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HR Situation Room: Stop the Employee Engagement Survey If Leadership Doesn’t Care

HR Situation Room: Stop the Employee Engagement Survey If Leadership Doesn’t Care

Our HR Department has been conducting an Employee Engagement Survey annually for several years now. Every year we’ve gathered information from our employees on how we can improve our practices. We produced reports with statistics on how we are doing and where we can improve for top leadership. We’ve rolled out action plans for every department.

However, this year top leadership has begun to express boredom over the reports. They are skeptical if we should even be spending our time and effort over the survey. It has become harder to get any movement on the action plans.

What should we do?

This question is becoming more prevalent as companies find it hard to achieve the elusive golden goal of employee engagement. Employee engagement is a golden goal because studies show that companies with highly engaged employees outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.

However, Gallup reports that a staggering 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged. This statistic can be downright depressing given that the concept of achieving employee engagement has been around for years. Try as they might leadership works with employee engagement surveys year after year, but only to not be able to move the engagement needle in any significant direction. It’s a no wonder that leadership becomes weary of the annual engagement survey particularly when they see no results.

It’s time to rethink the annual employee engagement survey. There is no point in an annual routine that leadership doesn’t care about. Although that may be your first clue as to why the employee engagement needle isn’t improving. Leadership engagement is key to employee engagement. If they don’t care about the survey tool, there is no point in wasting time and money on an annual survey lest you burn them out on maintaining employee engagement altogether.

4 ways to revive the employee engagement spirit in your organization:

  1. Break the Boring Annual Cycle: Instead of an annual survey, conduct it every two years. Give leadership a breather and time to regroup. True leaders will come around again to the need to measure and improve employee engagement.
  2. Link employee engagement to customer engagement results: This really should be less about employees answering gobs of questions and more about driving results such as customer satisfaction, profitability, productivity, and so on.
  3. Check the Pulse: Consider a pulse survey instead of a full-blown survey of 20+ pages of questions. Not only leadership might be getting tired of the annual survey process, but the employees may be getting weary of answering tons of questions every year. Try pairing it down and tie it to key targeted topics.
  4. Rebrand to Employee Experience: The new employee engagement is employee experience. Change the concept from outdated thinking on employee engagement to employee experience. Determine what employee experience factors really drive employee turnover at your organization and measure those components in a pulse survey. Key influencers could be workload, mutual respect from/to the manager, coworker relationships, fairness and transparency in pay, and career advancement opportunities.


Workplace practices can grow stale over time and lose effectiveness. Sometimes it is best to challenge status quo and revisit long-standing programs in place. Go ahead be brave, mix it up and raise the bar for measuring the employee experience.

Featured Free Publication: "34 Questions to Ask Your Team to Define Your Employer Value Proposition" When you bring your EVP to life, candidates and employees will see why you’re different (and better) than your competition. Getting started doesn’t have to be difficult —use the 34 sample questions in this guide to help you build an employee survey that will inspire your EVP.


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Tresha D. Moreland, MBA, MS, FACHE, SPHR, SSBBP, founder of HR C-Suite, is an HR thought leader in Human Resource Strategic Management. She has held key human resource leadership roles for over 20 years in multiple industries most recently a senior vice president in the healthcare industry. Tresha is the founder and publisher of HR C-Suite ( HR C-Suite is a game changer results-based HR strategy website. It is a first-of-it's-kind site that organizes HR strategy based on desired business result. She has developed a business philosophy of integrating human resources with business strategy, thus creating a hybrid HR leadership approach. This approach enables the leveraging human resources to achieve business results.

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