An organization’s workforce is its most important and unique asset.
As such, we must make every effort to effectively lead, support, motivate, empower and engage employees, and to maintain a keen awareness of what this “key asset” thinks and feels about the organization.
Surveying employees on a regular basis is a good way to gain this knowledge. This simple practice can put us in the best position to make the best decisions, and can better-enable us to optimize our efforts to bring about a culture of engagement and continuous improvement — a high-performance culture.
By gathering critical knowledge about what employees really think and how they feel about our organization, we can identify the true status-quo and the best areas on which to focus our improvement effort.
Additional benefits associated with regularly-conducted employee satisfaction surveys include:
- Maintain an accurate picture of current reality with respect to employee engagement
- Understand what employees value… the things that are most important to them
- Understand employee concerns and the magnitude of those concerns, and how to use this information to implement necessary changes and improvements
- Compile facts and data by which to measure the impact of changes
- Compile a relative ranking as to how our results compare to the “best” companies
In an earlier post, it was noted that gathering critical knowledge about what our employees and customers really think and feel about our organization and the way we do things can help us identify the true status-quo as well as the best areas on which to focus our improvement efforts. Along with customer satisfaction surveys, 360°Leadership Development Surveys and Employee Opinion Surveys were listed as effective tools.
Taking a closer look at Employee Opinion Surveys, there are a few additional thoughts and best-practices that can make a big difference in outcome.
For example, a number of organizations we’ve spoken with suggest that a once-per-year employee survey is not as effective as more frequent, more concise surveys. The contention is that the annual surveys are, by design, comprehensive and lengthy; by significantly reducing the number of questions and increasing the frequency (possibly from annual to quarterly or, as some suggested, monthly), leaders can focus-in on specific areas or opportunities for improvement and more easily measure and communicate results.
Many people also said the shorter surveys promote more participation among employees.
A recent e-how.com article lists a number of additional best practices that can help us increase the effectiveness of employee surveys, which include:
- Express the intention of each survey—employees can often be suspicious of surveys
- Ensure anonymity—employees can often fear reprisals
- Communicate honestly—especially as to improvements initiated as a result of the survey