Employee surveys seem like the ultimate tool for finding out what it is that employees want and helping to keep them engaged. When employee surveys are used properly, they can hold the keys to lower turnover, improved performance, decreased absence, and many other attractive engagement-related benefits. However, when not used properly, they can actually have a negative impact on these issues, causing employees to feel undervalued and even less engaged.
The following tips can help companies to administer and use employee surveys more effectively.
1.Establish Clear Goals for the Surveys
Goals and objectives for surveys should be tied in to specific performance improvements and cost savings that may be obtained through the use of the survey. Return on the time and monetary investment put into conducting the survey and acting on results should be measurable. The power to take certain actions based on survey results should be discussed and approved beforehand, so that the questions that are asked on the survey can be strategically geared and acted upon quickly.
2. Ask the Right Questions in the Right Way
When designing the questions, the company culture should be taken into consideration and the questions should be geared to address things that the employees will care about. Designing survey questions can be tricky, so ample time and attention should be put into them. Using a generic survey form can make employees feel alienated and unengaged with both the questions and the results.
3. Decide on a Response and Action Timeline
Research shows that the bulk of responses come in within the first three days after a survey has been distributed, so there is no need to drag out the process. If possible, surveys should be given in a group setting with a certain amount of time allotted to filling out the survey, as this is the most likely arrangement for getting all employees to respond. If this is not possible or doesn’t fit with company culture, however, surveys can be distributed and a deadline can be given for turning them in.
After surveys have been collected, the results should be calculated and action should be taken as quickly as possible. This is perhaps the most important considerations for increasing the effectiveness of surveys. If employees see that action is being taken based on their feedback, they will automatically feel more valued and engaged which can help to achieve some of the objectives of the survey, even when actions vary widely.
4. Offer Multiple Methods for Taking the Survey
Employees’ lives and preferences can vary, so offering multiple methods for taking the survey is the wisest option for most companies. When employees can respond using a pen and paper at work, a pen and paper at home on their own time, an app or email at home, or an automated form at work, employees from different departments and levels are more likely to participate. Offering only one method may limit your responses.
5. Communicate Throughout the Process and Afterward
Communication between employees, managers, and HR professions is key throughout the whole survey process. Before the survey is even given, employees should have an idea what it is about and how long they will have to complete it so they will start thinking about it and planning for it. While the survey is being taken, Hr professional and managers should be there to answer questions and provide support.
After a survey has been analyzed, the results should be communicated so that employees can see the correlation between the results and the actions that are taken. Following up in this way will make employees feel that taking the time to complete the survey was worthwhile, which can dramatically increase the effectiveness of the survey.