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July 22, 2020

Employee Engagement Surveys and COVID-19

An employee engagement survey is probably the last thing on your mind. But actually, is now the perfect time to take stock of the mood of your people?

How has COVID-19 affected the employee experience? Why should you run an engagement survey? And how do you go about it? Keep reading to find out.

COVID-19 Employee Survey Findings

McKinsey recently surveyed more than 800 employees on a wide variety of topics related to the employee experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey found more than 80% of respondents say the crisis is materially affecting their daily work life. However, people have widely varied experiences, perspectives, and outcomes.

It also found that employees working remotely see more positive effects on their daily work, are more engaged, and have a stronger sense of wellbeing than those in non-remote jobs with little flexibility.

What’s more, parents working from home appear to be faring better than those who are more isolated. Also, fathers working remotely seem much more positive about the experience than mothers.

Why Run Engagement Surveys?

Do you know how engaged your employees are during this time? Changes are affecting your people in lots of different (and unexpected) ways. Employee engagement surveys can give an insight into a wide range of business issues and generate discussion about how to create a better workplace when people return from homeworking.

The 2009 MacLeod and Clarke review was commissioned by the Government to identify ways of improving productivity in the UK. It found that engagement can be key to unlocking productivity.

It says: “Employee engagement strategies enable people to be the best they can at work, recognising that this can happen only if they feel respected, involved, heard, well led and valued by those they work for and with… Engaged employees have a sense of personal attachment to their work and organisation; they are motivated and able to give their best to help it succeed”.

Key Benefits of Engaged Employees

Engaged staff are likely to:

  • Be highly motivated
  • Be united towards meeting the organisation’s goals
  • Put discretionary effort into their work
  • Be flexible and adaptable
  • Speak positively about the organisation
  • Be focused on excellent customer service

Improving Work-life After COVID-19

Conducting an employee engagement survey gives employers the opportunity to measure levels of employee engagement. It helps an organisation identify which aspects of work employees are positive about and which aspects they feel negative about. Plus, they can see what is influencing engagement levels.

The culture, structure and success factors are different in every organisation. Therefore, the combination of elements that create, drive and prevent engagement differs. However, some factors have an impact on engagement in most organisations, including:

  • Line management
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Training and development
  • Job content
  • Customer focus
  • Wellbeing
  • Fair treatment
  • Pay and benefits

How to Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey

If you decide to conduct an employee engagement survey, here’s what you need to communicate:

  1. The reasons why you’re conducting the survey, what you aim to gain from the exercise, how you will provide the results and what action you will take.
  2. How long it will take employees to complete the survey. The optimum time is ten to fifteen minutes – knowing it won’t take up too much of their time should encourage them to complete it.
  3. How long the survey is open and the deadline for completion.
  4. Provide details about the minimum number of employees that are needed in each team or demographic area in order to provide anonymous survey results (a minimum of 10 employees is normally required to provide a breakdown of results).
  5. An email address and/or telephone number to use if they have any queries or concerns about the survey.
  6. You may wish to offer a prize draw or charity donations as an incentive for completing the survey. If so, you should include this information in the survey communications.

Reporting on the Results of the Survey

Conducting an employee engagement survey is the first stage in improving employee engagement. You need to communicate the results of the survey to employees, so that they can see the value of the exercise and participate in making improvements.

Results should be presented to the following groups:

  • Overall organisation results should be presented to board members/key senior employees, to advise them of the key results. They should discuss the survey findings and identify priorities for action.
  • Overall organisation results should also be communicated to the whole organisation, for example via a company-wide meeting, to encourage employees to feel engaged with the process and understand the actions that the organisation will take on the results of the survey.
  • Line managers should receive an individual report on their team’s results (assuming the minimum number of responses was achieved to enable them to be fed back at this level). It is likely that line managers will need to be involved in action planning and taking improvement action.
  • Team results should be communicated to the relevant teams (assuming the minimum number of responses was achieved to enable them to be fed back at this level).
    • Employees may need to be involved in action planning and implementing these plans. The organisation should therefore give them the opportunity to feed back on the survey results, in a team meeting or other forum.
    • Employees should also have an opportunity to discuss which issues need to be addressed and what action would be most appropriate. Some employers give employees the opportunity to feed back on the results of the survey anonymously.

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About the author

Donna Chadbone

About the author

Donna Chadbone

Donna joined Moorepay in September 2008 and has worked with a range of clients from the engineering, aerospace, manufacturing, service, leisure, education, construction and care industries. During her career Donna has worked on an extensive range of generalist HR activities including recruitment and selection, performance management, disciplinaries, grievances, absence management and flexible working requests. As a field-based HR Consultant Donna provides specialist HR and Employment Law advice, consultancy, project delivery and training services to our clients. She primarily works with HR Managers, line managers and directors to support and guide them through HR best practice and employment law.

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