Employee Surveys

Crafting an employee survey is easier than it has ever been. There are now all sorts of tools and templates to leverage to help you provide an opportunity for your workers to share their insights. However, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it will be good. Let’s look at some of the primary mistakes companies make with employee surveys.

Employee Surveys

Failing to Know What You Want to Know

The biggest mistake many companies make with employee surveys is not having a specific goal. While it might be tempting to survey your employees about everything under the sun all in one pass, you’ll get better data if you focus your survey more narrowly. This means you’ll need to know what you want to know—before you begin crafting the survey.

Before you type that first character, ask yourself why you’re issuing the survey, then craft your questions based upon that. Then make it a point to communicate that “why” to the respondents so that they understand the purpose of the survey. This will make them more likely to buy into it and provide solid feedback.

Failing to Keep it Short and Simple

There is a certain amount of inertia you must overcome when asking employees to do anything other than what they feel they were hired to do. As we mentioned above, communicating the “why” to your pool of respondents will make them more likely to take the survey.

However, you must be careful to avoid burning them out. Issue too many surveys over the course of a year and people will feel taxed by them. Similarly, an overly long survey is likely to make people bail out of it without completing it or give the answers short shrift just to get it over with.

Simplify, clarify, and condense your questions so you can get the insights you need with as few questions as possible.

Failing to Ensure Neutrality and Relevance

The questions in your employee surveys must be free of biases that can color the data. People love to ask questions that will confirm what they already believe. Further, irrelevant questions are posed too often.

Questions should be crafted in a way that reveals no biases on the part of the person who crafted the survey. Moreover, it is imperative to ensure that the people getting the survey are actively engaged with the subject of the survey.

Failing to Communicate the Reward

The first question that occurs to most people when they’re asked to do something is: “What’s in it for me?” Even if it isn’t phrased in that exact fashion, people will engage more willingly if the benefit to them is clearly communicated.

Failing to Communicate Safety/Anonymity

The best way to get honest responses to a survey is to assure people that speaking up will not subject them to negative repercussions—and making sure that is indeed the case. Moreover, you’re more likely to get honest feedback when people know their confidentiality is ensured and respected.

Failing to Act

The whole point of a survey is to learn what the people who do the work think about a situation related to it. If they give you solid feedback and you toss it aside in favor of the status quo, you’re going to eventually encounter attrition in your ranks. Moreover, you’ll find that subsequent surveys will get little to no response. People will consider them a waste of time since nothing ever changes anyway.

Employee surveys can be a useful engagement tool when properly conducted. Avoiding these mistakes companies make with employee surveys will help you get the best data possible.

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Julia Carpenter
She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and A.B.J. in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She has 13 years of experience in content writing. She writes about money, finance & science-related articles. Her articles have been featured in popular magazines like CNN, Vogue & ELLE.


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