Surveys are commonly used by market researchers to find out about prospective customers, but it’s not the only time an organization should consider using them. Surveys can be used to research opinions about the company from its own staff and figure out ways to improve working practices based on employee feedback. Results can be collected on paper or via digital methods.
The trick is to develop an engaging survey that asks this right questions so you get a good range of data that taps into the company psyche. In this article, we’ll look at how that’s done.
Asking the Right Questions
Surveys are always difficult to put together. It’s difficult to come up with really good questions. Sometimes we don’t get the answers we’d like from a survey, and that makes us nervous of asking the same questions next time around.
The truth hurts, especially when people have opinions about other staff. But staff surveys must dare to ask difficult questions. If they don’t, they’ll never result in meaningful change, and staff won’t bother to fill them in next time around.
- Like any good market research questionnaire, avoid loaded and leading questions.
- Make questions short, to the point and simple.
- Don’t make the survey so long that it intimidates staff.
Remember that not all employees in large organisations share the same standard of English, or speak English as their first language. Make sure you cater for everyone, and think about translating the survey for best results.
The second challenge in staff surveys is getting as many staff as possible to respond to your survey. After all, market research is only useful if it covers a wide enough audience as to represent a reasonable sample size.
There are lots of ways to encourage maximum engagement in a survey:
- Enlist ‘champions’ to promote the survey to teams and encourage responses from all staff. This is a tactic endorsed by Richard Lambert, as he explains in this interesting blog post.
- Consider running short surveys frequently, rather than one cumbersome survey every year or two.
- Create a survey that serves the needs of your organisation rather than comparing it to third party benchmarks.
Keep a basic record of engagement figures for the survey so that you can measure performance and look for ways to involve more people next time.
Combining Tactics For Staff Engagement
Employee engagement is achieved in many ways, and you’ll need more than an annual survey to get employees involved.
- Create a division of the human resources department just for engagement and surveys. Give the team the resources they need to prioritise engagement and act on feedback.
- Build surveys into a wider improvement programme that continually measures employees’ feelings and makes their voices heard.
- Prioritise the results and make sure action is always taken quickly after a survey.
- Don’t get too bogged down in analysis: review, respond and act.
Using these tactics, and your survey results, you can them move forward with positive change that’s tangible and benefits a majority of your workforce. The results will prove that surveys are not just for market research; they can benefit a business’ own staff at any stage of its lifecycle.