April 08, 2015 | The XM Blog

The Sirens’ Song and Short Employee Engagement Surveys


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In Greek Mythology, the Sirens were dangerous yet beautiful creatures, portrayed as femme fatales who lured nearby sailors to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island with their enchanting voices.

The Lure of Short Employee Satisfaction SurveysShort employee engagement and satisfaction surveys remind me of the Sirens’ song. “Short” surveys seem to be all the rage these days—every week I see a new company offering brief surveys that promise to check the daily or weekly “pulse” of a company’s employees. This lures HR executives in with the enticing promise of brevity—who has time to conduct an annual employee survey, anyway? But before you set your course, ask yourself: are these surveys accurate, reliable and precise? Can they truly help your company prioritize where and how to improve the employee experience?

Short surveys have an attractive allure since HR executives and employees alike have busy schedules and little free time. These surveys are easy to create and it may take less time to analyze results. But they also provide a false sense of security similar to the Sirens’ song. The beauty of simplicity can lure many companies down the wrong path.

Single-question surveys often ask employees how they feel today—or in some cases, how likely they are to recommend their company to a friend or colleague using a ten-point scale. But in our nearly 14 years of measuring satisfaction with consumer and employee experiences, our research has shown these surveys have a number of problems:

  • They are not always accurate
  • There is often an unacceptable margin of error
  • They are oversimplified
  • The results provide insufficient information for leaders to make intelligent business decisions
  • The ability to prioritize improvements based on which elements have the greatest impact on the experience is lacking

Believing bad data is good data can lead to detrimental business decisions, and acting on the results of an oversimplified survey may lead many companies near the shores of financial peril.

Taking the pulse of your employee base shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality and depth of analysis. Understanding what motivates your employees is not simple—it’s complex. So why try to understand it with a simple survey? Employee Experience Measurement from ForeSee is different. Our approach measures satisfaction with key employee engagement drivers (e.g., workload, work environment, company leadership) and quantifies the impact each driver has on employee satisfaction. As a result, we can predict with accuracy and reliability how you should prioritize initiatives to improve the employee experience.

While our employee surveys may be longer than a few questions, the results you get are accurate, reliable and precise. And our solution is just as easy to deploy. With our turnkey system, your time investment in designing, executing and summarizing employee satisfaction surveys is reduced from months to days. In addition, you’ll benefit from the dedicated support of a ForeSee Employee Experience Analyst who will manage your project from start to finish, analyze your results to uncover key insights, help you identify top priorities for improvement and prepare detailed reports for you and your leadership team.

If you want to steer clear of the dangerous allure of the Sirens’ Song, I invite you to learn more about Employee Experience Measurement from ForeSee.

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About the Author

As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, Verint delivers superior technology and proven methodology to connect the customer experience to the bottom line. The result is better business for companies and a better experience for consumers.

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