Many organizations struggle with “presenteeism”—employees are present at work but are not productive because they aren’t truly engaged. Companies typically rely on annual surveys to help them measure employee engagement, but these surveys aren’t always that effective, says a recent blog from HR consultancy O.C. Tanner.

Why do employee engagement surveys fail?

Length: If surveys take too long, employees not only take extra time completing them and less time being engaged at work, they also become less engaged in the survey itself. Remember, it’s more about the quality of the questions than the quantity.

Lack of Relevance: If employees find questions annoying, too personal or irrelevant to their position, they’re less likely to answer honestly, if at all. Ask specific questions tailored to each individual employee’s role.

Not Enough Details: While likert statements (i.e., agree/disagree) allow for easy statistics and data analysis, open-ended questions help you get a look inside employees’ minds. Those who are passionate about what they do typically take the time to give detailed responses.

No Follow-Up: Lack of follow-up can leave employees feeling unheard and make them reluctant to give their opinions in the future. Employees need to see that positive change and progression will result from their participation in the survey.

O.C. Tanner also recommends moving beyond a yearly check-up. Use pulse surveys to measure the overall mood of your organization in real time. Even better, speak to employees face-to-face so you can gauge their body language. They’ll also be more likely to open up about their true feelings.

See the full O.C. Tanner blog, “The dying employee engagement survey: new ways to measure engagement.”