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The Case for Employee Surveys
Posted by Insightlink on 10/14/14
Justifying an Employee Survey
There are many different reasons for conducting an employee survey. Some of these reasons include:
Keep in mind that your employees have to deal with everyday front-line problems in every corner of your business. In fact, employees at all levels are the key to effective performance improvement – they really know how things work and are best placed to identify and resolve the problems which are holding your organization back. If you can successfully engage your staff in driving performance improvement, you can create a catalyst for change across the entire organization. Their skills, knowledge, experience and creativity can be effective tools in assessing your work environment, so that your operations can become faster, cheaper, more efficient, more effective and more customer focused.
Why Employee Surveys Fail
A badly conducted survey can alienate the very people you need to ensure are involved in driving improvement - your employees. Employee surveys often fail by either not getting meaningful information or by not producing positive change within the organization. In our experience, though, the leading cause of unsuccessful survey efforts can be traced to the expectations under which management conducts an employee survey.
These types of surveys must be driven by a genuine desire on the part of management to improve working conditions and to do so by identifying and solving the key problems that their employees face. A survey initiative should never be used to find scapegoats for areas of dissatisfaction or be simply filed away and not referred to again.
Another leading cause of unsuccessful surveys is timing. It is typically not wise to conduct this type of survey during major labor negotiations, strikes, corporate restructuring, a merger or acquisition and/or efforts at downsizing. However, employee surveys can be effective for both setting a “baseline” measure prior to any important changes and for determining how well the changes were implemented after the fact.
Guiding Principles for Effective Surveys
Based our own experience, here are some key guidelines for success:
Getting Your Employees to Drive Performance Improvement
To reinterate, if you really want your employees to become involved in performance improvement, they need:
Creating Meaningful Action
Done well, an employee survey can give your organization vital information that is essential for building meaningful and positive change. Done poorly, an employee survey can inflict a great deal of damage on your organization. An effective survey needs careful thought and planning, followed by real action to address the issues raised. We always warn clients that if they don’t know what they are going to do with the results, they should not carry out a survey. With good planning and execution, an employee survey can provide fresh impetus for any organization at any stage in the improvement process. On the other hand, without effective planning, an employee can result in apathy, demotivation, resentment and a reluctance to participate in any future efforts.
At Insightlink, we are driven by a passion to provide our clients with expertise in survey design, data collection and analysis that will lead to real change within their organizations time after time.
“An employee survey is like having fire available to you. If handled right, it can be an invaluable resource that will transform your organization but, if handled poorly, it can burn you!”
AboutInsightlink 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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