Important Planning and Design Steps in Targeted Employee Survey Program (Part II of II)

A targeted employee survey program requires careful planning and communications prior to launching the survey program. Employee engagement in response to a specific survey requires transparent and robust explanations and assurances. In the absence of appropriate communications and assurances, employee response rates may decline. Employees have to understand why the survey is being conducted, whether anonymity will be protected, and how the results will be used to remediate any specific concerns uncovered during the survey.

CCOs and HR professionals should develop a survey analytics framework to monitor and report on culture trends.  Based on this data, CCOs and HR professionals may fashion specific remediation steps.  Specific survey questions can be used to uncover potential problems, combined with turnover, retention and engagement rates.

Company leaders should participate and reinforce any messaging encouraging employees to respond to surveys. Senior leadership support for the survey program is an important requirement for the ultimate success of the survey program. In this respect, senior leaders have to explain the importance of the survey and the survey results.

CCOs and HR professionals should share survey results to confirm the importance of participation.  In addition, CCOs and HR professionals should explain any remediation plans to address any engagement deficiency.

Targeted surveys should consist of ten to fifteen concise questions that are clear and unambiguous. A survey should only require 5 to ten minutes to complete. The survey questions should include open-ended questions, as well as multiple choice and rating responses. Quantitative results can be tracked easily and trends defined over specific time periods.

Some important questions and topics are set forth below:

Perception of leadership and management: Employees look to company leaders and senior management to set the tone for the company, demonstrate a commitment to ethical conduct, and define the company’s overall mission. 

A targeted survey should ask employees if they understand the company’s mission and its objectives.  Employees want to believe in the mission of the company.  A defined and tangible mission provides purpose for employees. When employees can connect their specific jobs to the organization’s overall mission and values, employees level of satisfaction increases.

Additionally, employees should be asked if they believe the company’s leaders are committed to ethics and integrity.

Further, employees should be asked if the company’s leaders are accessible and engaged with employees or are isolated in the C-Suite.  In this respect, surveys often ask employees if they feel their supervisors and leaders care about their employees.

Middle managers and supervisors: Employees should be asked about their immediate supervisors and whether the supervisor cares about the employee, and the employee’s career path and opportunities.  Employees may have specific responses to whether his/her supervisor cares about the employees work and life balance. Also, employees should be questioned if their opinions and observations are valued by the company.

Misconduct and reporting: Employees should be asked if they have observed any misconduct (as defined under the organization’s code of conduct or law), whether they would report the misconduct and how they would do so (e.g. hotline, report to supervisor or HR/Compliance). In addition, employees should be asked if the organization’s investigative and disciplinary systems operate fairly and promptly.

Employee perception and experience: Employees have specific needs and desires.  It is important for the company to address those needs and desires as they relate to their job and their families. Employees desire to express their experience at the company.  An open-ended question should be included on whether an employee finds meaning in his/her work.  If an employee finds a purpose in his/her work, employees are more likely to perform at a higher level and productive.  Employees that identify a positive work culture are more satisfied with their own work experience.

Further, employees want to work at an organization that is committed to diversity and inclusion principles. Therefore, it is important that an employee perceives he/she is accepted as part of the workplace community.  A question crafted to this issue should be included.

Employee appreciation: Employees want to be appreciated, receive appropriate benefits, and have opportunities for promotion and career development. Questions should be included to address these issues. Companies have to ensure that employees understand their duties and expectations in their jobs.  A question on this issue should be included as well.

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