Power Up Your Employee Surveys – for Positive Change

Published on: 06/8/23 2:21 PM


Only 17% of British workers love their job.

More than 50% of us say we’re unhappy at work.

27% think we would be happier in a different job.

And only 39% feel our salary is fair, for what we do.

How do we know? We ask people. YouGov and Personal Group doing the asking in those examples above.

Because if you want to know how people feel about your organisation, how their lives could be improved and what they think could be done better in your business, you need to ask them.

But before you ask, there are 3 important things you need to recognise:

  1. The difference between employee satisfaction and employee engagement.

  2. That your surveys must include questions that relate to both satisfaction and engagement to give you a valuable, holistic understanding.

  3. If you’re going to ask, you have to act. When your staff have gone to the time, trouble and sincerity of giving you honest, reflective feedback in the hope that things can improve, if they’re only heard but not listened to, the whole project will backfire. Frustrations become exacerbated and you run the risk of damaging morale and your business if staff feel they’re being ignored.

The Important Difference Between Satisfaction and Engagement

The difference between employee satisfaction and employee engagement is ALL important.

Of course, job satisfaction matters. Who doesn’t want to be happy in what they do? But when it comes to the health and wealth of your business, you need your teams to be more than just satisfied. They need to be engaged too. It’s no good for your people to enjoy their working lives and at the same time fail to make much of an effort in their jobs.

While engagement and satisfaction both feed each other – happier workers tend to be more engaged and more engaged workers happier – they are discrete concepts and discrete measurements.

Don’t let high satisfaction mask the ’the lights are on but no one’s home’ concept of quiet quitting. The ‘phoning it in’ presence and the smiles and affirmations that front someone happily taking the salary – and doing as little as they can get away with.

The importance of including both satisfaction and engagement questions in your survey

Compare these two questions:

  1. Are you satisfied with your job overall?


2. How meaningful do you find your work?

The first, is a closed qualitative type question, specifically zeros in on job satisfaction. Do you like your job?

The second, an open question that invites qualitative feedback, focuses on the employee’s interpretation of their relationship with their work.

Ideally, you’ll want a mix of both open and closed questions covering the qualitative and quantitative aspects of satisfaction and engagement that will ultimately give you an understanding of your overall employee experience.

Always act on the findings

Is there anything more frustrating than being constantly asked for advice or feedback only to have what you say constantly ignored? It’s a surefire way to sabotage a friendship. And it’s behaviour that’s guaranteed to undermine a business too.

With so many organisations quick to set up surveys but slow to act on the findings, it’s little surprise that so many employees suffer survey fatigue. “What’s the point?” they think. “No one listens to what we say anyway.”

A bad survey set-up or follow-through is the employer equivalent of your employee happily going through the motions. While you might have the best of intentions, unless you follow through, the whole project is counterproductive. As genuine as you might be in your desire to get to the heart of your employee experience, just pretending to listen is ultimately bad for morale, bad for business and unsustainable.

Unless you’re prepared to carefully analyse your engagement survey findings AND act on them, in truth, you’re best off not running the survey in the first place.

And why wouldn’t you act on the findings anyway?

Genuinely happy and engaged staff are loyal long-term staff. When they’re present, they’re really present. They’re more committed, productive and more profitable.

Power surveys that inspire positive change

Unsure where to start? How to set objectives? The questions that will uncover what you need to know? Or ways to best action the findings?

Talk to us.

Employee engagement experience surveys are a cornerstone of the many ways we build brands, grow teams and help ambitious businesses thrive.