Employee surveys and employee engagement

“What gets measured gets done” but just “weighing the pig doesn’t make it fatter”.

This well known saying is consistently raised in the endless debates on whether measuring employee engagement with surveys helps, hinders or is completely irrelevant to improving engagement.

However before we get onto addressing this topic let’s start first by defining what exactly we mean by employee engagement?

In brief it firstly means employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values. Next it means they are motivated to contribute to organisational success.

And finally it means they are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of wellbeing.

3 key questions before running employee surveys

  1. The first question for you as a business owner is – is it important for the success of my business that my employees are committed, motivated and can also enhance their wellbeing? If the answer is “Yes” then carry on reading.
  2. The next question is – does it feel different around the office lately? Has employee motivation and commitment changed? If the answer is “Yes” then carry on reading.
  3. The third question is – have you asked your employees why things have changed?

If the answer is still “Yes” and they couldn’t articulate what has changed, then you could benefit from running an employee survey. Don’t worry though. You don’t have to spend thousands of pounds hiring a consultant. There are free surveys on the Internet you can use.

SurveyMonkey has one for example as does the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation.

These surveys have a number of questions that you can use with your employees to get closer to any issues. But the survey in itself will not give you the answer – the pig won’t get fatter just by measuring it!

What gets measured gets done

Now you have to do something about it so that what gets measured gets done. Share the results with your employees, and listen to their reactions. Ask questions that invite them to share more details with you; “Tell me more” and “what do you mean by…” are usually helpful to dig deeper.

And finally the most important part of this process – agree actions that will make a difference. Actions that will improve your team’s motivation and commitment.

That is how you will fatten the pig and grow your business with your best growth strategy – your employees.


Ana Herrera is an HR engagement, culture and change specialist and graduate of London Business School.

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