How to Maximize Response, Boost Workers’ Morale, and Create a Follow-up Plan from Employee Survey Results
Whether it’s in order to redesign their intranet or test the temperature of employee engagement, companies are sending surveys to get answers. Asking your employees their thoughts and ideas makes sense because your employees have great feedback to offer. Why? Because they’re now in the office environment on a daily basis and see things happening in the organization that you don’t. Their perspectives are valuable, and you should take advantage of their wisdom.
There are, however, a couple of matters you may want to consider before sending out a questionnaire:
Too Many Surveys?
The first problem is that people are asked their opinion all the time — retailers and restaurants are constantly finding ways to ask customers their views. People these days cannot click, swipe or shell out cash without being asked a bunch of questions:
- “Did you like the restaurant?”
- “What do you think about the app?”
- “Tell us your opinion about your shopping experience!”
Sound familiar? Think of how many times you have clicked to take a survey, or listened to the pitch of a checkout person who then asks you to give them a good score. In fact, survey company SurveyMonkey says it collects nearly two million survey responses every day. We are over-survey-whelmed.
Are Surveys a Waste of Time?
The other problem with surveys is many employees think they are a waste of time, using this logic: a company takes time to send a survey, the employees answer all of the questions, and then nothing changes. Creating a surveys involves a lot of effort, so what is the point of going through the hassle of then collecting information if you aren’t going to act on it?
In addition, employees don’t appreciate being ignored. In fact, they will be angry, hurt and insulted with the company’s non-action. They will also wonder: “Why did you bother asking me for information that you will not use?”
So if people are overwhelmed by the number of surveys available — and frustrated by the lack of action on their opinions — as a leader, how do you get employees to take your survey?
Motivating Workers to Click on Those “Radio” Buttons
In order to get employees to take your survey, you need to set expectations, as follows:
- Explain why you are sending the survey, and what will become of the information they provide. If people know you have a plan in place for their information, they will be more likely to take part.
- At the same time, you need to actually do as you say, and use that information. Basically, tell people what you are going to do. Then do it – and then follow up on what you did. If you do not follow through, future survey response – and engagement – will be negatively impacted.
- In addition to your post-survey plan, you also need to pay attention to how your survey is constructed – mainly the length. The more questions you have, the less time employees will spend on each question.
- And people will give much more attention to the first question of a survey than the last question. As people start getting bored or uninterested in your survey, the results will become less accurate, since employees rush through in an effort to finish.
Boost your Survey Credibility
There are four survey basics that will boost your organization’s survey credibility:
- Only ask questions you are willing to act on. Questions that aren’t acted on make employees wonder why you asked them in the first place, thus creating disengagement. For example, if you don’t have resources to redesign your intranet, don’t ask employees if they want a new intranet!
- Do not ask any more questions than you need. Only ask questions based on the information you need — no more.
- Tell the survey-takers the results. Sharing results creates trust between the surveyors and the survey-takers. Employees will be more likely to share their thoughts in the future if they have trust in the process.
- Build a Plan to Act on Results. Once the results are shared, a plan to act on those results must also be disseminated and put into place. This is important. Why? Because the point of your survey is to change or tweak something within your organization.
Just because you can send a survey doesn’t automatically mean that you should. Be thoughtful and careful when making this decision: it’s not just about the survey, it’s about crucial parts of worker engagement: giving employees the opportunity to both make a difference, and feel that their voice is heard.16