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Using Employee Surveys For Multiple Goals

Jun 29, 2008
The business that neglects the feedback of its employees is doomed. Employees are immersed in the daily operations. They have insight that the top ranks of management can't possibly intuit without their employees' help. They're the first and last people to interact with customers, suppliers and other vendors. That's why creating and conducting employee surveys can be an integral part of a company's success. In this article, we'll explain a few ways to use employee surveys and how to design them to leverage one of the most powerful assets that a company has.

What Are Employee Surveys Used For?

There are several uses for employee surveys. Each has a different purpose and can yield useful data. Exit surveys should be given to employees who resign. Workforce attrition is expensive. New employees must be trained. Exit surveys can provide unique insight into the reasons an employee might be dissatisfied with the company or her position. Surveys can also be used to measure employee productivity, their perception of a company's business ethics and even their sensitivity to corporate culture and diversity. The information these employee surveys yield can help guide management in making changes to improve retention (and thereby, lower costs).

How To Design An Effective Employee Survey

When you design an employee survey, anonymity is important. Employees are far more likely to offer valuable information if they're confident that their feedback won't hurt them in the future. Also, make it easy for your employees to complete the survey. Many human resources experts suggest designing the survey so that it takes no more than 20 minutes to complete. In most cases, your employees want to share their thoughts. But, few have the time or inclination to complete a long survey.

In order to encourage a broad level of feedback, use both open-ended questions and those that are answered on a numbered scale. Questions about job satisfaction can be answered using numbers 1 through 5. Questions about company ethics, diversity and opportunities for upward mobility should encourage broader responses.

Also, communicate why you're giving the survey and what you hope to accomplish with the information. Employees want to know that their thoughts have been heard. They need to feel as if their insight won't be wasted. Describe the goals of your survey. Explain your objectives in detail. The response and quality of the data shared will increase.

Conducting Successful Surveys

One of the keys to conducting a successful employee survey is to communicate the results. Employees want to know what their peers think about the issues on which they've shared their thoughts. When the findings of a survey are shared with employees soon after the survey was conducted, it communicates to the staff that their insights were read, understood and will be acted upon.

Finally, take action on the information gathered from the survey. Communicate those actions to the employees. This sets the stage for their participation in future surveys.

Reaping The Benefits

The main benefit of conducting effective employee surveys is a reduction in turnover. Employees don't typically resign to pursue more money elsewhere. Instead, they resign because they're dissatisfied with the opportunities available to them, their lack of fulfillment in their jobs, or few challenges that inspire them. A well-planned employee survey can shed light on all of the these areas.

They can also be used as a barometer of a company's operational efficiency. Employees have their hands close to the heart of a business. Their experience and observations can be valuable to management. By designing employee surveys that elicit responses anonymously and communicate the findings and resulting actions, managers can improve employee morale, fix operational issues and reduce attrition in the workforce.
About the Author
Survey Gizmo is a leading provide of online survey software, check out our website for more great ways to use surveys to enhance your business.
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