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Should you launch an Employee Engagement Survey during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

What to consider as you decide whether to proceed with your Employee Engagement Survey or postpone it.

If your organization was planning to launch your annual employee engagement survey in the spring or early summer, you may be wondering whether to stick with your original plan or postpone your survey due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For most organizations, our recommendation is to proceed with your scheduled survey launch.

It's understandable that your leaders may be concerned about what employee feedback might look like in the current environment. Even though it's natural to worry that "survey scores" may be impacted by the current environment, it's more critical than ever to collect the employee feedback that will help you identify what is going well right now and the opportunities or barriers to employee success that can be addressed. And beyond that, giving your employees an outlet to share their feedback during this time of uncertainty can actually have a positive impact on their engagement. Collecting and acting on employee feedback is ultimately what builds strong, engaged cultures.

Here are the key questions to consider as you evaluate whether to move forward with your survey and a couple key strategies to optimize your survey in order to capture feedback about the issues that are most important to your employees right now. 

Consider the following questions before launching a comprehensive employee engagement survey:

Did you recently furlough employees?

If changes to your workforce during the pandemic may be temporary (e.g., if you furloughed employees who will likely return to work in the coming months), we recommend launching your engagement survey after those employees return so that you can collect feedback from a more representative sample of employees. In the meantime, we recommend launching a shorter pulse survey to active employees so you can understand their perceptions and needs during this time. 

Do some employees typically depend on kiosks or shared tablets to participate in the survey?

If your organization typically uses tablets or shared workstations to make sure employees can take the engagement survey, this option is likely no longer viable for safety reasons. If this is the case, we recommend contacting your Customer Success Manager to explore whether you could use SMS text messages to reach these employees instead. 


Best Practices for Proceeding with your Engagement Survey

If the above circumstances do not apply to your organization, we recommend proceeding with your engagement survey and incorporating the below best practices. 

Acknowledge the pandemic in your communications and make it clear that asking for employee input still a top priority. 

The employee engagement survey has always been - and will always be - an incredibly valuable method of collecting feedback from your employees. This hasn't changed given the pandemic-- if anything, employee input is more important than ever. Feedback from the survey will provide insight into how individual teams and the organization overall can engage employees both right now and over the course of the next year. 

Review your survey content to determine if any changes need to be made.

If your survey doesn’t already assess whether employees have the materials and equipment they need to do their jobs or whether company communication is effective, consider adding survey items from the Remote Work Readiness Pulse Survey  and the Crisis-Management Pulse Survey  to your Engagement Survey.  If there are survey questions  that you only want essential employees or employees who are working remotely to answer, we can incorporate survey logic to make sure that those questions are only visible to the appropriate employees.