Improving your employee feedback surveys

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In today’s working environment, it’s increasingly important to provide an active dialogue between employees and management in both open and confidential environments. Providing a space for employee voices to be heard has been proven to create a much more cohesive and productive workplace.


Employee surveys and Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM), is often the tool of choice to reduce the reliance and costs of traditional satisfaction research. Surveying employees keeps management informed about the organisation's strengths and weaknesses; the motivation and satisfaction levels of its staff; and highlights areas of the working environment that can be improved.


For HR and EFM managers, employee feedback surveys do not always have to be such a daunting task. Following a few simple guidelines makes creating, sending, analysing and following up on surveys a breeze.


 Step 1: planning & scheduling
  • To obtain successful results it is imperative time is invested in planning and preparation. Each survey created should have a clear objective and outcome attached to it. Ask yourself, ‘Why are we conducting this survey?’ and ‘What do we want to achieve from surveying our employees?’

  • In addition to conducting annual employee feedback surveys, why not augment these by creating short, frequent surveys related to employee working environment, training, etc?


Step 2: designing

  • The order of your questions is vital, so start your survey with a ‘warm up’ phrase to set the tone, asking simple, uncomplicated questions to ease respondents in gently. For example, ‘How satisfied are you with your working environment?’

  • Keep the survey ‘to the point’ and be clear how the information will be used, as employees will want to know whether their identity will be hidden or not. Your honesty will be recognised and will help the survey achieve more detailed, honest answers. Ultimately, you will find anonymous surveys will obtain the most accurate responses.

  • Semantics are often more important than statistics. It’s therefore extremely important that questions remain relevant, are easy to understand and avoid slang.


Step 3: distribution

  • Timing is crucial, so evaluate when you think is the best time to suit employees around meetings, company activities or known deadlines.

  • Try to avoid setting deadlines for your survey, as employees will often postpone answering due to work commitments or risk forgetting altogether. Instead, request that they answer as soon as possible.


Step 4: work with your results

  • The most important part of employee feedback surveys is not only the analysis of the results but also acting upon them accordingly.

  • Most companies conduct employee surveys in some shape or form, but studies show that nearly 25% of companies see ‘employee satisfaction rise’ through the use the feedback as a tool for decision making and improvements.

  • Telling your employees how they will benefit from improvements based on their feedback is the best motivation you can give. It will make them feel important and valued, and increases the chance that they will offer honest, detailed, feedback in the future.

  • We call this Ask & Act. First you Ask to collect business critical feedback – then you Act to turn your knowledge into results. Ask & Act should be a continuous process. Let employees know that you are listening to what they are saying, and that you are taking their input seriously!


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