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Chuck Out Your Engagement Survey

Published by Jenny Winspear,

12 May 2022

Engagement surveys are old news. Who even understands what ‘engagement’ means these days? For a lot of businesses, engagement surveys have become nothing more than a tick box exercise to say, ‘yes, we measure our employee engagement.’ And employees know it. Research suggests that only 18% of employees strongly believe that engagement survey results will be acted upon.

Often, businesses find it hard to understand what their engagement survey results are actually telling them, or how to translate the results into meaningful action. It regularly then falls to HR to try and produce a solution, when actually in most cases, the people who will have the farthest reach into the organisation (and therefore can make the most impactful change) are managers themselves. Managers need visibility on results and need to understand what is being measured and why, so that they can think about what action to take.

Reposition and Respond

This is not to say that you should stop surveying your workforce all together. On the contrary, anonymous surveys are a critical way to gather data that you need to respond to issues you may not even know you had. But the time has come to reposition the way we think about employee engagement and become more agile in how and why we survey the workforce.

How ‘Well’ is Your Workforce?

Let us turn for a moment to employee wellbeing. How ‘well’ your workforce and employees are will directly impact your bottom line, including their levels of productivity, their likelihood to leave, their motivation to achieve, and their engagement with the work they are doing. An employee who is happy and healthy will bring their best selves to work, and the organisation will get much more out of them because of it. If you overlay personal wellbeing with organisational practices that prioritise wellbeing, you will start to see the many happy returns that wellbeing has to offer, including increased engagement, productivity, retention, and brand attraction. People will feel more loyal to their workplace, they will feel more aligned to the purpose of their job, and the organisation itself not only becomes more values driven, but also demonstrates a duty of care. A Gallup survey investigated what employees look for in their employer, and the number one thing that Gen Z and Millennials want, is an organisation that cares about employee wellbeing. Understandably, people want to work for companies that care how they are doing.

Going back to how we survey the workforce then, engagement still has its place, but re-focusing on wellbeing can help you get to the heart of the matter first. Once you start to measure wellbeing, you can start to see the correlations between initiatives you put in place to improve wellbeing and bottom-line measures such as productivity and engagement.

Wellbeing Drives Purpose

Wellbeing is meaningful to employees, it drives purpose, it is easier to understand, it can often be the root cause of any issues that an engagement survey would highlight. If the people in your organisation aren’t healthy, both physically and emotionally, then the changes you put in place to drive engagement will often fall flat.

The Key Takeaways:

  • Chuck out your engagement survey, but replace it with a survey that measures wellbeing to get to what is often the root cause of the issue;

  • For more impactful change, get managers involved: give them visibility over results and make sure they understand what is being measured so they can think of ways to respond;

  • Focus on improving wellbeing to see improvements in engagement, productivity, retention, and attraction, leading you to being a more purpose driven and ethical organisation.

It is time to revolutionise the way we listen to the employee voice: make it more meaningful to both employees and managers and get to the heart of the issue by putting wellbeing first.

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Company culture and wellbeing have rocketed up the strategic priority list – and for good reason. Jenny Winspear, COO of ground-breaking wellbeing technology ‘MyAnova’, had this article featured in Business Brief Magazine.

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