Employee engagement surveys are a great launching point for making company improvements. They can help you get a solid idea of how your employees feel about their jobs. But surveys have to be done right in order for them to actually work. Handling them can be tricky, so here are some tips on what to avoid when you’re conducting your survey:
1. Confusing questions: The key to getting helpful feedback is to make your questions as clear and specific as possible. For example, if you ask employees to rate their leadership, are you referring to their direct supervisor or the head of the department? If your employees have to guess what you mean, chances are they won’t all guess right, and their responses won’t be useful. And don’t ask generic questions like “What are we doing well?” That’s so vague as to be useless.
2. What’s the point?: Don’t forget about transparency. Make sure your employees know why you’re asking for feedback and what you’re using it for. This includes making it clear when you’re looking at the results and what your plan of action will be afterward. When employees know why they’re doing something, they’ll be more willing to participate and help out.
3. Making assumptions: Don’t jump the gun with less-than-great feedback. If employees give low ratings to “I feel prepared to do my job well,” look into the reasons before jumping to wrong conclusions. The cause can be as simple as not having access to the proper technology or wanting insight into how other teams operate. Being able to identify the cause of your survey results can also help direct your plan of action.
4. All talk, no action: Surveys only have a real effect when you do something with them. Analyze your results, then form a plan of action on how to tackle the problem spots. If your employees say that they don’t feel informed about company decisions, invite them to sit in on more meetings. Being transparent about your action plan is a key point too. Don’t forget to share the results of your survey with employees; this helps build trust and shows that you’re seriously taking their voices into consideration.
5. Surveys only: Don’t limit yourself when it comes to improvement methods. Surveys are a great way to get a company-wide look at things, but they’re not the be-all and end-all of engagement solutions. Supplement them with other strategies, like setting up focus groups or talking to employees directly. Every company and its workers are unique, so it makes sense that different methods will yield different results. Figure out what works best for your organization.
What it all comes down to is this: surveys don’t work without good communication. Share what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what employees can expect next. That’s the only way you’ll be able to leverage surveys to their full potential.
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