How to conduct effective staff surveys?

Engagement survey, satsifaction survey, managment tool

There may be various reasons for conducting personnel surveys, starting from the desire to significantly involve people in management processes and the realization that the company will not be able to achieve its best results without doing so, to the fact that research is prescribed by a corporate authority. Mapping and developing the employee experience is one of the important current trends in the field of human resources, and the ongoing shortage of employees together with the global talent hunt makes the topic relevant for all managers and personnel specialists.


Involvement and commitment or overall employee experience?

The size of the study to be planned depends on the purpose of the study. However, it would be good not only to stick to the most pressing problems and old practices, but also to extend the scope of the study to the widest possible range of topics. Good customer experience is based on the motivated employee experience, and the more precisely all areas of working life are mapped, the better management quality we can offer as an employer.

Of course, the needs and situations are different. A quick pulse study on a specific topic provides a much more effective basis for an operational decision than just the management’s opinion on the topic.

The general recommendation is to cover as many of the spheres of working life as possible when planning the study, and to take into account the holistic picture of the person as much as possible. Employee well-being and mental health must be seen as a strategic resource, measured and developed alongside other assets at the company’s disposal.

What does it all cost?

The cost of the study and the time required should be balanced against the benefits of the study. Companies that contribute to the involvement of their people through the use of research results are economically more successful. With this knowledge, we could consider the cost of employee surveys as an investment.

Today’s trend towards closer communication from annual surveys does not really increase the total annual cost, as the results are easily obtained and are fresher and faster to use. On a daily basis, a survey offers real-time results for a comparable investment.

During the health crisis, employees in the field of personnel have creatively found opportunities to compile and conduct research themselves. The choice of using ready-made technological solutions and making them yourself could be a strategic consideration. Is it cheaper to do it yourself or to use the time spent by HR specialists for preparation and presentation on something else? It’s important to plan enough time for internal communication before the start of the study and more importantly – to work with the results of the study.

Quick and easy

Employees are happy to share their opinions if it’s easy and painless to pose questions. Submitted links should work for the first time and ideally work without the need to log in. The more often we want to reach our people with research, the more we have to rely on the help of technology as a communication channel. In return, technology allows us to process information faster and use the results.

It’s more difficult to get feedback from those who don’t use screens in their work on a daily basis. A paper questionnaire is better than not asking at all, but it is not a sustainable solution. In June, Walmart bought smartphones for its 740,000 employees to have a channel of communication with offline employees. For example, closed groups on social media platforms are used as an information channel for the employer. The need to reach your people on a daily basis drives you to use technology.

Once a technical solution has been found, it is easy to follow the recommendation to move towards a tighter communication schedule. The recommended weekly cycle can also be daily when working digitally. In this way, we are able to cover more topics and answering one or a few questions at a time is no longer seen as a tedious obligation.

Dare to be honest

The employee survey reveals and maps the company’s internal culture and morals. It can happen that people do not feel safe enough in the company to provide open and critical feedback and prefer to give the “right answers”. In this case, managers need to have a look in the mirror. This does not mean that there is no point in doing research, but that there is a need to focus on building trust and making culture more open. Changes don’t happen quickly, but the company has much more to gain than just honest answers and a sense of team security.

The manager’s resolve and the reasons why the surveys are conducted and how the results are used will help to decipher the study for employees. By believing in the usefulness of the study, the manager can persuade the team to think along. If the manager does not believe and is not aware of his role, results will not be achieved.

Anonymous surveys help employees to open up and speak more boldly. If the purpose of the study is achieved with anonymous answers, let it be the way to go. However, some surveys require a personalized response, in which case communication plays an even greater role.

I have a suggestion!

When asking questions, it’s a good practice to offer the opportunity to leave a comment. If a communication channel has already been established, the result should be maximized and, together with the question, respondents should be encouraged to make their own suggestions. The way we work and how we work has changed, and all the collective wisdom must be used to adapt more successfully to new circumstances. We can be sure that our people are discussing how to work better during their coffee and smoke breaks, even in companies where personnel surveys are not used at all. It would be good to hear from them.

Not the right answers, but the right questions

The choice and wording of the right questions cannot be overstated. Every company has its own face and its field of activity also creates its own substantive and verbal framework. A good example is the use of the word “company” or “institution”, which can instantly nullify the willingness of some public sector employees to participate. When preparing surveys, the ready-made questions of service providers should be reviewed and adapted as appropriate. The content or tone of the question may change over time and need to be updated. The purpose of the study is the most essential and allows us to formulate the best questions.

Index or content

The results of the selected study could be simple and understandable to all parties. Many of the studies used so far provide a numerical result that needs to be interpreted separately to identify strengths and weaknesses. More and more solutions are coming to the market that, instead of an index or a ratio, explore different topics and areas of working life. They are also easier to understand for those team members who are not involved in feedback research on a daily basis.

In summary

The benefits of employee involvement are reflected in both the company’s financial performance and the team’s well-being. People’s well-being, professional development opportunities, and management quality help to grow the team and keep talents in the company for longer. In order to prevent a gap between the manager’s perception and the actual opinion of the team, it is essential to map the employee experience and act on the information received.

Pille Parind-Nisula

Engagement survey, satsifaction survey, managment tool
Engagement survey, satsifaction survey, managment tool
Engagement survey, satsifaction survey, managment tool