Employee surveys are one of the most valuable yet underutilized market research tools on the market. These surveys can be conducted through a variety of methodologies from online surveys to traditional paper surveys. Even phone surveys if you want a third-party to reach out with a personal touch.
No matter what methodology you choose, initiating an employee survey at your organization is a step in the right direction to understanding your employee needs.
"Don't forget about the most important customers of all: your employees."
What's on your employees' minds? What do they like most about your organization? What needs to be improved? What do they think about leadership?
Find out all of these answers with an employee survey. The steps to conducting an employee survey are straightforward.
First off, it's vitally important to use a third-party market research company for this type of study. Using a third-party tells your employees there is an independent company receiving the results.
It adds a very important layer in-between your employees and their managers.
A third-party employee survey company managing the survey ensures confidentiality and protects employee feedback.
This assures the employee comments and feedback can be shared openly and honestly with no repercussions. If employees feel as though they cannot trust the responses being kept anonymous they will not be upfront, truthful, and they may not even respond at all which will hurt your response rate and margin of error for statistical reliability.
Here are 10 benefits of conducting an employee survey at your organization.
Why Employee Surveys?
Perhaps no other type of survey outside of a customer survey carries more importance for an organization. If changes need to happen with your culture, the change needs to happen from the inside out.
Figuring out what your employees need in terms of resources and how to address improvements is the first domino that needs to fall before you ask them to properly serve your customers.
It can be argued no other type of market research offers a higher return on investment (ROI).
Benefit 1: A portal for feedback
Employee surveys provide a vehicle to collect feedback. The most cost-efficient way of conducting these surveys is done online through email. This is done through a simple list exchange of employee email contacts after an NDA is signed.
Invitations are scheduled as well as reminders to boost response rates as high as possible. Among all the types of surveys in market research, employee surveys often produce some of the best response rates. You will not find a more engaged audience than employees of your brand.
Benefit 2: Opportunity for follow-up and discussion
Surveys provide the management team with an opportunity to create follow-up meetings and dialogue with teams. Although this is not as confidential as an online study it serves as a follow-up action item to take the next steps with the data.
These follow-ups allow management to dig a little deeper into the survey findings.
The follow-up meetings are not intended to single out specific employees. The work sessions center around generalized feedback and themes that all/most employees shared as part of the survey responses.
For example, let's say the survey identified three key themes that need improvement: employee benefits, communication with managers, and better evaluations. The follow-up work sessions would be centered around these topics using an independent moderator to gather more detail and context.
Benefit 3: Measure levels of satisfaction
This is an obvious benefit of employee surveys but also crucial. By measuring satisfaction levels you'll understand where your scores compare relative to other like-companies.
You can work with your market research vendor to purchase other employee survey data for similar companies in your industry to see how your organization stacks up.
It also serves as a great metric to track year-over-year to see what improved and what did not.
All of those benchmarks are beneficial to measure. How your results compare to past years, best-in-class organizations, competition, and industry peers. Each shed new light on comparisons.
To learn more about using benchmarks in market research, watch this 1-minute video.
Benefit 4: Understand key improvement areas
This vital benefit identifies those core areas and factors which are important to employees but also the ones they are less than satisfied with.
The areas that are of high importance and low satisfaction become priority action items for your management and human resources teams. It ensures post-survey, you'll be spending your time on the items that matter most to employees.
Benefit 5: Quantify drivers to overall satisfaction
Through regression analysis employee surveys can determine the key drivers which impact overall satisfaction.
If loyalty is your main objective, your organization can determine which factors most impact loyalty. Essentially, regression helps an organization stake a claim like if we improve A, B, and C we'll improve loyalty by 10%. There can often be hidden drivers of satisfaction.
For example, employees may state that salary is not important to them. But based on the regression analysis that looks at correlation, satisfaction with their job and satisfaction with salary are highly related to one another. As one goes up, the other goes up and vice-versa.
Benefit 6: Break down results by department
In addition to overall results, back-end segmentation allows you to slice and dice your employee survey data by department. This provides your organization with the opportunity to create department-level training items and follow-up tasks unique to their team.
Drive Research partners with some of the best executive coaching and training companies who can assist your organization in taking some of these next steps for your efforts.
Benefit 7: Break down results by the management team
This helps identify which managers are doing well and which are not, from the perspective of their subordinates. It is one of the most common primary objectives of an employee survey. So many of our surveys focus on leadership effectiveness and management principles.
This type of data can also provide your organization with unique training items and follow-up criteria which is manager-specific.
As an HR team, it gives you objective data to push back to management and leaders to create change.
Benefit 8: Improves communication
Employee surveys are a great step in opening the lines of communication with employees. Since everyone has a chance to reply, employees can share all of the good and bad feedback about the company.
All in all, it's better to be aware of what employees think and need, rather than assume. If you don't ask you'll never know.
Do not let the fear of criticism prevent you from conducting an employee survey.
Benefit 9: Show your employees you care
The simple act of reaching out and listening carries a lot of weight. It's a proactive approach showing you care.
The tone is much different than reacting to employee complaints on a daily or monthly basis. All of these anecdotal comments can be quantified through an online survey.
You may hear only the extremes through a comment box (i.e., those who really love or hate you). A survey provides you with a representative view of your entire employee base.
Benefit 10: A driver for change
Employee surveys are an excellent first step to changing the culture in an organization. Because the responses are anonymous, employees can freely share their thoughts.
Oftentimes disgruntled employees do not share negative feedback with management. Before you know it they've left the organization, taking another role elsewhere.
These surveys help you proactively identify and address common problems in an anonymous forum.
Bonus Benefit: Feature Results in Recruitment
Drive Research recommends featuring some of the key highest-scoring criteria in your recruitment campaigns and marketing.
For example, let's say you learn from the survey that there was overwhelmingly positive feedback for Friday lunches, flexible work schedules, and team attitude. These are all data points the company can feature in their recruitment strategies, all from the voice of your employees.
Drive Research is a national employee survey company located in New York. We work coast-to-coast with organizations in a variety of industries on employee survey efforts. We design custom surveys to address your unique needs and develop a report to help you understand the results and take action.
Contact us one of four ways below. Send us your questions or ask for a proposal.
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George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.
Learn more about George, here.