The Truth About Stakeholder Influence on Survey Success
What is an Employee Engagement Team?
An employee engagement team is often viewed as an official group of employees brought together to oversee engagement initiatives. Employee surveys included. However, everyone has some degree of impact on engagement (be it just their own, or others).
What Stakeholders Should be on Your Employee Engagement Team to Influence Survey Success?
The people or stakeholders who influence employee survey success come from every job and level in your organization.
Leaders are Your Employee Engagement Stakeholder Powerhouse
In an ideal world, your organization’s leader should be the biggest champion of employee surveys.
Imagine the one-two-three punch packed by a CEO who pledges (and shows) their commitment to survey projects. Promotes why each person’s input is key. And assures confidentiality.
After the CEO, members of your executive team, and management in general, follow a close second when it comes to stakeholder influence on the success of surveys and overall engagement.
Intended or Not, What Leaders Say and Do by Example Has an Enormous Effect On Survey Outcomes
If a people leader (from a front-line supervisor to a C-suite executive) is silent or unsupportive, their lack of concern spreads. If a people leader sees and talks about the value of feedback, participates, and encourages employee engagement, employees buy-in.
Evidence shows that senior executives place more emphasis on surveys, findings and employee engagement, however than mid-level managers. And it makes sense, given that the higher up the chain of command you go, the more accountable you become for all the people, processes and assets that make up the organization.
Make Leaders Accountable
Unfortunately, 30% of leaders (and that includes managers) say they only occasionally – or never! – think about employee engagement. Just 26% say that it’s something they think about daily.
Survey-oriented KPI’s and more accountability across all management levels can help with that. WorkTango’s reporting dashboard is one such tool.
Given permission by you, people managers with no fewer than five direct reports can see their team’s survey scores relative to others. Knowing these same numbers are visible to the leadership team tends to bolster accountability. Just. Like. That.
Learning Coach, another feature from WorkTango, is designed to transform people managers into survey-supportive stakeholders and informal members of your employee engagement team. Based on their staff’s feedback, leaders receive resources and recommendations specific to them. Automated follow-up notices keep accountable actions on the radar until finished.
More employee engagement and survey participation come when management stakeholders – including team supervisors through to C-suite executives – “get the why” behind employee surveys. When they see the data that reflects on them directly. And when they realize they’re accountable for acting on feedback.
If you want more information on the power and features of WorkTango, download the info sheet here.
Peer Ambassadors are Your Most Trusted Employee Engagement Team Stakeholders
Then there’s getting your well-liked employees onboard. Your natural “influencers”.
Popular employees can be among your best advocates. Because colleagues know and trust them.
Peer ambassadors can be invited, appointed, or volunteer to help.
With a bit of training, these cheerleaders can elevate the value of surveys. There’s a solid chance colleagues will root for the power of employee voice and join the pro-survey team.
Ambassadors can help promote an annual or biennial employee engagement survey (as well as your ongoing employee voice initiatives) by talking about the vision and goal of why it’s being done and why it matters. They become storytellers. Relaying firsthand experiences. Applauding what they’ve seen because of employee input. Inspiring cynics to become engaged stakeholders too.
Organized Labor Unions are Your Most Challenging Stakeholders
If you have a labor union, their stakeholder engagement can be key. The hope, of course, is for union reps to urge members to fill out employee surveys.
To that end, invite union leaders to join a kick-off survey meeting, especially when you’re planning on a full-scale Employee Engagement survey.
But expect tough critical questions. Predict what might be raised. And plan responses to get ahead of any objections.
Robert Lavigna from the American Society for Public Administration, for instance, described a difficult meeting he encountered. After hearing details about the process, the union’s leader countered that the survey was unnecessary. Why? Because it was their job to keep a finger on the pulse of the workforce — and then tell management how employees felt about their jobs, their supervisors, their leaders and their organization.
“I needed to reinforce why the survey was necessary while also being respectful of the union leader’s key role,” Lavigna recounted.
So Lavigna responded by stating how that person, and other union leaders, “would continue to have important roles as spokespeople for their members. Survey results would complement their feedback to management. “
“We would be asking the entire workforce to respond to the survey. Give every employee a voice. And signal that leaders wanted to hear from each individual employee. This, by itself, was a strong positive message to rank-and-file employees.”
Plus, “each employee would be asked to respond to the same questions, allowing us to collect consistent and reliable data from the entire workforce. The survey would complement, not replace, the union leader’s role as employee spokesperson.”
Lavigna guaranteed each employee’s survey response would be confidential. And talked about how benchmark data would track if engagement was moving in the right direction.
Satisfied, the union president agreed to advise members to respond. A noteworthy 81% response rate was achieved, which Lavigna credited in part to the support of union stakeholders.
Stakeholder Committees are Your Success Driver
A supportive employee engagement team responsible for survey success can be another potent stakeholder contingent. Multi-level, cross-functional representation turns up the volume of your survey message and amplifies engagement efforts.
Many organizations find it worthwhile to include people from IT to help with enterprise-wide connectivity, general technology concerns and overall survey platform usability.
Marketing and communications people can share tips about promotion tools and best practices.
People from underrepresented groups can add their voice to the chorus call for survey participation.
Your stakeholder committee will need to talk about:
- Accessibility, usability and inclusion. How will people with sight, hearing, mobility or other challenges factor into the survey equation? What tools remove barriers?
- Employees who work out in the field or on a plant floor. Are mobile-friendly survey designs and survey kiosks a consideration?
- The language used. Is it inclusive of everyone?
- Consultants and contracted workers. Should they be included? Why or why not? How will their inclusion or exclusion impact survey results?
- Where progress has been made in the past. Are there gaps or opportunities? What kinds of questions need to be asked to ferret out more or different information?
Engaged Employees are Your Most Vital Stakeholders
Last but not least, when it comes to employee surveys your primary stakeholders and audience are employees themselves. Obvious, right? But how do you draw them into the fold?
Your working committee can conduct a pilot survey and invite a subset of employees to fill out a test survey. Engaging employees upfront will raise issues that need raising. And flag survey problems that need fixing.
When a survey finally hits your workplace population and results start pouring in, pay close attention to what your employee stakeholders are saying.
The people who design and build your products, deliver your services, or provide front and backend support are closest to what works. They can point to changes for the better: for your organization and for the people and organizations you serve. Actively listening to what’s being said and acting on feedback is what will turn your employee stakeholders into engaged survey fans.
Survey Administrators are Your Most Personally Invested Stakeholders
A survey is nothing if not for the people who administer them. And those stakeholders (members of your HR team) want a survey solution that makes their job easier. Not harder.
Your survey administrators need tools that:
- are intuitive and super user-friendly
- can be customized
- offer a range of flexible options
- are easy to navigate and implement
- automatically slot modified HRIS details into the survey platform
- generate simple to understand analytics and reports in aggregate or by department, location, manager, occupation, and so on – quickly and efficiently
- include the support of a customer success team 24/7
Plan what needs doing together. Debrief after every survey project to discuss what went well and what could be done better. Welcome input every step of the way: the good, the meh and the unfavorable.
Lean on Your Survey Vendor: A Partner with a Big Stake in Your Success
It’s easy to forget that not all surveys are created and supported equally. So ask your vendor: who are the people behind the nitty-gritty design and development of your surveys and platform?
Let’s start with survey methodologists. Their chief responsibility is to make sure the data collected will be accurate and tell the right story. In simple terms, they check question construction for double-barreled, confusing and leading questions. The wording, order and flow of questions are considered. How long it takes to complete is another factor among several survey validity points. This external stakeholder’s investment of time, effort and knowledge can’t be overemphasized when it comes to the success of your survey.
At WorkTango you can consult a survey methodologist to help with mapping or customizing questions. Their insights ensure you don’t erode survey validity. And that the questions you ask are the right questions for your purposes.
We could also go on and on about
- Industrial/Organizational Design Psychologists
- Data Scientists
- Subject-matter scholars
…and their expertise in the theory and practice of what impacts DEI in organizations, for instance, and the implications on survey design. Methodical research techniques. And statistically validated analytics.
- Or the 24/7 support of a customer success team that knows every intricacy of the WorkTango survey platform. And can guide you through each step of a scientifically vetted methodology certain to succeed.
- As a matter of course, WorkTango’s global product design team are your survey stakeholders too. Because product iterations and new features evolve from user feedback. Your feedback. Your team’s experiences.
Having More than HR Stakeholders on Your Employee Engagement Team
As we’ve seen throughout this article, it takes more stakeholder influence than HR to turn employee survey programs into prized strategic tools. And how every employee, manager and senior leader officially or informally, form your employee engagement team and are important stakeholders in the survey process.
When you have survey champions from every level across your organization, and a third-party vendor in your corner, employees are more candid. Response rates climb. Your continuous listening approach succeeds. And a culture of engagement prospers.
Schedule a demo today to get WorkTango in your survey stakeholder corner.
Check out our guides on workplace culture, employee engagement, and employee surveys. Learn about every aspect of a successful employee voice initiative!
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