Dear Kathleen: I’ve heard about employee surveys, but we have never done one. We’ve had quite a bit of transition due to poor hires, the economy and business changes, and we’re wondering where the employee’s “collective head” is. Any suggestions?
Dear Max: Employee Attitude Surveys are great and you can gain a tremendous information from this venture. They can give management the information it needs to address moral, employee turnover, benchmarking, work and productivity inefficiencies, compensations issues, training needs, and many more issues. And, the results may surprise you!
There are many employee attitude surveys available and many companies willing to assist you in your quest. Choosing the one that is best for you should not be difficult.
Before starting an employee attitude survey, consider the following:
- What is the purpose of the survey? Do you want general feedback over a wide range of areas or are you more interested in feedback regarding compensation, for example.
- Where will the questions come from? Will they be developed internally or will you use a “boxed” set of questions?
- What is your communication plan, and what will you tell employees before, during and after the survey?
- What is your plan to administer the survey? Will you have an electronic survey or simple paper and pen? How will results be collected and who will do this?
- What will you do with the results? Do you plan to share them with the employees? What actions will be taken as a result of the findings or will there be any at all?
- Who is responsible for an action plan as a result of the findings?
The goal of any employee survey should be improving organizational performance. With that, you have to be prepared to act on the results. You don’t want the perception to be that it was a “waste of time” by the employees. There’s nothing worse than being asked your opinion, only for it to be ignored.
In a recent survey by the Opinion Research Corporation (ORC), 46% of companies made no changes as a result of the feedback. For those companies that did make changes based on the feedback from the survey, 84 percent of employees felt that the changes were in a positive direction.
To have the most employee engagement, it’s best to involve your employees in the process in some way. If you are a larger company, you may want to have a joint management/staff task force to take action on the results and coordinate communications. If you are a smaller company, it may be just as effective to communicate the survey results and ask for suggestions from the team.
Either way you go, you’ll gain insight and understanding with the information you receive. Now that you have the information, what are you going to do with it?