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    How to communicate to staff about your employee or engagement survey

    As leading providers in staff surveys, Insync Surveys is often asked by clients to pick-up the role of managing a new type of employee survey, this can be for a number of reasons.

    Such as:

    • change in wants or needs from the person commissioning the employee survey
    • change in organisational structure, or 
    • simply a client who wants a fresh approach with a new employee survey provider.

    Before undertaking any new staff survey we always ask our clients what was done with the results of preceding research; surprisingly the answer is very often "nothing".

    As Dr Erika Szerda, one of Insync Surveys' principals who is a registered psychologist, points out: "a staff survey is just the beginning of your journey". Insync Surveys firmly believes this, and the first step in moving from answers to action is to review your survey communications strategy.

    You have to decide on your own reasons for employee survey communications but at the very least, having gone to the trouble and expense of organising the staff survey, at a most basic level communications should aim to boost staff survey response rates. Clients often come to us citing previous response rates as low as 20%; research and experience shows us that high performing organisations who have a history of good "pre, during and post-survey communications strategies" can commonly obtain 75-85% participation.

    Things that you might wish to consider would be appointing a dedicated employee survey communications champion whose job is to oversee communications from pre-survey, throughout the staff survey period and beyond.

    Historical employee survey communications

    • Circulation of previous staff survey results - "warts and all". It is great to celebrate previous successes or be honest about bad results. It sets the starting point benchmark on your journey of organisational transformation.

    Pre- survey communications

    • Brand your staff survey with a name so that communications will develop their own momentum e.g. "Company X's your say survey"
    • Pre-survey communications; let staff know that there is an employee survey coming. This will give them the chance to air any worries over confidentiality issues or celebrate any thoughts from last time. Whichever way the conversation goes it gets staff talking about the impending staff survey and therefore increases awareness which ultimately should go somewhere to boosting participation rates.
    • As part of the pre-survey communications be honest with staff about what you plan to do with the results: what is the primary objective? When will the results be published?  To whom will the results be available? What is the purpose of gathering these results?

    Immediately before the staff survey commences

    • Advertise your staff survey immediately prior to its opening, i.e. within 10 days to two weeks
    • Put factual, informative and if appropriate amusing posters in shared communal staff areas - Insync Surveys can provide you with examples of these
    • Advertise any incentives for completing the survey - you obviously want to boost staff participation rates but at the same time you want to be sure that your staff are filling in their survey for the right reasons. If there is a charity incentive for completion then talk about this, if there is a prize draw for completion then talk about this also

    During the staff survey

    • Get the senior leadership team to talk about it! This will add weight to the importance of the staff survey
    • Encourage line managers to talk about the employee survey in weekly meetings or simply in conversations with staff - point out the benefits of understanding employees' viewpoints but assure staff it is confidential
    • Send regular staff email updates thanking staff who have participated and asking those who have not yet completed to submit. Update these with real response numbers, once a critical mass of staff have participated reluctant participants often "feel safer" to give their opinions. Repeat this process at different stages during the time the survey is in field.  It is important to specify the survey close date to prevent survey fatigue
    • Add an eye catching sign-off on staff email signatures which promotes the survey
    • Publicise in communal staff areas e.g. poster campaigns in kitchens, wash-rooms, on staff noticeboards
    • Ensure that the staff survey is accessible in multiple media formats - if staff don't have access  to a computer then leave hard copies in places where they can be accessed, attach postage paid reply envelopes or a drop-box that is secure and regularly emptied. Alternatively organise for your staff survey to be professionally conducted by Insync Surveys via telephone

    Post survey communications:

    • Many staff surveys are conducted annually. Often there is a drive for managers to receive the results as early as possible but the branded communications process should ideally span the gap until beginning of the next survey. For example once a month a new poster could be put up explain that "XX% of staff reported XX and as a results management have implemented a new plan to....".

    Once this communications pattern is established it is very easy to update on a regular basis; not every announcement has to be a big headline grabber. During times of organisational transformation chunky communications headlines such as: "Management team re-vamped" or "Changes to pay and benefits structures" can be interspersed with softer messages such as "X % of you requested a vending machine in shared areas, these will be arriving on the 1st February". Often it is the softer, smaller messages that show staff you are really listening to them, so securing future engagement and response rates.

    Insync Surveys are leaders in many types of staff surveys these include our:

    Please contact us for more information.

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