Employee surveys: are you asking the right questions?

4 November 2021

By Claire Weekes

Did you know only 22% of companies get good results from their employee surveys? That’s according to a survey (ironically) of 3,000 HR executives.

It may sound surprising, given surveys are often key to gauging the ‘mood’ within an organisation – even more so as we continue to feel our way around new ways of working. And so the big question is, how can we be better at them?

The answer might be simpler than you think. While a lot of teams spend hours agonising over how to make sure survey engagement rates are high, what’s sometimes overlooked is the actual questions themselves.

 

Show you care

Traditionally, surveys have been used to gauge opinion on the practical aspects of the job (for example; ‘how good is your manager at setting goals?’ or ‘do you have enough regular contact with your team?’). What they sometimes fail to drill down into is the more personal stuff that affects colleagues’ performance and productivity day-to-day. Bear in mind that post-pandemic, we live in a world where open conversation around mental health and wellbeing is welcomed much more than it would have been say, ten years ago. People want you to care about how they are. People are also much more likely to respond to survey questions if they’re focused on themselves, as opposed to the organisation itself.

Often, employee surveys also fail to generate enthusiasm because respondents don’t believe anything is going to change off the back of the results. And if you’re asking what can be seen as vague questions in the first place, it’s easy to see why they might think this. Imagine asking the question ‘on a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you trust your leadership team?’ Is there any point in actually asking that question if you (or your colleagues) have no idea how you’d turn the results into any form of tangible action?

Now think about how you might ask more meaningful questions, focused on your employees and that will generate answers you can work with. Questions that really hone-in on their struggles and challenges and just as importantly, help you understand how you might fix them. Questions such as:

 

Reap the benefits

Asking questions like these can actually help you continually shape and evolve your reward and benefit plans too – and make decisions that make a real difference to wellbeing. By asking the right questions, you can drill down into the nitty gritty of what your employees would like to see you offer – benefits that don’t just enhance their life at work, but their overall lives too and that of their families.

Of course, there is a place for asking those all-important questions around the practical day-to-day, and questions that might help decide the future of your organisation as a whole. But the next time you are involved in the creation of an employee survey, think about how you can also ask questions that a) show your colleagues you really care and b) that produce results you can use to evolve a supportive, nurturing and rewarding environment. You might just be surprised by the results.

 

If done right, surveys can provide valuable insight

Want to find out more about asking the right questions in your next employee survey? We have the answers – come chat to us about the outcome you’re looking for.

Claire Weekes

Associate Employee Communications Consultant

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