An employee survey collects employee feedback for the company to understand them better. It calls into question the employees’ attitude and morale and their level of loyalty or commitment to the role and performance.
These surveys are typically used by representatives of an organization’s human resources or management teams and remain secret to encourage employees to express their positive and negative experiences freely.
The purpose of most employee feedback includes an overview of characteristics such as work culture, outstanding authentic leadership, motivating and discouraging components in the office, and job satisfaction. It gives the management team an understanding and outline of their current roles to improve performance.
Employee Satisfaction Survey
The employee satisfaction survey, also called “climate survey”, allows HR managers and management to collect employee views and perceptions of the organization to establish a positive working environment.
Some of the most common reason for surveying employees are:
- Assessing employee happiness (i.e job satisfaction, compensation, workload)
- Assessing employee experience
- Corporate policy evaluation
This aspect of the employee survey is typically lengthy, with 40-60 questions. The HR personnel summarises and analyzes the input obtained from the employees to take actionable results.
The Problems With Employee Surveys:
Most employee surveys fail to address plenty of factors, making it harder to get the expected or desired results from them. Some of the problems that most employee surveys face:
1. They often lack proper objective
What is the actual aim of your employee survey? Is it to evaluate the overall morale of your workforce? Is it to investigate an HR issue that the employee filed? Maybe it is for testing out the effects of a new work policy.
Regardless of your intention, the fact remains that there has to be a clear understanding of the objective of your survey. Going blindly into a survey will not yield any valuable results that you can analyze to provide proper insight to work with.
Apart from that, it also gives HR a good idea of the questions that may go into the survey and allows them to establish a directed way to pursue the employees to complete the survey.
2. It is sometimes misleading
The scope of an employee survey is often overstated. When asked to complete a survey, particularly one that is subjective (such as a survey of intentions or feelings), people tend to use the recent past to guide their responses.
For instance, when asking an employee for their input on how the workplace environment has been, they will tend to derive their response based on their personal experiences in that environment from the past week or so. But the problem here is that their feelings and personal inclinations may also have been from issues or struggles in their personal life that is being projected into their workplace. This provides no reliable information at all!
3. It is often difficult to understand
This issue is especially prominent with employee engagement surveys. The objective of the survey may be linear enough. At the same time, the questions themselves may be either so ambiguous that it is incomprehensible or so specific that it is impossible to answer without a complete essay.
This problem is also inherent with the “scale” system used in surveys, wherein the density and divisions vary broadly across different types of surveys. Some surveys prefer numbers from 1 to 10, while others prefer a scale of emojis in a range of emotions. But if these scales are not tied up to relevant questions, the result is often difficult to state and is unreliable.
4. The results do not provide a clear idea
The overall impact of these surveys is difficult to measure accurately. A simple series of 10 or more questions asking an employee about how they feel will in no way be enough to discern any actionable insights.
Moreover, the interpretation of the survey results is left in the hands of the senior handling body of the team – often the manager or supervisor – who themselves do not understand what to do with the results. In this way, valuable input is lost in translation, and the significance of the results is drastically reduced. Even if conclusions are drawn, they would not be reliable enough to act upon.
How to make the best out of the Employee Survey?
Employee surveys are vastly understated tools when used with a proper understanding. In general, you may also choose to gain the most out of your surveys in the following ways:
1. Keep it short and sweet
Making employees complete long surveys contradicts the survey’s primary goal of improving employee satisfaction.
Nobody wants to fill out a long, general survey, for example. These surveys should be focused on a specific aim, be brief and precise.
2. Determine a clear goal
One of the most vital aspects of survey planning is to have a clear objective.
Each survey should be planned to accomplish a specific goal regardless of whether it is a short-term or long-term goal. Having a clear direction will serve as the base for your survey and the cornerstone for all your interpretations after that. It is, hence, crucial to understand where your employees currently stand and what exactly you wish to accomplish for them through this survey.
3. Make employees feel acknowledged
Reviews of employee surveys can give you bits of powerful insights into your employees’ perspectives, yet this is only a starting point when examining the merits of directing such representative studies.
The main idea isn’t just to measure your employees’ opinions but also for them to respond to your interpretation of the results. In other words, their feelings matter, and it’s your humble job to let them know and feel that they are acknowledged.
4. Give them a voice
Ensure your employees feel safe enough to express their honest opinions, concerns, and grievances vocally. The meaningful heart-to-heart will serve to unravel much more than it leads you to believe – an opportunity to safely voice an opinion might just be the one thing stopping you from really understanding your employee the best that you can.
5. Perform routine check-ups
Surveys are commonly treated as one-offs. The stigma of filling out the same old dull form as a formality and listening to your supervisor nag about it exists only because of the lack of attention to fine detail, such as in the simple case of a follow-up!
Once an employee survey has been completed and their review has been communicated, it is essential to revisit their workplace to measure the extent of improvement or decline in their performance. This will provide a better understanding of corrective actions that may be required or faulty interpretations of results.