Derek Bishop


Surveying sentiment

Date added: 24th Nov 2014
Category: Employee Engagement

Looking at the use of surveys as part of an employee engagement policy

When we talk, think and read about employee engagement, one of the continuing themes is the usefulness, or otherwise, of engagement surveys.   It’s easy to see why.  For far too many organisations the engagement survey is at best an annual tick box exercise which can actually lead to worsening levels of engagement as little or no follow up signals a general contempt for employee views.

In our view engagement is an ongoing process which takes in a range of qualitative and quantative sources but within that process surveys do have their place, particularly if the findings are acted upon.  In fact, the importance of using multiple sources of data to build a rounded picture is not just confined to employee engagement but applies across the business spectrum as a recent Bank of England speech illustrated.  The speech, given by Ian McCafferty, External Member of the MPC was entitled “The use of business intelligence in monetary policy.”  Although the speech was aimed at growing an understanding of the process which enables policy makers such as the MPC to better understand the economy it contains some useful nuggets of information for all those who seek to understand the potential to be gained from surveys and other sources.

In his introduction, Ian McCafferty commented that “To be in the best position to make informed policy decisions it is necessary to go beyond the official sources and supplement their data with other forms of intelligence, including business surveys and other qualitative data.” Headline comments include the fact that survey data provides additional coverage, provides narrative and can be more timely but he also highlights the fact that “Surveys are qualitative, but have quantitative applications” and that “softer questions about people’s intentions, confidence and expectations can act as a cross-check on the output from economic models and help shape the policy narrative.”

Just as every organisation is different, so too should businesses look to create individual solutions for organisational issues including employee engagement.  By leveraging all of the information available, the chances of success are more assured but only if the information gathered is acted upon in a timely manner.

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