Beware the ‘fake news’ that can be presented in engagement survey participation and results, warns Peter Crush in HR magazine.

In some firms engagement surveys are now sent round with great regularity. But frequency isn’t necessarily a guarantee of success. Establishing a well-rounded, well-responded-to survey, where the data gathered gives a true picture of workforce engagement, is more of a minefield that many might imagine.

In the chase to garner high response rates, all sorts of of activities (including offering incentives or virtual compulsion to get the survey in) are applied, none of which speak to the central aim of doing the survey in the first place: encouraging two-way communication and bolstering employee voice.

For Jenny Perkins, head of engagement at leadership consultancy Cirrus, mandating or incentivising completion can give a false indication of engagement.

“Sometimes people can feel quite cynical about surveys if they think action will not be taken,” she says. “The percentage of employees who respond to a survey is in itself an indication of how engaged your workforce is, so for this reason alone incentives are not a great idea.”

© HR magazine 2019

This is an edited extract of an article which appears in the February 2019 issue of HR magazine. Read the full article here.

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