Surveys during change can increase engagement

When I speak with communicators about measuring the impact of their work, the biggest barrier is often other surveys: “We’re conducting an engagement survey, so we can’t ask employees about internal communication.” Or, “We surveyed employees too many times this year.”

The folks at IBM have some research that says fielding more surveys during organizational change is a good thing. (And who isn’t going through change?) 

Here’s an example from the report. When comparing companies that went through layoffs with those that didn't, you see an expected drop in engagement (–23 points):

  • Companies that laid off employees: 36% engagement index score
  • Companies without a layoff: 59% engagement index score

But if an organization surveys during a layoff, the engagement score increases—minimizing the negative impact of the change:

  • Layoffs without surveying: 36% engagement index score
  • Layoffs with surveying: 55% engagement index score
  • No layoffs: 59% engagement index score

This report is a good reminder that asking for participation and input during change is an effective communication strategy. And that we shouldn’t let other research get in the way of gathering the data needed to make communication even better.

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