How to run an Engagement Survey using Google Forms

This article on running an Engagement Survey is part of a series on Employee Engagement.

Step 1 - Planning

Establish your Survey Objective

There are many reasons to run such a survey. They could be to proactively diagnose issues, to measure the strength and nature of your company culture, to build trust in management or to measure the impact of initiatives.

You could, for instance, cover a broad range of topics such as management support, workload, wellbeing, training, etc. Then, after you receive results from this survey you can narrow down your next survey and be more specific regarding problem areas. Roslin users can see a full list of ideas on the Roslin Engagement Drivers screen.

Define your Survey Audience

Writing out your objective will help you clarify who you need to survey in your company. If this is your first survey then it's normally a good idea to start with a subset of your company, particularly a group that will give you good feedback so that you can iron out the kinks in your process and then survey the rest of the company.

Another thing to consider is that some topics don't apply to the whole organisation. For instance, Health and Safety are very important in warehouses and factories but not so much amongst Software Developers.

Determine what the Survey must Measure

As an example, eNPS or Employee Net Promotor Score (Read more about eNPS here) is a measure of Employee Engagement. Several questions could help you measure it such as: "I would be happy to promote the company as an employer to my friends and family." If Engagement is important to the overall Company Culture that you're trying to build then you should mark it as a key metric. A company trying to improve peer relationships could build out a set of 4 questions and group them in a Peer Relationships section then measure the aggregate scores of those questions as a measure of the current state of Peer Relationships.

Understand the expectation you are going to create

The biggest challenge with culture-building and employee engagement is expectations management.

"When you make commitments to the people in your organisation about important issues, you need to follow through otherwise you will erode trust in the management team."

Simply asking questions and the way you introduce your survey will also start forming an expectation. This should not give you pause, it just needs to be considered before you proceed because the gains massively outweigh the risks. That said, don't ask questions when you aren't quite ready to deal with the answers.

Step 2 - Engagement Survey Questions

Now that you have determined your objective and your audience, creating the questions should be easy. Read our article on Employee Survey Questions for guidance on writing your questions.

Here are the Top 10 recommended questions:

  1. I would be happy to promote the company as an employer to my friends and family.
  2. I like working for my immediate supervisor.
  3. I understand the company’s plans for future success.
  4. My job allows me to utilise my strengths every day.
  5. I am coping with my workload emotionally and physically.
  6. If I contribute to the company's success I know I will be recognised.
  7. I see professional growth and career development opportunities for myself in this company.
  8. My immediate supervisor cares about my development.
  9. I have the materials and equipment needed to do my work right.
  10. I foresee myself working here a year from now.

Roslin users can simply select from the Question Library. Note the different questions types available on Google Forms such as linear, dropdown and multiple choice.

For surveys over 10 questions in length, it's a great idea to group those questions into themes. At Roslin, we call these themes Engagement Drivers because they are different themes that drive Employee Engagement. This will make it easier to understand your survey but more importantly, to communicate it to others in the organisation like the senior leadership team or managers. This is especially important when you want to drive change.

Step 3 - Build out your Google Form

Once you've signed up to Google Forms here, start a new form. Name it and write a description of it. Both will be seen by respondents. Now you can start with the questions which you can copy-paste from the previous step.

Alternatively, you could use Survey Monkey or any other survey application. You could also sign up for the Roslin Starter Plan (Free Forever).

Google lets you add sections that will split your survey into several pages that the respondents will click through. This will make longer services less overwhelming and improve completion rates. Aim for 2-4 questions for a section or split them up per Engagement Driver.

Some other settings to consider for your survey are below. You can edit them by selecting the gear icon on the top right of your screen.

  • You can change whether users can edit their response after submitting.
  • Users can be allowed to see the data of the survey after submitting it. Selecting this will depend on the sensitivity of the questions that you're asking.
  • You'll want to limit responses to 1 per respondent.
  • You have the option of writing a message to each respondent after submitting the survey. It adds a nice touch.

Step 4 - Review your data

Once the responses start coming in, Google Forms will automatically select the best chart type for your questions and populate it with response data.

You can't go very deep into your data with Google Forms though. This is where it falls short. For deeper analysis, you're going to have to export the data to excel and map the questions to different metrics. If you've set the survey to identify respondents then you can export the data to excel and map the responses to a user profiles table which will allow for segmented data reports.

Building sections in Google Forms
Building sections in Google Forms

Something you'll often want to do is compare the results of the sales team to the operations team. This is what we call Segmentation at Roslin. To do this in your survey, you're going to have to add questions that ask the respondent what team they are in. You could then filter by this. Other segments to consider are location, office, manager, gender and starting date. The flipside to this is that you're adding more questions to your survey which makes it longer and drops your participation rate so choose wisely! Roslin users don't have to worry about this because we track these user data outside the survey so you can always segment.

Segmentation using the Heatmap in Roslin
Segmentation using the Heatmap in Roslin

Step 5 - Follow Up on your Engagement Survey

Now is the time to make hard decisions about what to act on and what to defer. You also need to ensure that you don't knee-jerk and do everything that the staff ask for blindly. You need to be very deliberate about what sort of a culture you want to create. This means using the feedback you've received to see where you are and compare it to where you want to be. THEN, you can decide on your actions. Ensure that your actions support your Culture Map and Company Strategy.

You'll want to communicate the results of the survey to the respondents within 1 month of the closing date. Be as transparent as you can by sharing the data with your organisation. It's also ideal that you communicate your action plan along with the results. Follow that up with the results of those actions 3-6 months later.

It's important to note that you don't have to solve EVERY issue. Just the ones that are deemed most relevant and important will also be limited by the capacity of your management team. Our experience shows that staff are not demanding here, as long as their voices are heard and acted upon, you will see trust and engagement grow with each survey cycle.

Communication is incredibly important. If staff raise key issues and you ignore them or dismiss them then you will destroy trust.

Wrapping up

It's important to tackle the various steps in running your engagement survey and then following up on the results with your team. If you plan your objective and survey questions well, you'll get good data. With good data, you can make excellent decisions. Follow those decisions up with excellent execution and you'll have an A-Grade Culture in no time!

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