March 3, 2015

Are Employee Surveys Effective?

Are employee surveys effective?

Any company that cares about its employees will do their best to learn more about what’s going on in their workplace. High-level management will look to see how they can make managers improve, and managers will find ways to make employees improve.

Being that we’re in the “information age,” HR departments are now using different analytics to measure employee satisfaction knowing that it can benefit the company as a whole and drive more profits.

Staff surveys are now becoming a way of¬†obtaining different kinds of data and HR analytics to see what drives employees and what types of decisions companies will make with the data they’ve collected.

Are Employee Surveys Effective? 

The answer is yes. But more important than questioning the effectiveness of job surveys is examining how different types of surveys and metrics can be used and how it can benefit your company.

Importance Of Employee Surveys

A lot of employees will question the effectiveness of employee surveys, as they should.

Most companies obtain data and don’t necessarily do anything with it. ¬†It’s their managers responsibility to follow up with survey results in order to show how important these questionnaires can be.

Quite frankly, the reason employee surveys are critical is because of three things:

  • They Help With Staff Satisfaction
  • They Create Transparency
  • They Allow Increase In Employee Happiness

Sure, those all sound like simple reasons to conduct employee surveys, but it’s vital that your company is performing them with the¬†interest of the employee in mind. If not, it’s a bit worthless and won’t do its primary job of improving employee relations.

Good For Staff Engagement

Giving employees a voice within the company is an extremely powerful gesture. It allows them to be more engaged with their work and lets them know that management cares.

As we’ve noted before, when employers aren’t focusing on creating good job satisfaction initiatives and do the bare minimum for employee happiness, it can create a bad atmosphere and toxic employees.¬†And know that employee engagement can now be quantified and improved by data, so use the right platform to measure engagement.

So learn how to give your employees what they want by simply asking them. It’ll be a lot better than blindly making decisions.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about the effects of staff engagement and how it can affect your company, feel free to check out this presentation made by our world-class designer:

You can always learn more about employee engagement by looking up what different voices in the community are saying or following a couple of blogs on the subject.

Creates Transparency Between Employees And Managers

When you open the floodgate of communication between management and employees, there are a lot of things that can be proven and disproven. Different systems that can be implemented or removed.

That’s why it’s key to get an employee survey tool that does its best to give you useful metrics that a manager can analyze. And while analyzing data may be a daunting task, the more information and metrics that can be obtained, the better hypothesis can be created.

Analyze Analytics To Boost Employee Happiness

Our employee survey software does a good job of providing different HR analytics that show some of the strengths and weaknesses of an organization.

We just had a cool story about an Officevibe client showing us the power of that can come from listening to employee feedback from surveys.

The statistics for staff wellness were low throughout their office and a lot of people within the network began questioning if there were enough wellness initiatives throughout the office.

A lot of employees started to request a gym subsidization package or some form of wellness package. Seeing some of the numbers and written responses from the pulse surveys allowed the management to make the decision to give everyone in the company a free gym membership to a nearby gym.

The employees went absolutely nuts and even started flooding the gym in large groups before and after work. Everyone was happy and it became a perk that people were happy about and even began pitching at recruitment events.

This example shows how engaged an employee can become off of them having a voice, and how happy they can become by having management listen to a bit of feedback.

So use the data and analytics to make employees happy.

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Benefits Of Employee Surveys

The more data that is obtained via employee surveys, the better. However, most companies may not be receiving optimal data.

Annual surveys may not be as beneficial due to the fact that management won’t have the ability to see the immediate or urgent problems that may be currently affecting an office.

This isn’t a ploy to keep your company away from annual surveys, rather to use them for something that can be quantified and measured¬†on a yearly basis. But if we’re talking about gaining an understanding of a workplace or asking questions that will help you retain employees, going yearly is not the right move.

Gain An Understanding Of Your Workplace

Using pulse surveys once a week can help you gain an understanding of your office’s vibe and see how people are reacting to some of the decisions that are being made within the office.

It’s beneficial to know as much as you can about an office, things like employee growth, employee satisfaction, leadership analysis, and more.

Bettering those parts of your office’s environment can help things like customer relations,¬†your employer brand, and can even motivate people in sales.

Things like that often go overlooked. Here’s a quick chat we had with our friends from Grasshopper that prove that an employer brand can positively affect company culture and sales:

Every employee is a giant cog in the massive machine that is your company. Making sure that they’re all working at their best ensures long term success, for both the company and the employee.

Good For Employee Retention

When you figure out what works, make sure that it’s a good long-term solution. Test things out and make sure that every decision that your HR practitioners are making benefit the employees long term. Thus creating lesser turnover rates and bettering employee retention.

All the things we’ve mentioned so far have been to help better your company to attract, hire, and retain top talent. It’s vital that you’re using any given information to help create a better workplace that will make it a place that people love to work at.

So, if you ever find yourself questioning if surveys are effective or beneficial,  just remember that you can use the information to help boost employee retention and attract great talent.

How To Boost Participation Rates

Another one of the problems with annual employee surveys is¬†that participation rates aren’t high. In fact, this goes with any kind of survey really, not just the ones for employees.

The best route to boost participation¬†is avoiding annual¬†surveys and finding¬†pulse surveys that can help you ask different kinds of questions frequently. Even if an employee doesn’t participate every single time, they’re still likely to provide information every once in a while.

The other problem with annual surveys is the mere fact that it could be biased at the time. If a company lays off a thousand people in an office, chances are that person’s results will be unfavorable at the time.

When it comes to weekly (or frequent) surveys, you can get an accurate assessment of employees in real-time. Not to mention that you can still see a grand view of the data from a week-to-week, month-to-month, and year-to-year view. Who knows, we might create something that has a day-to-day feature.

Be Aware Of Different Engagement Surveys

If you’re still having trouble deciding what kind of survey fits your organization best be sure to be able to tell apart the different kinds:

  • Employee Engagement Surveys
  • Employee Satisfaction Surveys
  • Employee 360 Surveys
  • Employee Pulse Surveys

All of them have an objective of getting information from the employees to the management. Now, there are a lot of companies and consulting firms that offer these kind of surveys tools as very niche/specific surveys, but we found it better to mix them all in and provide even more analytics that will help your organization.

Not trying to sound like a pitch, but just know that if you want a survey to focus on one thing, there are services and firms out there that just do one thing. Whereas we wanted to make it simple and affordable to have them all.

Make Sure To Make Anonymity Optional

Anonymous surveys have gotten a lot of heat recently. This is mostly due to the fact that a lot of HR practitioners might be scared of the feedback they receive on there.

In reality, there is no better way of seeing what is going on within an organization than offering a way for workers to give anonymous or non-anonymous feedback within the surveys.

There’ll be some shocking truths (based on what we’ve seen on Officevibe) off the anonymous side. However, when people offer non-anonymous qualitative feedback, it’s usually a person that has a fairly decent idea and just wants to let management know that it came from them.

We should also add that having inappropriate feedback is unacceptable. Using a survey tool to bad mouth an organization, person, idea, or decision is a bit immature. You should make sure to tell employees to use anonymity as a good thing, not to be a troll.

So, when picking a survey tool, make sure that this will be considered as an option.

Consider Small, Frequent (Pulse) Surveys

They’re called pulse surveys because they check the “pulse” of your company. There have been a couple of doubters that question¬†if it’s a good staff engagement initiative, but we have seen it positively affect every client that we’ve come across.

To measure the pulse and have managers gain an understanding of your workplace, we set up a weekly e-mail that allows a user to quickly answer a question pertaining to their company culture.

Weekly pulse surveys can help get more HR analytics for your management

We send the management the anonymous data, and they’re able to make decisions with it. We even offer a nice little action plan with the data that we collect.

This trend is now being picked up by “smart companies” in an effort to create an ideal workplace. ¬†So having these weekly surveys will help management make decisions to make the best available choice. It should also be noted that the frequency allows for more participation and involvement all across.

The Survey Follow-Up

So, when it’s all said and done how does a manager follow up on an employee survey?

Simple. Use the numbers. As I said earlier, we’re in the information age, and we’re a smarter, intellectual, and logical creature.

Officevibe’s own Jacob Shriar recently wrote an article discussing what a manager should do with the results of an employee survey. Within the article, he states that it is important to brainstorm and set goals with the data that is obtained.

There is so much data that is readily available to help make decisions that’ll affect an office, a workplace, a department, a company, in the long run.

The safest bet is to come up with plenty of fall back plans and make sure to test everything. Have a primary action plan, but make sure to have plan b, c, all the way down to z, just in case. And then set the goals that you want to see from those solutions.

Aside from obtaining data, observation will always be a great tool. Listen to your employees, read their feedback, and learn how decisions can help your company blossom.

No matter what you do, make sure that employees are coming first and that you’re creating an atmosphere that is productive for them, in order to get the results that you want to see.

Are Employee Surveys Effective?

Join the conversation on Twitter by contacting us @Officevibe or me personally @JeffFermin

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