This document provides a step by step guide
to help implement a survey that will bring considerable benefits
to any organization.
Step 1 - Identifying The Need
The reasons an organization would need a survey are as wide
and they are long. Listed here are a few of the common reason
why staff satisfaction surveys are conducted.
If your organization is about to embark, or is going through,
a change management program employee surveys can assist
in managing the change, measuring the effectiveness of the
change, help to deliver a 'message' and gather valuable
feedback throughout the change cycle. For organizations
that are experiencing rapid growth employee surveys can
monitor internal communications and management structures
to ensure that employees are aware of their reporting and
management responsibilities. Where an organization is suffering
from poor moral brought on by either internal or external
influences an employee survey can be used to identify the
specific concerns of employees so those concerns can be
properly addressed. Where there is an increase in turnover
of staff employee surveys can help an organization identify
the underlying cause of employee unrest and through their
findings help find solutions.
As part of a periodic assessment, surveys will help an
organization review their personnel and monitor on an individual
level job satisfaction, training and career development.
Employee surveys also offer senior management the opportunity
to look at the soft underbelly of their organization to
confirm that their 'top down' view of the organization matches
the reality and 'bottom up' perspective. With the help of
employee surveys an organization can establish good employer/employee
communication that will in turn bring both direct and indirect
Step 2 - Management Buy-In
Management buy-in is always desirable for any initiative
and many will argue that it is essential to ensure a successful
employee survey, however, in some instances the findings of
an employee survey can lead to kick-starting a management
that has grown complacent and detached from their employees.
Some organization may be fortunate in that the senior management
recognize and drive the need for employee surveys, while in
others the management may need to first be convinced of the
direct and indirect benefits an employee survey will bring.
The level of management commitment to an employee survey will
have some bearing on the nature of the survey and to some
extent will help determine what questions are to be asked
and the manner they are asked. A management that is supportive
of the initiative may require feedback on specific areas of
the business or they may give the go ahead because they feel
confident that the results will only confirm that the level
of employee satisfaction throughout the organization is high.
In nearly all cases it is good practice to at least try and
get management to buy-in to the employee survey from the very
start as they have a lot to gain and are in a position to
effect any change that is later identified as being required.
Step 3 - Designing The Survey
Designing a good survey will take some time and effort but
by following the basics of survey design and concentrating
on the 'need to know' questions and removing the 'nice to
know' a survey will rapidly take shape. Determining the exact
questions that should be asked will be entirely dependent
on the individual organization, its structure and the previously
identified primary need and objectives of the employee survey.
When considering what questions to ask consideration should
be given to how the results are to be analyzed. For example
there may be a desire to ask for individual comments but these
types of answer formats can be very time consuming and cumbersome
to analyze and should therefore be avoided or used sparingly.
With online surveys it is generally better to do a few smaller
surveys than one very long survey as the longer the survey
the higher the drop out rate will be.
Step 4 - Proof Reading And Testing Grammar, Spelling And
Before publishing the survey make a careful check for spelling
and typing mistakes and incorrect grammar. If available it
is always better to have someone who has not been involved
in designing the survey to proof read the survey with clean
eyes, if no one is available try to take a break before checking
through the survey again.
Say What You Mean And Mean What You Say:
When checking the survey you need to consider the survey
from the viewpoint of the respondent, you may know what
you mean by each question but will the questions be clear
to the employee?
Allow The Employee To Answer Truthfully:
For closed questions where the employee will be required
to choose from a number of available responses have you
allowed the employee to answer accurately? Make use of responses
like 'Don't know', 'No comment' or 'Not Applicable' where
you have made the question mandatory but the employee may
not be able to answer. Consider allowing the employee to
include an 'Other' answer but also appreciate that 'Other'
answers will add to the complexity when analyzing the survey
Don't Require A Response To Questions That May Not
Check that for any questions that you have made mandatory
you do require an answer, for example open questions such
as asking for additional comments should not be mandatory
unless you definitely require the respondent to write a
Check You Will Be Able To Analyze The Data:
Check through the survey again but this time looking at
how the results of the survey will be analyzed. Consider
how you are likely to want to analyze the survey data, have
you asked the right questions to be able to perform detailed
analysis? For example if you wanted to view the detailed
response data from the perspective of the different genders,
or maybe departments, check you have asked the employee
to indicate their own gender and/or department.
Don't Ask Anymore Questions Than You Need To:
Consider all the questions in the survey and look for questions
that are not 'need to know'.
Test The Link And Try Completing The Survey:
Publish the survey and then send the survey's link to a
number of people who will be willing to test the survey.
By completing the survey yourself you will get a feel for
how the respondent will view the survey. From your own and
others feedback stop and make adjustments to the survey
as required. Repeat this process until you are happy with
Check The Data:
Take time to view the online summary results of the test
data and confirm that the data is being collected in a manner
that can be properly analyzed and that will give meaningful
Step 5 - Promoting And Deploying The Survey
Where all or the majority of employees have access to the
internet or company intranet deploying the online survey is
as easy that ABC, either via email or by establishing a link
to the survey from your own website or Intranet. Where there
are some or many employees that do not have direct access
to the internet there are a number of alternatives that can
be used from issuing the survey in printed form, providing
a shared terminal or giving them an incentive to complete
the survey at home.
There is a choice to allow all surveys to be completed anonymously.
Allowing a survey to be anonymous may encourage employees
to speak their minds enabling the survey to provide 'a warts
and all' report, in turn giving management an opportunity
to address underlying problems before they become serious.
However, allowing anonymous comments also allows employees
to be more cavalier and flippant with their responses. Some
organizations would therefore only want to consider comments
where employees are prepared to stand by their convictions
and that will also provide an opportunity to follow up the
specific concerns of individual employees. The decision to
allow anonymous responses or not will, among other factors,
be down to the individual organization, the specific nature
of the survey, the surrounding circumstances, the management
style and the existing employer/employee relationship.
Step 6 - Monitoring The Survey
While the survey is in progress you will be able to view
the summary results online and also monitor in real-time the
number of surveys that have been both started and completed.
If after a few days the number of completed surveys falls
short of the expected target it is advisable to send periodic
reminders to employees asking them to complete the survey.
Step 7 - Analyzing The Results
There are no hard and fast rules for analyzing the data.
Much depends on the individual survey, the questions asked
and the number of responses. Most surveys will benefit from
many of the results being displayed in graphical as well as
tabular form. When first analyzing survey data often a number
of 'headline' results will immediately stand out that will
provide you with a general overview and, providing the right
questions have been asked, give you an instant assessment
of the mood throughout the organization as a whole. Where
the results give areas of concern a more detailed analysis
may be advisable. For example if employees were asked if they
felt the organization provided equal opportunities to both
genders and 25% gave a negative response it would be useful
to know the gender split of the organization and also to look
at what the gender split was of the 25% that answered negatively.
Was the negative view shared by employees of both genders,
evenly spread throughout the organization, or of a particular
gender from a particular department? There is a method of
reporting that presents the result data in tabular and/or
graphical form allowing those who are interested in the results
to view the raw data. Often used as a compliment to the first,
another method is to interpret the results and provide an
analysis of the data and offer a view as to what the meaning
is behind the results, what circumstances may have contributed
to the results being as they are and, where the results indicate
a negative, what initiatives could be taken. Such analysis
if done by a single individual is likely to be very personal,
if done by a committee it is still likely to be objective
and therefore open to interpretation.
Step 8 - Further Action
Probably the most important step is the last. An employee
survey will either confirm that the perfect organization exists
or it will highlight areas that are less than perfect by identifying
individual and common concerns. It may be that further more
detailed surveys are required that target specific areas.
For example the survey may reveal that employees working in
a particular department are collectively unhappy, but the
reasons for their dissatisfaction may not be clear. A smaller,
specifically targeted follow-up survey may help reveal the
root causes. When employee surveys are periodically run an
organization that has taken steps to address issues will see
their efforts reflected in subsequent survey responses. Almost
all organizations have some problems and it helps an organization's
moral to see that a channel is available that will allow problems
to be highlighted, addressed and resolved.
These guidelines are intended to help an organization conduct
successful staff satisfaction surveys, they are however, only
a guide. Each organization is different in style and structure
and the organizations 'personality' will go someway to influencing
the tone and nature of the survey and organizations will have
many different circumstances and primary reasons for conducting
a survey. By utilizing existing technology and conducting
surveys online you are now able to monitor the heart beat
of an organization, quickly, easily and, by using online tools,
at minimal cost.
Trial an Australian-built
staff survey tool:
PeoplePulse is an Australian-built online
survey tool that is currently used by over 200 Australian
and New Zealand based organisations of all sizes to conduct
online staff surveys. The tool can be used by HR to conduct
cost effective staff climate surveys, training needs analysis
surveys, exit surveys, and 'new starter' feedback surveys
... to name a few popular uses.
complete the form below to arrange your FREE custom-branded
staff survey software demonstration and a PeoplePulse
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completing the form below, a PeoplePulse representative
will contact you to discuss your needs and current situation.
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above demonstration request form was powered by PeoplePulse.
written By Mr M Day.