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Making the Most of Employee Surveys

Aug 22, 2008
Surveying your employees can yield valuable data about their perception of your company. You can measure their level of job satisfaction, feelings about company policies and several other factors that can impact how smoothly your business operates. But, designing an employee survey that meets your objectives is a complex process. It requires a disciplined approach that considers your goals for the survey, ways to increase your employees' response and methods of analyzing the data. In this article, we'll discuss each of these issues to prepare you for the task of creating and executing your employee surveys.

Types Of Employee Surveys

There are several types of surveys that you can use to solicit your employees' thoughts. The most common is a satisfaction survey. They can be comprehensive and address several issues at once or focus on a primary issue. For example, they can be used to ask for feedback regarding the availability of training programs, company benefits, or a recent acquisition. Another survey can ask employees to offer their thoughts about customer service. This can be particularly useful for identifying problems and making changes in customer care protocols.

Your company should also conduct employee exit surveys. When an employee resigns, they'll often provide honest insight into sources of dissatisfaction. Often, these sources will go unrecognized by managers until a departing employee provides the feedback. Once the feedback is received, changes can be made to prevent other employees from feeling similarly dissatisfied.

Methods To Encourage Response

A well-designed employee survey must encourage response in order to be useful. Too often, companies spend very little time considering how to execute the survey once it has been created. You should spread the word about the survey to your entire staff a couple of weeks before it is distributed. As the launch date approaches, continue to remind your staff. Often, employees fail to respond to surveys simply because they didn't set aside the time to complete them. Early notifications can help you avoid this problem.

The survey should be anonymous (and your employees should know that it is). You can guarantee this anonymity by having a third party solicit the feedback. Employees who know that their identity won't be compromised are more willing to share honest feedback. Another factor that encourages response is clear communication of the survey's goals. Your employees want to know the reason behind the survey. If they know the objective, they'll be more likely to offer their opinions.

How To Measure Levels Of Importance

Asking your employees to describe the level of importance they feel toward each issue is more complicated than it appears. Doing so can make your survey needlessly long and thereby, reduce your response rate. Measuring levels of importance can be done, but you need to take a statistical approach. Rather than asking your employees to rate the importance of each issue, you should group related issues and solicit feedback regarding their overall satisfaction (or lack thereof). Then, you can use data analysis software to draw conclusions about levels of importance based upon high and low correlations between the individual issues and the "overall satisfaction" question.

Leveraging Employee Surveys

Using surveys is an effective way to leverage your company's most valuable asset: your employees. They are the people who speak with your customers. And they're largely responsible for how smoothly your company operates. By asking them for their feedback, you can identify changes that need to be made in every area of your business. When the time comes to survey your employees, use the tips above to design and execute a survey that yields reliable, honest and useful data.
About the Author
Survey Gizmo is a leading provider of online survey software, check out their website for more great ways to use surveys to enhance your business.
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