In an article at CiB, website of the British Association of Communicators in Business, Martin Day provides a step-by-step guide to running employee satisfaction surveys.
Day points out that surveys are now easy to do through hosted survey websites on the internet such as Survey Galaxy Ltd., of which he is a Director. The site allows anyone to create, design and publish online surveys. Employees can be sent links to the specific survey, and can complete it online. The site then provides a report.
Following are Day’s guidelines for conducting an employee satisfaction survey.
1. Identify why the survey is needed.
The event driven survey is called for when the organization:
- is about to start or is going through change management, to measure the effectiveness of the change and gather feedback through the change cycle;
- is experiencing rapid growth, to monitor internal communication and management structures and ensure employee awareness of reporting and management responsibilities;
- is suffering from poor morale, to identify employee concerns and how they can be addressed; or
- is experiencing increased staff turnover, to identify the causes of employee unrest and help find solutions.
The periodic survey is used to assess personnel on job satisfaction, training and career development, giving senior management a “bottom up” view of the organization, and helping establish good employer/employee communication.
2. Get management to buy in to the survey.
Management has to be convinced of the benefits of an employee survey because they are the ones to implement any changes that may arise from the results. Findings may also be a wake-up call for management that has “grown complacent and detached from their employees.”
3. Determine the survey design.
Concentrate on priority questions based on the identified need and objectives of the survey and on how the results are going to be analyzed. Avoid time-consuming answer formats, such as individual comments, that are also difficult to analyze.
Online, a few smaller surveys are more effective than one very long survey because longer surveys have higher drop out rates.
4. Proofread and test the survey.
Check the grammar, spelling and clarity of questions from the employees’ point of view.
Provide responses like “Don’t know” or “Not applicable” to enable respondents to reply accurately. When adding “Other” as a response, take into consideration how this will make analysis more complex.
Check whether the questions will provide responses required for a detailed analysis, e.g., if you want to analyze results by gender and by department, check whether you have asked respondents to indicate their gender and department.
Remove unnecessary questions.
Publish the survey and send the link to testers. Get feedback and adjust the survey accordingly.
Check the online summary results of the test to confirm if data collected gives meaningful results.
5. Promote and deploy the survey.
If employees have access to the internet or the company intranet, send the survey link by email or put the link on the company website or intranet. Otherwise, a shared terminal may be provided or the survey may be printed out.
The company has to decide whether or not to allow anonymous responses. Anonymity may encourage employees to be more outspoken. On the other hand, it may also allow respondents to be flippant.
6. Monitor the survey.
Online summary results are viewable in real time while the survey is in progress. If the number of responses fall short of expectations, employees should be reminded to take the survey.
7. Analyze survey results.
Survey results may be displayed in graphical and tabular form. When areas of concern are uncovered, more detailed analysis is recommended.
8. Take further action.
When necessary, more detailed surveys should be undertaken as a follow up to shed more light on areas of concern.
In general, the survey is a medium to root out, address and resolve organizational problems and will result in improved employee morale.