Give Employees a Voice

questionnaire and computer mouse, concept of online voting

Gain valuable insights to improve your company culture

Maybe you run a small company or manage a department in a Fortune 1000 corporation. In either case, one way you can recruit and retain talent and improve performance is by administering a survey to gauge your teams’ satisfaction and elicit feedback.

Types of employee satisfaction surveys

The first step is to determine what information you would like the survey to yield. An employee’s happiness with her job and the company? Employee input on ways to improve the business and production? Depending on the information you are looking for, you may want to design and administer a basic employee satisfaction survey, a business improvement survey, a 360-degree feedback survey, or—perhaps the best opportunity to garner unvarnished information—an exit interview survey.

Benefits of employee satisfaction surveys

People like to be listened to and have their perspective taken into account. Giving your team the opportunity to rate the organization, leaders, processes, HR policies, workflow, and a host of other measurements can help improve buy-in and increase and improve employee engagement.

A good survey will also provide hard data. You may discover that 80 percent of your staff would like more flexibility in their work schedule—which can be addressed and, as a result, increase job satisfaction, morale, and output.

Potential pitfalls of surveys

Employee surveys have inherent risks. What if the survey reveals that the majority of your staff is disillusioned with company leadership, or feels they are under-valued and underpaid? If you know in advance that you may not be able to raise salaries or influence who sits at the head table, for example, be ready to have an honest discussion at a company or departmental meeting about how the company is going to address the survey results. “Once you ask employees to complete a survey, you must follow up on the feedback or employees will be less likely to provide you with insight the next time,” says Evren Esen, director of workforce analytics at the Society for Human Resource Management. “Communication prior to, during, and after the survey is very important.”

How to design an employee satisfaction survey

You can design your own survey on an online platform such as SurveyMonkey. This has the advantage of maximum flexibility—you could choose one of the survey templates, design your own, or decide to use a combination. Make sure your survey allows for some open-ended questions.

Given that employee surveys can be fraught, you may want to consider hiring an HR consultant to develop a customized survey for your company or department, and to work with you on interpreting the results and planning follow-up steps.

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