Stop annual employee engagement surveys now and do this instead

Written by Chris Schack Noesgaard on 12. March 2018 . POSTED IN employee engagement . Leave a Comment

Employee engagement as a term was coined back in 1990 by Kahn and since then more and more companies have measured employee engagement. Gallup spearhedeaded the measurements with their Q12 measurements in the early 90ies. And with the emergence of survey technologies like SurveyMonkey it was now possible for anyone to make an employee engagement survey.


Many companies still kling on to the annual employee engagement survey. They do it because employee engagement is an important indicator of business performance, and because they have always done it like this. Typically it's a heavy process that includes 30-50 questions with a timeline like this:

  • August - HR prepares the questions (sometimes together with expensive consultants)
  • September - employees answer the questions
  • October - the data is consolidated and analyzed by HR (and sometimes expensive consultants)
  • November - the data is presented to management (sometimes by expensive consultants)
  • December - the results are being presented to the team leaders and employees

But hey wait a minute - that means that the results could be 4 months old before actions are taken! 4 months is a long time in 2018, and often the organisation is not the same at the time of survey and results. A typical objection is that Jane stopped and Joe started since the survey so we can not use the results.

Employee engagement is a critical indicator for business performance, and there is a clear link between engaged employees and company performance. And yet many companies still only measure it annually. What if you only got sales data on a yearly basis with 4 months delay? No CEO or sales manager would accept that, but when it comes to people data that's apparantly still ok in many companies.

"What if you only got sales data on a
yearly basis with 4 months of delay?"

I have taken my fair share of engagement surveys in my career - both as employee, leader and as HR profesional. I truly believe in measuring employee engagement, but I have never understood why the process should be so heavy that it could only be executed once a year for the following reasons:

  • The time lag between survey and results diminishes the value of the data.
  • Employees tend to answer what's top of mind on the day of the survey - not representing the full year.
  • The anonymity makes it very difficult for leaders to follow-up.
  • It requires a lot of resources from management, HR and employees to make the questions, answer the questions, and follow-up on the questions.

Should you stop measuring employee engagement then? No, by no means should you stop measuring one of the most important KPI's you have. Instead find a simple solution that measures employee engagement frequently and simply. 

There are plenty of providers out there, and most likely they are much cheaper than your current employee engagement survey vendor. And if you combine it with a process for regular employee and leader 1:1 meetings you are good to go!

At Adapto we have integrated a simple and frequent check-in feature in our digital assistant, which also provides bespoke recommendations and learning material so you can act on the data. It looks like this:

Engagement smiley.png


Get started for free now

There are also plenty of other solutions on the market depending on your specific needs and requirements. If you are purely looking for engagement surveys tools you can check these providers out.

Peakon - if you are looking for frequent surveys and lots of data then Peakon is a cheap and well proven solution.

TinyPulse - great frequent surveys and all the data you can imagine and with a fun peer recognition feature.

SurveyMonkey - the mother of all online surveys which you can setup as you like. Free to get started, but pricing excalates quickly.

Happy surveying!

Tags: employee engagement