Employee surveys are one of the most valuable yet underutilized market research methodologies available.
With so many benefits of employee surveys, organizations are able to take a step in the right direction by understanding the needs of their team.
- 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?
Conducting this type of market research is a very effective tool in driving real change for an organization and improving job satisfaction.
In this blog post, our employee survey company discusses 11 benefits of this methodology. Or, for a short synopsis, watch the one-minute video below.
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.
Plus, it can be argued no other type of market research offers a higher return on investment (ROI).
How are employee surveys conducted?
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.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Regardless of how you survey employees, using data to drive organizational change is extremely beneficial. It is the only sure-fire way to know exactly what your team needs to stay engaged, motivated, and happy.
The Importance of Using a Third-Party Employee Survey Company
While the steps to conducting an employee survey are straightforward, it's vitally important to use a third-party firm for this type of market research.
Here are a few reasons why:
- 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.
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.
However, outsourcing the study to an employee survey company assures your team's comments and feedback can be shared openly and honestly with no repercussions.
To learn more, read our Ultimate Guide to Using a Third-Party for Employee Surveys.
💡 The Key Takeaway: By partnering with a third-party employee survey company, employees are more likely to share their open and honest feedback. All survey responses are anonymous and confidential to encourage full transparency. This is a major factor in driving real change in any organization.
Benefit #1: A portal for feedback
Employee surveys provide a vehicle to collect feedback. The most cost-efficient methodology for 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 highest 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.
Here are some tips our market research firm recommends for follow-up meetings:
- These meetings should give management more time 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.
Overall, measuring employee satisfaction is important to understand whether your team is happy with areas such as company culture, benefits, morale, and so on.
This is a key metric within an employee survey to review year over year as it will determine if changes made to the company helped improve employee satisfaction or not.
Even more so, it is important to compare the level of employee satisfaction with those who are competitors or in the same industry as you.
You can work with your market research vendor, like Drive Research 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.
Types of market research benchmarks include:
- Comparing scores to your brand from years past
- Comparing scores to best-in-class organizations
- Comparing scores to local, regional, or national competition
- Comparing scores to industry peers
All of these employee survey benchmarks are beneficial to measure. Each shed new light on comparisons.
Benefit #4: Understand key improvement areas
Rome wasn't built in a day, much like making major company changes will not happen overnight. An employee survey can identify the most pertinent areas of improvement for human resource or leadership teams to focus on.
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.
For instance, perhaps the employee survey reflects your team is least satisfied with the lack of proper training available. Use this as an action item to offer free training classes, webinars, or lunch and learns as a step in the right direction of meeting employee needs.
Benefit 5: Quantify drivers to overall satisfaction
It is not likely the results of an employee engagement survey will only show positive reviews from your team. Do not be discouraged. While most managers and HR professionals hope their employees are 100% satisfied, this is typically not the case.
An employee survey company will pay close attention to low ratings through regression analysis. This type of analysis determines the relationship between independent variables on dependent variables. In other words, what are the key drivers which impact overall satisfaction?
For instance, 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%. Doing so often identifies hidden drivers of satisfaction.
An example of using regressional analysis for employee surveys would be...
Employees 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.
If the feedback of your employee survey shows employees overall are not satisfied with your company, take a look at the individual factors bringing the satisfaction score down.
A market research company specializing in employee surveys will use segmentation to slice and dice the survey data by categories such as departments, the employee's manager, how long the employee has worked with the company, and more.
Additionally, 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
Employee surveys also allow management teams to dig deeper into specific factors affecting employee satisfaction.
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.
There are also types of employee surveys that focus on unique objectives such as diversity and inclusion.
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 from 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
With any time of market research project, it is important to use the data and results to implement change. This is extremely crucial when conducting employee survey research.
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.
While it is great you are asking for employee feedback, it is important to listen to this feedback and make necessary changes for employees to really feel as if their opinions matter.
These surveys help you proactively identify and address common problems in an anonymous forum.
Benefit #11: 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.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally posted in August 2020, but has since been updated for readability.
Don't forget about the most important customers of all: your employees."
It is easy to place a large value of your business on your customers and their opinions or usage of your company, brand, products, and services.
However, by obtaining employee feedback through online surveys you are able to better understand your employee's needs so they can be better brand advocates and better performers.
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.
- Message us on our website
- Email us at [email protected]
- Call us at 888-725-DATA
- Text us at 315-303-2040
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.