21st Century HR: Engagement surveys – is there any point?

Jane Sunley, best-selling business author and Founder of Purple Cubed

Some organisations put time and energy into involving everyone in filling out a survey and then do comparatively little with the results. Seem unlikely? It happens all the time. Of course people are busy. And you can’t please everybody all of the time. However, going to the effort of involving everyone in a survey and then failing to deliver on the outcomes is worse than never doing one at all.

In today’s fast and frantic world where information flow is constant, people don’t have time to read masses of stats and feedback, let alone think about, and decide what best to do with these data outcomes. Never mind deliver on it.


1.   Think about the context – the why; what outcomes are required and manageable

2.   Keep it brief and clear – it’s easy to write a survey of 60 questions; it takes real skill to design one with 10 killer ones

3.   Put together a great comms plan explaining the context (Why? “What’s in it for me?”)

4.   Manage expectations so that people aren’t anticipating a quick fix for all their woes

5.   Make sure leaders and others maintain visible enthusiasm for it, reminding people to respond

6.   Deal with the outcomes fast, summarise and prioritise (quick wins, medium term, long term, never)

7.   Communicate the actions to be taken as a result with timescales and other key information (keeping it simple and manageable to evolve it later)

8.   If you can’t deliver on something that is obviously an issue for people, be honest and transparent about why

9.   Deliver on your actions plan (under-promise and over deliver)

10. Repeat or use simple ‘pulse surveys’ (such as those included in our own Talent Toolbox™ system) to check and report on progress

Bonus tip: Make sure your survey can be completed on a smartphone

2016-08-22T13:32:44+00:00 August 22nd, 2016|