There’s been a lot of chatter on the “LinkedSphere” recently about annual surveys versus more or less frequent monitoring. A recent survey by Quantum Workplace has found some interesting outcomes. They compared companies doing regular annual surveys with those doing so less frequently (e g every eighteen months of two years).The idea was to prove or disprove the hypothesis that conducting a comprehensive engagement survey on an annual basis would show larger result increases than conducting on a less frequent timescale.

What they found was that over three survey administrations, organisations that consistently conducted annual engagement surveys saw favourable engagement increases two-and-a-half times greater than the increases seen among those who conducted surveys less frequently. While both groups started with 67% engagement, the annual survey group saw an increase in engagement of 6.86%, whereas the inconsistent surveyors only saw a 2.78% increase. The survey didn’t link these increases to performance indicators, but we have plenty of evidence to show that increases in engagement lead to positive movement in the business metrics.

Organisations who survey annually (realistically within 14 months) probably view engagement as a strategic imperative as they value human capital and the results help determine actions and initiatives for the coming year to maintain or increase engagement levels.

There is also a lobby advocating almost continual surveying using pulse surveys. Pulse surveys have their place for quick hits on specific issues and often with a percentage of the workforce. There is definitely a place for that, but engagement cannot be measured by this method because of its systemic nature.

There are a number of surveys we’ve seen calling themselves engagement surveys and are anything but. Satisfaction surveys are being rebranded as engagement, as indeed are communication effectiveness surveys. They may be measuring engagement with something, but that is quite different from trying to establish whether an organisation has an engaged workforce.

And so, the annual engagement survey should be annual and it should measure whether the workforce is engaged with organisational purpose.

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