How to Create Employee Surveys With Business Impact

December 17th, 2020

Surveys are as much a part of the human resources lifecycle as open enrollment and annual reviews. Unfortunately, so many surveys are little more than checklist exercises that rarely make a difference.

“Organizational surveys are at their best when they provide more insight than just the current state of engagement,” writes Dr. Sarah Johnson on TrainingMag. Yet too many surveys “do little to provide new insights or prompt the organization toward meaning improvements.”

That can be fixed, says Johnson, VP of enterprise surveys and analytics, Perceptyx, with “a few simple changes.”

Her article, “3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Employee Surveys,” explains how HR professionals can create a survey program that is meaningful and makes a positive difference.

Despite the title, Johnson’s suggestions, are not snap-your-fingers simple. They require research to craft a survey that will deliver results that matter, then distilling the data into a presentation that managers will embrace and use to create action plans they will actually implement.

In creating the survey, Johnson says to set aside the usual advice about keeping the survey brief:

“While that may make some sense if all we want to do is collect data to track a metric, it doesn’t do much to create survey impact. Surveys have impact if they collect data on issues that matter to the organization and when they provide insights into critical challenges that lead to problem solving.”

Gather information on the daily challenges managers and employees face, she advises. Review the company strategy and involve senior leaders to discover what information would be of greatest value to them.

Craft your survey based on the company needs.

Once the survey data is gathered, Johnson says it’s critical to make it easy for managers to understand and communicate the results to their employees. She suggests creating a dashboard that describes the key takeaways and findings. Put together a presentation-ready set of results and talking points for the managers.

Then, she says, help them put together an action plan to address the issues. “Encourage managers to adopt a 3-step process to action planning:

  1. Identify 1 issue from the survey results.
  2. Plan 2 actions to address it.
  3. Follow up with the team 3 times to discuss the progress of the action plan.

Her third recommendation for improving the value of surveys is to combine the results with data HR already has in the HR information system. That, says Johnson, provides all the analytical tools you need to develop insights around such HR issues as turnover, productivity and the customer experience.

“Think of your organization’s survey program as not only a valuable tool that helps managers troubleshoot organization challenges and engage with employees to implement improvements, but also as the engine for an HR analytics program.”

Photo by Celpax on Unsplash

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