Well Executed Employee Surveys a Big Workforce Boost

December 12, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employers can enjoy a kick start of energy from workers who are engaged in their jobs and their company if they regularly poll the employees on their opinions, a new study found.

A news release from Mercer Human Resource Consulting said the issue is worth employers’ attention because engaged employees have a significant influence on organizational performance and can become a long-term source of competitive advantage.

According to the announcement, employee engagement – also called “commitment” or “motivation” – refers to a psychological state where employees feel a vested interest in the company’s success and perform to a high standard that may even beat the stated requirements of the job. Mercer said that research shows that employee engagement has a “significant and measurable” impact on developments such as:

  • employee turnover and absenteeism
  • customer satisfaction and net customer growth
  • operating efficiency and safety
  • financial performance.

The bad news, according to Mercer HR, is that the survey is likely to destroy instead of build employee engagement if the survey is not properly planned, if the questionnaire is poorly designed, if the process fails to engage managers and employees, or if the organization does not take and communicate clear follow-up actions.

A recent Mercer study found that for organizations that conduct employee surveys and then take effective follow-up actions, 84% of employees report a high degree of engagement. For companies that do not take follow-up actions after a survey, the employee engagement percentage is much lower, only 39%.

Employers on every continent use employee surveys. Mercer found that in the United States, for example, more than 60% of companies conduct them, while even higher percentages are reported in Singapore, Japan, and Sweden.

The announcement said that research also suggests that organizations that develop a work environment that enhances employee engagement create a long-term source of competitive advantage. Many organizations, therefore, regard employee engagement as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that should be reported in management accounts, business plans, and the “people” quadrant of the balanced scorecard, Mercer HR said.