Effective Use of Employee Surveys

Laptop and Person

Internal company surveys can be used to collect information about the needs, opinions, attitudes and behaviours of employees and can cover a variety of important strategic and operational topics.  It’s an ideal opportunity to collect feedback and identify concerns and areas for improvement.  Surveys send a clear message to employees that you care about their opinions and can provide a means for their voices to be heard.

It may feel frustrating when not everyone in the organization participates in completing the survey, but this can be a clear indicator of the ratio of employees that are more likely to leave. Employees that do participate will also often take the time to provide additional comments and suggestions which can augment or assist with interpreting the data.

Key Reasons to Conduct Employee Surveys

  • Manage or prevent turnover that is costly and time consuming, and negatively impacts employee morale.
  • Boost low productivity leading to failed deadlines and reduced profitability.
  • Identify and boost low employee morale resulting in increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, and dissatisfied employees.
  • Anticipate negative exit interview feedback concerning management and organizational culture.
  • Provide indicators that your company’s existing rewards and recognition system is not competitive and doesn’t make an impact on staff morale.
  • Assist with improvements to the employee onboarding program as there is usually an overwhelming amount of information being given to a new hire in addition to the usual pressures within the probationary period.  An onboarding survey or probationary survey can help you determine what’s working well and what needs to be done differently so that new hires are set up for success.
  • Anticipate and prevent negative employee reviews on web sites that are invaluable resources for jobseekers.
  • Assist with optimization of your training program and courses based on participant feedback.  Conducting post-training surveys can help you determine whether your training is fulfilling its goals and money invested.
  • Provide feedback and guidance on the perceived effectiveness of your leadership team by offering your employees a chance to voice their opinions and give constructive criticism. This can be essential for awareness and improvement.

Employee opinion surveys measure employee views, attitudes and perception on the company while employee engagement surveys measure employees’ level of motivation and engagement.  Your positively engaged employees are likely your top performers and can certainly generate a ripple effect that influences others in the organization.  Employee engagement surveys should be conducted frequently, showing that you genuinely care what they have to say.  Be sure to run anonymous surveys as you are more likely to get honest and authentic feedback which helps you measure employee satisfaction.

Decide on the purpose of the survey and design your topics and questions to get the information you want.  Even a small business owner should be encouraged to spend time and effort finding out what employees really think.  You may be extremely surprised at the valuable feedback you receive.

Analyze and Share the Survey Results

Analyzing the data is a key step in understanding survey results.  Take heed: surveys without follow-up and clear action are counter productive and will result in employees losing confidence in management decision making and credibility. Identify areas of success and what you need to improve on.  Make sure to celebrate areas where employees feel you are doing well as these are working, and you want to ensure continued success.

Identify areas of opportunity for improvement and don’t be alarmed or embarrassed if there are many. Take note of concerns that are critical, those that are a quick fix, and other issues that can be parked for now.  It’s important to note that across companies, employees are typically critical about the same topics such as pay and favouritism. Of course, it’s important to provide competitive salaries and opportunities, but these alone are not the deciding factors when it comes to overall employee satisfaction, engagement and retention so consider everything,

Results should first be shared with the management team and consensus reached on the areas of priority and the commitment and ownership of solutions.  There is no need to communicate every area of concern with your employees as you won’t want or be able to action all issues.  Rather, identify the top 3 areas of concern that you would like to focus your attention and prior to sharing these, determine what steps you are going to follow to address these concerns, who is accountable to drive changes and the time necessary. 

Act on the Survey Results

There may be a handful of areas that need attention and are a quick fix such as providing a microwave in the break room for employees to heat up their lunch or setting up a filtered water dispenser to help keep up hydration levels.

Be sure to communicate what changes have been implemented and keep employees regularly informed of progress and any delays or changes in plan.  Acting on the feedback is vital to gain employee trust and commitment.  Employees want to know their voice is heard and they have played a role in the decision-making process.  Ensure you are transparent and if there is feedback that you cannot act upon then don’t be afraid to explain why.  Employees will appreciate your honesty, and this will also send a positive message building trust and credibility.

If you need help with implementing employee surveys and analyzing results, Bridge Legal and HR Solutions can provide you with advice and guidance.  Please contact us at 647-794-5442 or admin@bridgelegalhr.ca

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