Conducting Employee Surveys

November 17, 2015

Surveys can be wonderful tools to gauge employee perceptions about your business and their role within it. Everyone likes to give their opinion and it is even better when the boss truly wants to hear it!  

Responding to the feedback you receive can lead to higher retention rates, lower absenteeism, improved productivity, better customer service and higher employee morale; all things a good leader has a vested interest in! However, misinterpreting results or failing to act on the issues identified in the survey can have the opposite effect.

So, keep in mind what your limitations are when drafting your survey questions. For example, if you are financially unable to offer your staff medical benefits then don’t ask for their opinion about the lack of medical insurance. Keep your questions focused around what you really want to know and what you will be willing to address or change as a result. Not only do you benefit from your staffs’ answers, but the real value is in the dialogue that the open-ended responses generate.

If you are interested in implementing an employee survey, it is best to do so on a regular basis – most companies elect to survey their staff annually. You can use a paper survey or one of the many electronic options. Both will do the job, although electronic options can help protect anonymity and make compiling the results easier. Regardless of which format you choose, keep your survey short and simple. It should take no longer than 20-30 minutes to complete. If the survey is too long or administered during busy times of the year it could negatively affect your response rate.

You will want to retain the feedback you receive from each survey you conduct so that you can measure your progress from one year to the next. Keep the results in a secure location to protect their confidentiality. Communicating these results (in aggregate) will ‘close the loop’ and let your staff know that their efforts weren’t in vain. Remember, asking for feedback has it rewards, but only if you act on the information you receive!  

Contributed by Jodi Schafer, Human Resource Management Services, LLC.