Employee Feedback Surveys

Employee feedback surveys are huge. It seems nearly every company conducts one, or wants to conduct one, but where do you start? Here are some do’s and don’t’s for conducting employee feedback surveys.

Start With Purpose

Best Practices for Employee Feedback SurveysEmployee satisfaction surveys should start at the same point as any survey: why are you fielding the survey to begin with? Naturally, it seems the answer would be, “To know how my employees are doing,” but perhaps a better spin is, “To know where I need to improve.” This can automatically change the tenor of the survey you’re fielding to your employees, as well as how often you decide to field the survey.

There are some basic subjects that most employee satisfaction surveys seem to address: overall satisfaction, teamwork, general morale, and leadership. But if you are looking at this survey from a lens of “where do I need to improve,” you should also look at it from the lens of, “What things can I realistically take action on to improve?” Don’t ask about things you either cannot or are not willing to change.

Stay Focused

Employee satisfaction surveys can end up being really long if you decide to dig deep into a number of different topics. Do you have a number of extra company programs that you want to ask about? Try separating those into a separate survey to ask about them, and add a general overall satisfaction question about the variety of programs your company offers, instead. Keep the questions in your employee satisfaction survey focused on just that – employee satisfaction.

Don’t Write Leading Questions

It’s easy to write a leading question. Even asking, “How satisfied are you with…” can be leading! Test the neutrality of your questions with other reviewers so that you’re certain you’re not creating leading questions. Otherwise, you’ll end up skewing your results and not getting a true picture of what your employees are thinking. (How do you rewrite that “How satisfied are you with…?” Easy – “Please rate your level of satisfaction with…”)

Don’t Use Double-Barrelled Questions

This is another trap for surveys in general. A double-barrelled question is something that asks about two items in one question. For example, “Please rate your level of satisfaction with the company structure and leadership.” Another type of this question that seems common is, “Please rate your level of satisfaction with the speed and accuracy of communications.” Here’s a hint for avoiding these types of questions: if it uses the words “and” or “or,” it’s probably double-barrelled.

Do Tell Your Employees the Results – Even If It Isn’t Easy

Even if the results of the survey aren’t what you were hoping for, open communication is still the best communication. And, let’s face it, if you’re looking at a widespread level of dissatisfaction across the board, or even in one particular area, it’s highly likely your employees are already talking about it a lot, and that they are aware it’s an issue.

Don’t Feel Like You Always Need to Fix Something

Just because it’s an employee satisfaction survey, with the purpose of looking at where improvements need to be made in your company, doesn’t necessarily mean that you must find something to fix if you find that your employees are generally pretty happy with the way things are currently. It’s entirely fine to come away with, “We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing, since it seems to be going well.”

Test the Survey Before Sending It Out

Just as you would test a survey for any external group of respondents, be sure to test your survey for your employees. You’re asking for them to take the time to provide feedback, so be sure that the survey is working well. Bugs in a survey for any group of respondents lead to a decreased response rate, even if you fix the bug.

Include Open-Ended Text Questions

Quantitative information is fantastic, but qualitative feedback can also be great. Be sure you include at least one open-ended text question for your employees to give you some extra feedback. Open-ended text questions can be especially useful if they are expressing low levels of satisfaction; they give you and the employee an outlet to understand what’s going on a bit better.

Field More Than Once a Year

Let’s face it, more employees expect to be able to provide feedback more than once a year. This can also help mitigate those times when perhaps factors outside of your control were affecting employee responses. You might consider doing a weekly satisfaction check-in that is an abbreviated version of a quarterly employee satisfaction survey. That way, you’re giving your employees a venue to provide feedback, and, just as with customer satisfaction surveys, as soon as things seem to be going awry, you can take action to address it.

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