagine you want to fight rising new hire turnover at your company. You decide to send a 10-question onboarding survey to a group of 15 new hires in which they rate their level of agreement with a given statement on a scale of one to five. When you analyzed their responses, you saw that nine of them rated the following statement a one or two, indicating disagreement or strong disagreement:

“My onboarding goals were clearly defined and communicated.”

Goals and engagement are closely linked, and the pattern you see here could be causing your rising new hire turnover rate. This feedback from your employees makes it clear there’s an issue to address within your onboarding process rather than leaving you guessing about why new hires are quitting.

For some surveys, you might even conduct follow-up discussions to delve deeper into issues and gather additional insights that weren’t captured in the survey responses.

3. Create a Roadmap

Now, it’s time for action planning. You need to create a plan and define what you’ll do to address employees’ feedback. That may involve changing policies, introducing new processes, or providing resources to support your initiatives. A roadmap with clear goals and strategies is a guide that helps your team steer its strategy toward enhancing employee engagement.

In the example from step two, the survey responses made it clear that a lack of clear onboarding goals was an issue for new hires. There are many ways you could address this, including:

  • Asking hiring managers to set three to five goals for new hires to complete in their first 90 days and communicate those goals clearly from day one
  • Including a few administrative HR goals in all new hire onboarding plans to complete during the first week, e.g., setting up direct deposit or completing required employee training courses online
  • Creating an agenda for new hires’ first one-on-one with their manager that includes time for setting onboarding goals

4. Share What You Learned

Share the results of your survey far and wide with everyone relevant, whether that’s with the entire department, the whole project team, or your immediate team members. You might share overall engagement levels at a company-wide level — both to celebrate wins and to acknowledge areas for growth. Transparency shows that you value employees’ opinions and care about improving. Encourage people to talk about what they think of the results to help reinforce a culture of honesty and trust.

5. Set Your Plan in Motion

Once you've made your plan, it's time to set it in motion. Assign responsibilities and set deadlines to ensure accountability and progress. Make sure everyone understands what they need to accomplish, and then check in regularly to keep deadlines on track and adjust your plan as needed. Staying flexible and adaptable as you go along will help you succeed.

6. Sustain Engagement Over Time

Employee engagement is a long-term process — in fact, it’s ongoing. Don’t let your engagement strategy stagnate. Continuously measure and monitor engagement with regular surveys. You’ll create a treasure trove of historical engagement data that can inform more effective strategies, enabling your team to address issues early and respond to employees’ changing needs.

As you better understand your employees’ perspectives through their feedback, you’ll discover the engagement strategies that work best for them. Surveys will also make it clear when your action plans work, positively impacting engagement. They enable you to align your engagement strategy with employees’ needs and stay agile, adapting your approach to what’s happening now. You’ll be able to stay on top of how they’re feeling and the factors that are engaging or detracting from engagement.

Employee Engagement Surveys by ClearCompany

ClearCompany’s Employee Surveys, available in our Employee Engagement platform, can help you access the insights you’re missing to create your own engagement action plan. We have the tools you need to understand employee feedback and take action to engage your people:

  • Kick off a new survey cycle with our pre-built templates. Send a simple eNPS survey or cover topics including onboarding, offboarding, emotional well-being, and more. Template questions are expert-designed to ensure unbiased, insightful, and actionable survey results.
  • Stay on top of your eNPS by setting regular survey cycles that initiate and send automatically, including reminder email notifications.
  • Managers can match employee sentiments captured through ClearCompany with performance data so you can understand the feedback of your high, medium, and low performers.
  • Our Surveys suite offers insightful reports and drill-down analytics capabilities, so you can quickly filter results, easily track trends, and spot issues.
  • Build your own survey from scratch to gather feedback on a topic or issue specific to your workplace.
  • Survey results are delivered through real-time analytics and reporting, helping your team devise targeted strategies and prove their efficacy.
  • Our surveys are mobile-friendly, so your employees can respond from anywhere.
  • Choose your anonymity settings for every survey. For some surveys, you might collect respondent contact information to discuss answers or address concerns directly. For others, you can guarantee anonymous responses.

Schedule a demo of ClearCompany’s award-winning Employee Engagement platform, built for HR professionals managing a modern workforce. Tour our Engagement Surveys and ask about our ecosystem of Talent Management solutions.

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