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Avoid These Common Mistakes When Creating an Employee Survey

Posted by Insightlink on 08/24/23

Employee surveys are powerful tools for gaining valuable insights into your organization's culture, employee satisfaction, and areas for improvement. However, creating an effective employee survey requires careful consideration and planning. Inexperienced individuals often fall into common pitfalls that can undermine the survey's effectiveness and credibility. In this post, we'll explore the many mistakes that inexperienced people make when creating an employee survey and how to avoid them. 

common survey mistakes

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

1. Lack of Clear Objectives:

One of the most significant mistakes is not having clear objectives for the survey. Before you even start crafting questions, ask yourself: What do you want to learn from this survey? Whether it's assessing employee engagement, identifying workplace issues, or measuring the effectiveness of a recent change, having well-defined goals will shape the entire survey process. 

2. Using Biased Language:

The way you phrase your survey questions can unintentionally lead respondents to answer in a certain way. Biased or leading questions can skew results and fail to provide accurate insights. Inexperienced creators might inadvertently insert their own opinions or assumptions into the questions, which compromises the survey's validity. Always strive for neutral and unbiased language. 

3. Overloading with Too Many Questions:

Long surveys can lead to respondent fatigue and incomplete answers. A common mistake is trying to gather too much information in a single survey. Keep your survey concise by focusing on key areas of interest. Remember, quality matters more than quantity. 

4. Neglecting Survey Flow and Structure:

The flow of your survey matters. Jumping between topics without a logical sequence can confuse respondents and lead to disengagement. Start with general questions before diving into more specific ones, and maintain a logical order throughout the survey. Also avoid mixing scales within the survey which can introduce bias and confusion.

5. Ignoring Anonymity and Confidentiality:

Employees might hesitate to provide honest feedback if they fear their responses will not be kept anonymous or confidential. Inexperienced survey creators might overlook the importance of clearly communicating these assurances. Addressing this concern can significantly improve the honesty and quality of the responses you receive. 

6. Neglecting Pilot Testing:

Skipping the pilot testing phase is a recipe for disaster. Testing your survey on a small group of individuals before launching it company-wide helps identify confusing questions, glitches in the survey platform, and any other issues that might arise. This step allows you to refine the survey before it reaches a larger audience. 

7. Failing to Follow Up:

Creating a survey isn't a one-and-done task. Inexperienced survey creators often forget the importance of communicating the survey results to employees and implementing changes based on the feedback received. Employees need to see that their input matters and leads to action. 

8. Disregarding Data Analysis:

Collecting data is only half the battle. Inexperienced creators might struggle with the data analysis process. Use appropriate tools to analyze the data, identify trends, and draw meaningful conclusions. Consider seeking the assistance of professionals if needed. 

9. Not Learning from Previous Surveys:

If your organization has conducted surveys before, it's crucial to review past surveys and their outcomes. Neglecting to learn from previous mistakes and successes can lead to the repetition of errors and a lack of progress. 

10. Forgetting to Communicate the Purpose:

Employees are more likely to participate in a survey if they understand its purpose and how the results will be used. Transparent communication about the survey's objectives and potential impact can increase engagement and participation rates. 

In conclusion, creating an employee survey is a nuanced process that demands careful planning, thoughtful question construction, and a commitment to data-driven action. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your survey provides accurate insights that contribute to positive changes within your organization.



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Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

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