How to prepare your business and its employees for an employee engagement survey

A successful employee engagement survey starts with good internal communication. How you let staff know a survey is coming has a huge impact on the outcome – whether employees decide to fill it in and whether they provide honest feedback. So it’s important to get it right. Your internal comms strategy provides the opportunity to get employees excited and engaged in the process. The more transparent you are, the more trust is built and the higher the completion rate. 


How should I communicate to staff? 

Every business is different and will have their own preferred communication methods. At WeThrive we provide a variety of resources to help, including posters, email templates and videos.

In an office, short videos are great for sharing online across comms channels. But in retail stores where employees are offline the majority of the time, posters can have more of an impact. So think about your work environment and which methods will help communicate your message most effectively. 

It’s also a good idea to nominate some local champions across the business, we call them WeThrive ambassadors. Take the time to educate your champions about why you are running your survey. They can help spread the word amongst employees on why it’s important to take part in the survey. Things won’t change unless they tell you what needs improving!

We recommend 3 stages of pre-survey comms:

  1. An initial teaser – let employees know a survey is coming soon
  2. Full survey comms – a formal brief with details of the survey (including what, why, when, where, how)
  3. Pre-survey reminder – let employees know the survey will be launching imminently so to look out for it. 


Checklist – things to cover in your comms

  1. What you’re measuring and why?

It’s important employees understand what employee engagement is and what happens when everyone is engaged at work (the positive impact of an engaged workforce e.g. increased productivity, wellbeing)

  1. How the survey helps you solve challenges

Explain what measuring engagement allows the organisation to do and how the outcomes will impact employee’s own experiences at work. 

Get employees excited about giving feedback! If you’ve run a survey before how much action did you take on the results and what impact did these actions have on employees daily working lives and also the business? 

If people feel like their opinion counts they’ll be more inclined to keep giving it to you. 

  1. What you need employees to do

Let employees know it’s important they take part and share their views. The more people participate, the more representative the results and the more impact they can have. Encourage openness and get ahead of any trust issues. 

Otherwise, people may resist giving honest opinions for fear of retribution. 

Make sure staff are aware that all feedback will be taken in a positive light and used to make improvements rather than point the finger/play the blame game. 

  1. What can employees expect in return

Engagement surveys require give and take. If you want employees to take the time to give their feedback, they need to know what’s in it for them and that the organisation is listening. 

Share the timeline for what will happen post-survey, how they will be kept in the loop and highlight the benefits of taking part to each employee. 

  1. Prepare employees for action

It’s important employees know that action will happen off the back of the survey. Time after time, companies ask for feedback and do nothing with it meaning employees lose trust in the process. Give employees an idea of how and when you will share the results and the plan for acting on feedback once the survey has closed. 


Keep communicating once the survey is open

Communication shouldn’t stop just because the survey is live. It’s important to keep the momentum going to get as many completions as possible.

There will be occasions where people lose their survey link or think they’ll come back to it but forget all about it. So it’s important to provide reminders throughout the survey to those who haven’t completed it. We recommend using auto-reminders to nudge people via email. 

Throughout the survey, involve the managers and send them 2 updates about completions in their team so they can encourage their team members to complete. 

We also suggest providing a final day reminder for anyone who hasn’t got round to it to let them know it’s their final chance to have their say.  

Want to know more? View our webinar: ‘Eight essential steps to running a successful employee engagement survey.’

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