The Pros And Cons Of Employee Feedback Surveys

by Sabrina Son on Jan 14, 2015 8:00:00 AM

the advantages to employee feedback surveysEmployees have a lot to say about their workplace. Improvements, shout-outs, discontent—everyone needs an outlet to voice their opinion. So that’s when managers turn to employee surveys. It’s a tool with an endless list of advantages. But depending on someone’s perception, there are also disadvantages that come with these surveys.

A Cornell National Social Survey uncovers why employees withhold information:

  • 26% respondents withhold information about problems or ideas for workplace improvement due to a sense of futility
  • Futility was 1.8 times more common than fear as a reason for withholding

Employees are feeling like their feedback is not being taken seriously. It’s not that they don’t want to provide feedback, but managers aren’t backing these surveys up with any action. Let’s take a look at how surveys impact the workplace.

The Benefits

  • Improves organizational culture: Giving employees an anonymous voice allows them to bring up concerns and issues they’ve been holding back. And thanks to this feedback, managers can address the situation and find a solution.

  • Drives transparency: Surveys open up a line of communication between employees and managers. When done anonymously, they make employees feel less threatened that their feedback will result in negative consequences.

  • Increases engagement: Most employees won’t outwardly say to their boss, “I’m unhappy here.” But if given an anonymous survey, managers can be made aware of how their employees are actually feeling about the workplace. Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave.

The Obstacles

  • Costs money: Yes, employee feedback surveys can cost money. So in this sense, money does buy happiness. Companies that invest in their employees to keep them engaged reap the benefits of productivity, financial returns, and retention.

  • Takes time: Employees have to take time out of their busy day to answer the survey. But if the survey only has one simple question (like pulsing surveys), then workers don’t have to worry about spending a good chunk of their workday providing feedback.
  • Getting employees to buy in: Futility is the biggest obstacle. And it’s up to managers to crush that mindset. Managers need to show their employees that they’re doing something about their employees’ feedback to build trust. The more changes employees see, the more they’ll be encouraged to voice their opinions.

Employee feedback is critical in a workplace. Although it does have its obstacles, there are ways around them if you’re serious about listening to your employees. You have to be action oriented with the feedback. And when you are, you’ll gain happier employees.



Free Guide to Pulsing Employee Surveys
author avatar

This post was written by Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the managing editor for the TINYpulse blog. A Seattle native, she loves her morning (or anytime) coffee, spending her weekends on the mountains, and of course, the famous rain.

Connect with Sabrina