A Complete Guide to Employee Engagement Survey Analysis

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A Complete Guide to Employee Engagement Survey Analysis

Conducting a thorough employee engagement survey analysis is essential for improving engagement and the employee experience at your organization and driving the business forward. 

In this article, we’ll explore why analyzing employee surveys is so crucial and offer a step-by-step guide on how to analyze employee engagement survey results to effectively create positive changes and improvements across your business. 

Creating and distributing a survey requires valuable resources, which is why data must be meticulously analyzed, reported on, and acted upon.

What is employee engagement and why is it important?
What is the goal of employee engagement survey analysis?
What are the challenges of analyzing employee surveys?
How to analyze employee engagement survey results

What is employee engagement and why is it important?

Employee engagement refers to how happy, motivated, and satisfied an employee is in their role at work. According to Gallup, engaged employees outperform unengaged employees by a staggering 147%, hence why monitoring and improving employee engagement plays a vital role in the success of any organization. An engaged employee is likely to be more productive, positive, and committed to their work and go above and beyond their job description.

What is the goal of employee engagement survey analysis?

An employee engagement survey is designed to measure employee engagement across an organization’s workforce through a series of questions. The results from these surveys will provide honest, valuable insight into how your employees feel, think, and behave at work over a period of time across departments, branches, and roles. 

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An anonymous survey is the best way to get a real handle on how engaged your employees are. It will often reveal opinions or attitudes that they may be hesitant to share with managers and leaders out of fear that this may be used against them and affect their career progression.

Conducting a survey also helps your employees feel heard and understood. However, it is not enough to simply conduct a survey. According to research by TINYpulse, only 25% of employees believe their organization takes effective action based on the feedback they provide through surveys. This, in turn, can lead to increased disengagement, which has a knock-on effect on productivity and profits. 

Analyzing the data you collect from employee feedback helps you notice patterns, challenges, and problems which you can then find solutions to and implement across the organization. This data is highly valuable, but only if it’s collected and analyzed effectively and if action is taken. 

What are the challenges of analyzing employee surveys?

Although there are many benefits of analyzing employee surveys, it’s important to be aware of certain challenges. 

The first challenge is creating a survey with too many questions, which becomes overwhelming for the participants to complete. This can lead to a decrease in the accuracy of the results, which can mean you take actions that aren’t right for the organization.

The second challenge is when a survey has too many themes. This can make it hard to benchmark the data and lead to too many possible courses of action.

In the next section, we’ll explore how to overcome these potential challenges when conducting an employee engagement survey analysis. 

How to analyze employee engagement survey results

1. Start by designing your survey well

As mentioned above, if your survey has too many questions or is too great of a mix of question types, it can make it difficult to draw conclusions from the results. In addition, sending out an employee engagement survey once a year may not give you a clear picture of how your staff feels. Hence why sending shorter surveys more frequently is likely to be most effective.

Asking the right questions is key to collecting valuable, tangible data on employee perceptions that you can act upon. According to research by Visier, there are four factors that most consistently impact employee engagement. These are leadership, enablement, alignment, and development. Therefore, asking questions related to these factors could be an excellent place to begin designing your survey.

Here are some examples of effective survey questions:

  • I feel inspired and motivated by the vision of the organization
  • I have everything I need to perform well in my role
  • I know what I need to do to be successful at work
  • Do you get excited about going to work?
  • Would you recommend working at this organization to your personal network?
  • Do you enjoy working with your team?
  • Are you happy with the compensation and benefits you currently receive?

As you can see, some of these are questions, while others are statements. Both can be effective since responses can be obtained based on a numerical scale, e.g., on a scale of 1-5, how much do you agree or disagree with this statement? This is an example of a closed question because there is a finite number of potential answers. Open-ended employee engagement survey results, on the other hand, can produce a large volume of data that becomes far more difficult to analyze. 

2. Set clear goals

Before creating your survey, it’s essential to have clear goals and focus areas in mind and ensure the questions you choose help you fulfill these goals.

Take time to consider what the purpose of the survey is: 

  • What do you want to learn? 
  • What results do you hope to collect? 
  • What is the ultimate driving force behind the survey?
  • Why is this important to our organization and employees?

It’s also beneficial to look at past surveys and use these learnings to inform your next survey. 

  • What didn’t work last time? 
  • How can we do things more effectively this time? 
  • Are there any questions we included previously that we want to use again? 
  • Are there any questions we should eliminate?

As an HR team, it’s also essential that you consider what the rest of the organization is measuring. Although you may be focused on measures like turnover and time to hire, the business is concerned with sales, profits, customer and client satisfaction, etc. Be sure to know what your organization’s core metrics are and why they matter.

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3. Quantify the data

As mentioned earlier, numeric scores are a simpler way to express results and make it much easier to compare data. Numbers are tangible and leave no room for misinterpretation or grey areas. This is why it’s necessary to obtain numeric scores wherever possible. 

When analyzing employee engagement survey results, present data as a numeric score or percentage. This enables people to see patterns and trends in the results with ease. 

Employee Engagement Survey Analysis

4. Segment your data

Each of your employees will have a slightly different experience at work. This is why segmenting your data is a key part of employee engagement survey analysis. Tracking and comparing different employee groups and demographics will offer you deeper insight into each group’s unique challenges at work. 

You can measure how specific teams are performing, understand why some perform better than others, and create a plan of action for the areas that matter most. This is particularly useful if you are restricted by time or money and must be more selective with your resources.

Bear this in mind when creating your survey and include optional questions on age, gender, and team. You can also provide an explanation on why you need this information and that employees’ anonymity will be maintained.

5. Identify patterns and trends

The next step in how to analyze employee engagement survey results centers on looking for and identifying patterns and trends within your survey results. You can do this by looking at certain demographics, employee status, or tenure, etc. 

For example, are most of your senior staff relatively happy at work, while your lower-level trainees are not? Is there a difference in results between those on a salary wage and those paid hourly? 

If most of your employees feel the same way about a particular issue, that’s a strong indication that you need to dig deeper into this and that something needs to change. Whereas, if only a handful of employees are frustrated or requesting something, this is likely less meaningful.

6. Complement quantitative data with qualitative data

While numbers are important, it’s equally crucial that you collect qualitative responses to complement your quantitative data and ensure you don’t miss any major concerns through the numbers. Qualitative data can capture an employee’s thoughts, motivations, and attitudes.  

For example, if an employee is asked how happy they are at work and gives a score of 4 out of 5, this may suggest they are generally satisfied. However, the reason why they haven’t given a score of 5 might be because they have a concern or criticism. And if you want to get all employees scoring a 5, it’s vital that you hear what this concern is so you can resolve it. 

You may want to consider organizing a series of employee focus groups or reaching out to individuals for deeper conversations. Certain survey software enables you to do this even when surveys are completed anonymously. Be focused with the questions you answer and select a few key topics to target. 

7. Connect employee engagement to business outcomes

It’s important to remember that analysis is different from producing static reports. Analysis centers on combining several different metrics and processes and displaying and sharing the data in various ways. This enables critical business questions to be answered. 

For example, does the frequent changing of managers within a team affect the employee engagement level? 

Many organizations have high employee engagement levels but still suffer from high turnover rates in key roles. This suggests that although your employees feel happy and engaged, this may not be related to their work or position. For example, perhaps your engagement rates are high because you offer an incredible benefits package or the most competitive salaries and generous bonuses. 

This is where data analysis becomes invaluable and can help you understand what your employee engagement survey results mean for the business. Combine and analyze your engagement data with other critical information from your HR management systems, as well as business data from your ERP system. 

8. Benchmark your results

Benchmarks can help you better understand your results and how your organization is performing compared to your previous results and industry standards and pinpoint key areas for improvement. Essentially, HR benchmarking involves comparing one set of survey data with another that is measuring something similar. 

There are three types of benchmarks you can use:

1. National

Benchmarking your results against national results will help you understand where your organization sits across the country.

2. Industry

An industry benchmark helps you determine how your organization compares to similar organizations within your industry. This is generally more reliable than national benchmarking because it accounts for industry factors.

3. Internal

The final option for benchmarking is an internal approach. This means you compare your most recent results to past ones and understand how your organization is performing over time. 

You may decide you want to send out a monthly or quarterly survey where you track employee engagement before and after you implement a new software system so you can see if this boosts engagement. This enables you to track your progress and continuously make small improvements. 

Benchmarking enables you to ask (and answer) questions like:

  • How did we perform this quarter compared to last quarter? How has the level of engagement changed?
  • How are other organizations performing with regards to employee engagement levels?
  • Is our turnover rate high or low for our industry?

9. Visualize the results

Visualizing the data you collect in your analysis will make it easier for team managers and stakeholders to process, understand, and reduce the risk of misinterpretation. It also makes it easier to gain actionable insights and identify areas of improvement.

There are several ways you can visualize your employee survey results.

  • Pie charts

These help you show different categories that combine to make a whole. For example, if you had a 1-5 score rating relating to the question, “Do you feel like there are enough progression opportunities for you in the organization?” you may decide to use a pie chart to show the percentage of employees who selected each number. 

  • Bar graphs

A bar graph enables you to compare responses between groups or show how a trend has changed over time. You might use a bar graph to show the difference between results in different departments in your organization. 

  • Line charts

A line chart is the best way to compare two sets of data. For example, you might compare this year’s engagement results with last year’s. A line chart can be particularly effective when displaying small changes that are not as visible on a bar graph. 

  • Call-out graphics

If there’s a particular fact or figure that you want to highlight to your employees and stakeholders, creating a call-out graphic might be the best approach. This works well if the fact or figure is a surprise or staff members are heavily invested in it.

10. Review results with managers and take action

The ultimate goal of conducting an employee engagement survey analysis is to determine what action you need to take to improve engagement. So, once you’ve sufficiently analyzed and digested the data, the final step is to report your findings to managers and create a plan of action. 

Even if you’re not happy with the results, it’s still important to report them and promote transparency across the business. Instead of playing the blame game, address why problems are occurring and focus on determining a solution. This is your opportunity to do something positive that will benefit your employees and boost the organization’s overall performance. 

Schedule a meeting with managers and ensure the agenda is clear. Emphasize the importance of being solution-focused, ask for their input on their teams, and present your proposed action plan.

You may also want to propose incorporating engagement metrics into managers’ performance reviews. This can incentivize managers to improve their own skills, help develop their team and enhance communication with their employees. 

Employee engagement survey analysis is a powerful tool for your organization

Analyzing engagement surveys helps you determine where your organization currently excels and needs to improve to boost employee performance, motivation and commitment. This rich data can help you notice patterns and themes, which you can use to create an actionable strategy that enables you to increase engagement and edge closer to achieving your wider business goals. 

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