Is the staff engagement survey dead?

How many times have you been asked to like, comment or rate something in the last 24 hours? It’s almost impossible to visit a website, stay in a hotel, eat a meal or buy a book without being invited to give feedback.

The reason for these constant requests for your views and opinion is obvious. Data on what we think means products, services and marketing messages can be finely tuned for maximum impact. Better insight, if used correctly, means better decisions.staff-survey

The danger is we quickly tire at what journalist William Grimes calls these ‘relentless tugs on the sleeve’. Giving feedback has to be quick and easy – we lead busy lives. And, timeliness is everything. Our inclination to rant or rave about our holiday resort fades as quickly as our suntans.

But if sharing our views is timely, engaging and worthwhile, this reinforces a positive experience or counters a negative one. You really care what I think.

Contrast this with the feedback we request from employees, which for some organisations still means running the annual all-staff engagement survey – an approach that hasn’t changed much since the 1950s. Could we be researching the views of our people in a more timely, engaging and effective way? Is the data we receive a valuable tool driving the decision-making process? On first blush, it seems we might be missing a trick.

To investigate the issue further, we are conducting research with HR and communication professionals across the UK. Our aim is to identify best practice in gaining feedback from employees. What are the strengths and weaknesses of traditional methods, like engagement surveys? What other methods are supporting or replacing this approach?

If you commission or help run staff feedback or measurement initiatives, please get in touch. The research involves a confidential interview, which we’ll arrange face-to-face or over the phone. Everyone taking part in the research will receive a complimentary copy of our final report.

Please email emma.williamson@abcomm.co.uk or call on 07720 637948 if you would like to take part.

To read more from Katie Macaulay on the trends facing employee communications, her book From Cascade to Conversation is now available on Amazon

By Katie Macaulay, managing director, AB.

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