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Developing and conducting employee surveys can help employers understand vital aspects of their organizations, such as worker satisfaction and company culture, as well as learn more about the employees who work there. It’s important to take note of how employees view their organizations because it can provide information on how to make the workplace more enjoyable, thus strengthening retention rates, improving morale and increasing productivity.
Routinely conducting employee surveys can help provide organizations with up-to-date feedback from their workers. These surveys can be conducted anonymously to encourage employees to communicate their experiences and opinions without fear of repercussion. This article provides more information on the benefits of employee surveys, outlines different types of such surveys and offers best practices for developing them.
Benefits of Employee Surveys
Employee surveys can provide employers with valuable workforce feedback they may not be able to receive otherwise. Organizations can experience several benefits from developing and conducting these surveys, including the following:
- Greater employee honesty—One of the top benefits of employee surveys is that they can empower workers to voice their opinions openly and honestly. While this is possible through one-on-one discussions and small groups, employees are more likely to share their true opinions when they can do so anonymously, especially if what they’re sharing reflects negatively on their organizations or the overall workforce experience.
- More big-picture thinking—When left unprompted, employees can get lost in day-to-day tasks without thinking of the larger picture, including how their daily activities contribute to organizational success. Employee surveys ask open-ended questions that can spark workers to speak about themselves in relation to the missions and goals of their organizations. This can add value because employees can then see how they contribute to large-scale company initiatives.
- Increased employee retention—Employee surveys can help improve worker retention because they can point out issues before they become larger problems for entire teams or companies as a whole. These surveys can help signal early warning signs for employers that their employees are dissatisfied or are considering leaving their roles.
- Expanded resolution capabilities—Employee surveys can be the next step in resolving issues within certain teams or organizational departments. They can help employers receive feedback about what issues employees may have with their organizations. These surveys are especially useful when employers are considering where they are and what they want to accomplish going forward.
No employee survey is perfect. For example, some employees may not participate, which can skew survey data. Employee surveys also have downfalls such as not being able to survey everyone, not providing clear results and not being capable of causing immediate change. It’s crucial for organizations to take these factors into account when looking at post-survey data pools and drawing conclusions.
Types of Employee Surveys
There are several different types of employee surveys, which can be adapted to best meet an organization’s unique needs. Key survey types include:
- Annual review surveys—These surveys are conducted to evaluate employees’ performance levels.
- Company culture surveys—Such surveys are conducted to measure how companies’ behaviors match their intended values.
- Employee engagement surveys—These surveys are conducted to measure whether employees feel valued, including by those in leadership roles.
- Employee satisfaction surveys—Such surveys are conducted to measure how employees feel in terms of job satisfaction characteristics, such as compensation, benefits and other work-related issues.
No one survey is alike; therefore, it’s best for employers to determine to the specific reasons they’re conducting employee surveys and for whom before selecting a survey type. Once an organization knows the type of employee survey it wants to conduct, it’s time to develop the survey.
Developing Employee Surveys
There are a number of things for organizations to keep in mind when developing employee surveys, including the following:
- Questions—The most essential part of an employee survey is the questions being asked. A survey should be composed of a core set of questions that can be compared over time (if it’s a survey conducted on a cyclical basis). In addition, questions should help create actionable feedback. Other questions within a survey can be based off timely topics or events. It can also be beneficial to leave room for open-ended feedback or remarks at the end of a survey to provide room for employees to voice additional concerns, opinions or feedback.
- Format—An employee survey’s format is important because it can skew workers’ responses; therefore, employers must carefully consider the right format for their surveys. This can be multiple choice, open-ended or a mix of both types of questions depending on the data being collected.
- Timing—It’s imperative for organizations to know when to conduct employee surveys. Something for employers to consider in terms of timing is the workplace events occurring in their organizations at the time. For example, employers may not want to survey employees about job satisfaction during the busiest part of the year when stress levels are at their highest.
- Length—Organizations can determine an appropriate length for their employee surveys based on how often these surveys occur. For example, annual review surveys should probably be longer, as workers are only sharing their feedback once a year. On the other hand, surveys sent out more frequently (e.g., quarterly employee engagement surveys) should be shorter.
Once an organization creates an employee survey, it’s ready to be conducted. When conducting a survey, an employer should clearly communicate the survey’s purpose to employees, encourage participation, emphasize anonymity and share results with the workforce after the data has been sorted. Regardless of the type of survey being conducted, it’s critical for an employer to implement improvements after conducting a survey. Making adjustments for the next survey can ensure the survey is pulling the most valuable information from surveyed employees, making this feedback increasingly useful.
Overall, developing and conducting employee surveys can provide feedback for employers to gain important insights and help implement workplace improvements. By using these surveys, employers can create spaces for employees to voice their opinions, which can help them feel more satisfied and engaged at work. In turn, this can aid employers in their attraction and retention efforts. For more information on employee surveys, contact RISQ Consulting.
By Jennifer Outcelt, Creative Content Architect
A man talks to the family doctor, “Doc, I think my wife’s going deaf.” The doctor replies, “Well, here’s something you can try to test her hearing. Stand some distance away from her and ask her a question. If she doesn’t answer, move a little closer and ask again. Keep repeating this until she answers. Then you’ll be able to tell just how hard of hearing she really is.” So, the man goes home and tries it out.
He walks in the door and says, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
He doesn’t hear an answer, so he moves closer to her. “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
Still no answer.
He repeats this several times, until he’s standing just a few feet away from her. “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
Finally, she answers, “For the ninth time, I said we’re having MEATLOAF!”
It’s a silly old joke, but one that might ring truer the older you get. And I’m talking about relevancy here, not an actual ringing in your ears. Though, you might have that too. Chances are, if you’re over 40, you are beginning your hearing loss journey. Of your 5 basic senses, hearing is one of the first to develop senioritis. It starts skipping classes, lacks motivation, and it’s performance dwindles. To be clear, I’m comparing this to a student in 12th grade. I would never dream of creating a metaphor involving the word “senior” in a thinly veiled plot to imply that you were becoming a senior citizen… (looks around nervously).
But hear me out here. Losing your hearing can impact way more of your life than just ignorance towards the menu items for the evening’s meal. And this fading out of the world around you does not happen overnight. It’s gradual and stealthy. In fact, you’ll never hear it coming until someone you love is shouting at you about meatloaf.
My dad (sorry, dad, I know you’ll read this) has been flighting with this reality for several years. His tinnitus and hearing loss have gotten worse from decades of loud machinery and even more decades of just plain life. We’ve begged him to hear reason and go get tested for hearing aids, but he would hear none of it. And I mean because he is stubborn, not because he didn’t hear us beg. At first, he claimed that everyone around him just mumbled. This caused him to be frustrated with family and friends and ultimately limited his ability to contribute to conversations in the lively and captivating ways he used to. I think he is starting to recognize the need for auditory assistance now, but it’s hard to get past the stigma of a hearing aid.
Losing your hearing might make you feel like you are broken or old, but if left to slowly fade to mute it can deprive you of way more than just sound. Apparently, it can lead to brain atrophy, loss of balance, dementia, social isolation, and depression. I found information about this in a study about the “Association of Hearing Loss With Psychological Distress and Utilization of Mental Health Services Among Adults in the United States”, and an brief article about “The Hidden Risks of Hearing Loss” that I think would be an interesting read for you. That is unless your eyes are also in senioritis mode… in which case, might I recommend glasses?
By Jennifer Outcelt, Creative Content Architect
[This infomercial is brought to you by: Music.]
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Music comes in all sorts of styles, tempos, and harmonies to fit everyone’s needs. We’ve got classical, pop, funk, country, rock, new-age, new-age-classical, pop-country, funky-pop, alternative-rock-funk-fusion with a new-age tune and country twang! We’ve got brilliant bands busting bombastic beats! We’ve got groovy guitarist greats getting Grammys! We’ve got rare rhythm recordings released recently reflecting refrains referenced from Ringo’s riffs. We’ve got it all!
We’ve got music guaranteed to boost your work productivity or your money back!
So come on down to the internet, where we store literally everything, and get your music today!”
[Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post]
Many people claim that music helps them focus better at work, but it’s hard to objectively pin point why, or if music is even a controlling variable at all. Some studies have shown an increase in productivity leading us to normalize music in the workplace. Employers are becoming much more comfortable allowing employees to listen to music at their desks or through headphones during work hours. Just listen to this satisfied employee from Initech.
“I was told that I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven, I told bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she’s filing then I should be able to listen to the radio while I’m collating, so I don’t see why I should have to turn down the radio because I enjoy listening at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven.” – Milton, Office Space
While music certainly seems to enhance focus at times, it can also take it away. There is a ton of history behind music and productivity and even more ambiguity around it’s true effects. Here is a fantastic article from the BBC that tunes in to this history and our society’s current view on music and productivity.