Employee engagement surveys emerge as most effective feedback method

As the ‘Great Resignation’ intensifies and hybrid working becomes the norm, employers have to focus heavily on employee engagement and experience. While hybrid working has brought some changes in measuring and monitoring engagement levels, XpertHR research highlights the most effective tools used by employers to improve employee engagement and experience. 

According to the research, 69% of organisations surveyed said that employee engagement surveys give the most actionable insight into employee engagement or experience.

There is room for improvement however. Of the companies which included surveys among the methods which provide the most actionable insights, only 17% rated them as ‘very effective’ in assessing engagement levels. Most commonly, engagement surveys were judged as ‘fairly effective’ by three quarters (75%) of companies surveyed. So while they may provide the most insight, surveys on their own are limited by the quality of the insights they can provide.

In second place came exit interviews, with 65% of respondents attesting to the value of this feedback method. Exit interviews, when conducted regularly and effectively, can provide rich data and insights that may not come to the surface in any other way.

Fig. 1: Feedback methods that give actionable insight into employee engagement or the employee experience

Over half (52.3%) of respondents recognised the factors affecting employee engagement, including remote working, emotional and physical wellbeing, and increased workloads, and subsequently made changes to their approach in gathering feedback from employees to improve channels of communication.

Now a full return to the workplace for all employees seems unlikely, and employers can no longer ‘ride out’ what at first seemed temporary barriers to employee engagement, organisations are more inclined seek permanent solutions to driving engagement. Remote working has been something of a mixed bag when it comes to employee engagement. Our respondents told us that some employees felt more disconnected from the organisation, while others felt that the flexibility and mutual trust required to make remote working effective had brought about a positive shift in the employee/employer relationship.

However, in a hybrid setting, there are clear steps employers can take to build engagement levels. This is especially important given the current fight for staff, and the enduring ‘Great Resignation’ meaning over two thirds (67.7% of employers) are planning specific initiatives to support employee engagement over the coming year. Specific examples include increasing communication and feedback with employees to enable their views to feed into decision-making, developing the skills of managers to nurture leadership, and improving career development.

Ultimately, providing initiatives which employees will actually respond well to relies upon capturing actionable insights through the right feedback methods. It’s only by benchmarking the performance of internal company feedback processes against those of other organisations, as illustrated by XpertHR data, that companies can be certain their feedback methods are adequate.

Noelle Murphy, senior HR practice editor at XpertHR, comments:  

“A truly effective HR strategy is driven by clear, honest and relevant employee feedback – without it, employers are simply guessing what is important to their employees. After a period of turbulence, it’s clear hybrid working is here to stay and it can be a good thing for employee engagement levels, depending on the approach employers take around employees’ sense of purpose and autonomy, and how they manage progression and learning. Ensuring people managers have the skills and experience to act effectively as coaches will also help to drive engagement levels, irrespective of where the employees are carrying out their work from one day to another.”

“Putting the most efficient engagement and performance feedback methods in place, such as employee surveys for volume married with a richer, less structured employee feedback process, employers can be certain they have access to a true picture of what is important to employees about their working life. Having the best quality data in the world is worthless if there are not tangible and meaningful actions taken by the employer. There is a real opportunity for employers to shift the dial around employee engagement and experience, the pandemic as a crisis has created the space for real change.”

Author: Editorial Team

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