The ROI of Employee Engagement

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An often overlooked metric of employee engagement is whether or not they feel their feedback is truly wanted, heard, and valued.

In the larger landscape of American workplaces, only 30% of employees say their feedback is acted upon by the organization. This statistic is particularly disheartening when you consider that people are 12 times more likely to recommend their employer if they believe their feedback is being listened to. In this sense, ignoring your workforce’s feedback is damaging not only to employee engagement, but the influx of future talent, as well.

So how do we prove to our employees that we value their opinions? Start with pulse surveys.

Pulse surveys generally refer to any form of soliciting feedback that isn’t an annual/biannual engagement survey. Because they’re much more frequent than other questionnaires, pulse surveys are typically shorter and less time consuming, consisting of 5-10 questions that focus on a specific area of improvement. Their regular nature allows you to track changing engagement trends over time, and correlate improvements (or declines) with tangible actions you’ve taken.

Because organizations are changing every day, it’s critical to gather feedback in real time, identify obstacles as soon as they arise, and modify your strategies accordingly. In addition, pulse surveys demonstrate that you, as a leader, value your employees’ feedback and time equally.

However, there are a few pitfalls within pulse surveys to avoid in order to really see a return on investment in employee engagement.

As with other surveys, don’t bother asking for constructive criticism if you’re not prepared to receive it and incorporate it into your action planning.

If employees can’t see a noticeable change at some level based on their feedback, they’ll feel less incentive to offer it in the first place. To that end, be sure to ask the right questions.

Asking certain questions that target a specific blindspot will leave little room for potential confusion, and help you get the most out of your pulse survey.

Finally, strike a balance between conducting pulse surveys on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, etc.) and a frustratingly frequent basis (daily, weekly, etc.). If pulse surveys are conducted too often, they can easily lead to survey fatigue, which in turn can lead to less effective feedback.

With all this in mind, it should be noted that pulse surveys should accompany—and not replace—main employee engagement surveys. Pulse surveys are most successful as small, meaningful gestures that signal to your team that you hold their experiences in high regard, rather than the foundation on which you anchor your entire engagement strategy.

If you’re looking to see a greater ROI on employee engagement, start with recognizing this: measuring and quantifying engagement cannot be an afterthought. It has to be a priority from the outset, and a continued concern throughout an organization’s trajectory.

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