Could employee engagement be your secret weapon?

By Gary Cattermole, The Survey Initiative
We’ve all been through an unprecedented period. Some workers encountered the experience of being furloughed; others juggled working from home with childcare and home schooling; most gained a new perspective on the work-life balance.
Published in Essex Director magazine, Spring | Summer 2022
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Employee Research: The Survey Initiative

Post-pandemic, the return to a ‘new normal’ has brought its own challenges. Many employers wonder why it is currently so difficult to recruit and retain key staff.

One thing has not changed; employee engagement is vital. For employers, it’s essential to gauge how staff feel about many topics such as hybrid working, diversity, inclusion and a host of other workplace-specific issues.

Finger on the pulse

Undoubtedly, the best way to find out what people think is to ask them. This is best achieved by an employee engagement survey. One of the most effective is the pulse survey, involving a few key questions regularly asked to gauge feelings, examine issues, and track progress.

What you ask and how often depends on your organisational structure and workplace issues. There are some ‘off the shelf’ surveys, but potential respondents easily spot these as not relevant, achieving poor response rates with little data to analyse. On the other hand, a tailored survey will always yield a far better response rate (we’re used to around 84%), which will produce plentiful data and, ultimately, provide you with a far clearer direction for forward planning.

How do you know which questions to ask? Our approach is always to consult the people you want to survey. They know their issues, though they can’t necessarily say how widespread their sentiments are. A carefully crafted employee engagement survey can measure the strength and breadth of feeling across the entire organisation, often pinpointing the source of issues, and helping to identify the steps needed to achieve progress.

Your survey should involve every level of your organisation, from the board to the coalface. We help the HR Manager position the survey in advance, so everyone knows this will result in positive change. Fundamentally, people understand that they will be heard and taken notice of. The survey must come from the employer’s genuine desire to create a more sympathetic workplace – whether that means a return to the physical workplace, working from home, or a hybrid arrangement.

Shortening the working week

One workplace wellbeing trend gathering huge momentum is the four-day week. We’ve introduced it ourselves. The concept is simple; work 20% more effectively four days a week and take the fifth day to do other things. These may include volunteering, relaxing, pursuing a hobby, childcare, meeting up with friends and family, attending appointments or receiving deliveries – without eating into your annual leave.

With increased wellbeing and a better work-life balance, experience demonstrates that the work still gets done, as people are more focused, productive and engaged.  

Whatever your workplace issues may be, in building the strongest and most engaged teams for business, the altruistic employer who can demonstrate that they are truly listening, will always have the edge.


Could employee engagement be your secret weapon? 1

Gary Cattermole is a Director of The Survey Initiative.

Contact the company at:
T: 01255 870735
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