4 Ways to Improve Your Employee Survey

4-Ways-to-Improve-Your-Employee-SurveyGathering employee feedback is an important step toward understanding and improving engagement.

If you’re already running regular employee surveys, take stock of the progress you’ve made and figure out where to go next. Small tweaks and changes in your surveys are all a part of making engagement work for your company; there’s always room for change and improvement. Here are four ways to make your current employee surveys even better.

Retarget Your Surveys

Specific questions are useful, so anything you ask should be narrow enough to avoid any confusion for employees. Take a look at the questions you’re asking to ensure they match the goals you want to reach. You may find that over time your questions have drifted, such as toward asking about what kind of paid-time-off programs would be useful for people when really you wanted to find out more about workplace flexibility.

If you start mixing up data from questions that don’t match up with goals you’ve set or the actions you’re willing to commit to, people will lose faith in the process. Revisit your questions and goals periodically to ensure your surveys stay useful.

Survey, Then Survey Again

It doesn’t hurt to pick one or two questions that you ask again and again over time to keep an eye on the sentiments employees have about working at your organization. Consistency throughout your surveys can help you get a long-term reading on employee engagement even as other things change.

Some of the most useful questions over time include “I know how my work upholds the company’s mission” and “I have a future at the organization,” with a 1-to-5 scale for responses. If your survey doesn’t include a question like this periodically, it should.

Check In After Change

When a company starts surveying, it can be tempting to flit from one topic to another and ask about every last thing to get a read on many different engagement factors. Stay strategic and focus on one or two areas where you want to improve; craft questions around those areas, and follow up by making the changes you’ve committed to.

After the changes have been made, check in again with employees to see if the changes have gone far enough, or if people have other ideas about what should be done, before moving on to another topic. Following through in this way will help employees understand you’re committed to changing things that can be changed, and making sure it’s done right.

Try a New Format

Keep the answers coming by trying different kinds of media and questions for your surveys. Periodic open-ended questions can get employees thinking in new ways and can spark brainstorming sessions or new ideas to approach old problems. Consider social survey tools that foster casual but useful conversations about issues and challenges departments are facing.

Keep in mind that when you change questions or formats, it can be difficult to compare data directly, and that it can be a challenge to score open-ended questions consistently over time. However, the answers you can get from new formats such as this can make the occasional change worth it.

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