Guest Blog: Practices for employee surveys

By Davis Miller

The success of every business is directly linked to employee motivation. Enthusiasm and drive are traits that set apart successful companies from the mediocre ones. When a workforce is highly motivated to accomplish tasks, the results delivered are of superior quality. Eventually, that company will experience increased sales performance and customer satisfaction. Considering the allusion for success, the depth of employee commitment and motivation through the use of surveys keeps on rising.

Employee surveys are now valuable tools most companies use to prioritize issues, monitor effectiveness, and boost production. Together with their HR departments, managers will be able to find weak links and come up with solutions to make things better for employees at the workplace. Participating in an employee survey means your people are willing to help you improve the work environment; however, only well-crafted surveys will get honest answers. The following guidelines are excellent practices companies should consider to craft useful employees’ surveys.

The importance of both goals and objectives

The early stages of your employee surveys should focus on goals and objectives that the appraisal is looking to define. These aims must be crafted with management input and be clearly laid out for employees in order to emphasize the great importance of the whole process. If the company is not providing long-term objectives to employees that are unmistakably linked to performance, the survey will most likely fail to secure resources vital to acquiring success.

The importance of a communication plan

A communication plan is important because it is meant to support each and every phase of the survey. Make a timetable with communication events, formally assigned duties, and budget. Without a communication plan, people may fail to understand the importance of the whole process, and they may not recognize the link between survey results and afterward follow-up deeds.

The importance of proper branding

It's important for the survey to be branded with an identifiable logo and tagline. Hence, it will offer continuity athwart all survey stages, as well as set up the process for constant activity rather than focus on a one-time affair. HR departments are also advised to link employee surveys to ongoing change initiatives. If a survey is not branded it could be seen as unimportant.

Determining behaviour to craft lead questions

The key to crafting an efficient employee survey is to assess behaviour through coaching, brain storming, training sessions and more. Prior to writing down the questions and printing the layout, you have to determine what doesn't work in your company. Why are your employees unhappy? What do they want? Do they feel bullied by other peers or they're just not comfortable in their current workspace? These are things you have to figure out on your own. Talk to them first, analyse their body language, and try to see what's going on.

Employee surveys should be anonymous

Companies have finally realized that the best way to boost productivity is to satisfy the staff. Believe it or not, not all people are pleased with a higher salary. As better working hours and a more comfortable work space means more than financial compensations. Why is anonymity so important? Because people are afraid their managers will fire them if they say out loud what's bothering them; so companies have invented anonymous employee surveys. Your people are free to answer all questions freely, and thus they will give the HR department a perfect opportunity to assess results and improve things in the company.

The best employee surveys have less than 20 questions

You may have lots of questions for your staff, but it's not a good idea to force them to answer 40-50 questions spread on a questionnaire that's 5 pages long. That's not a very smart way of conducting an employee survey. Keep it short and limit your appraisal to 20 questions maximum, spread on a single A4 page. That should suffice.

Are employee surveys worth taking? Can they actually help companies locate and annihilate problems in order to increase productivity? Yes they can; the secret to a successful employee survey is structure. As long as all questions are properly laid out and the whole survey doesn't take more than 10 minutes, you have great chances of performing a successful analysis. For even better results, companies are advised to conduct employee surveys every 6 months.