7 Tips for Optimizing Employee Satisfaction Surveys | Bonfyre

7 Tips for Optimizing Employee Satisfaction Surveys

3 min

Employee satisfaction surveys can help you understand how your workforce feels and what they need to perform at their best. With our tips, you can make sure your surveys are optimized for effectiveness.

If you want to provide the best possible employee experience, you have to step away from looking at your workforce as a monolithic group. Focus, instead, on employees’ individual needs and wants. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is by regularly sending out surveys focused on job satisfaction rates–more formally known as employee satisfaction surveys.

Employee satisfaction surveys collect valuable data from employees that allow you to assess overall employee morale and engagement, two of the biggest determining factors of whether an employee will stay at your company. Questions in these surveys can range from inquiries into how company culture is reflected in the workplace to whether or not employees feel their position has value to themselves and the company as a whole.

No matter what specific focus your survey has, the ultimate goal is to gather information that’ll make employees feel more satisfied with their job and with you, their employer.

How to get the best feedback from employee satisfaction surveys

Sending out an employee satisfaction survey is easy. Making sure you get a high response rate with actionable data is much harder.

Response rates refer to the percentage of people who respond to your survey. They’re important not only because you want as much feedback as possible, but you also want to ensure results aren’t biased. An example of a survey bias is a situation where wired, desk employees have more time and easier access to respond to surveys as compared to non-wired, frontline employees who don’t regularly use communications technology at work. Because of this technology gap, non-wired employees may not fill out the survey, and even worse, they may not even know there is a survey to take, creating biased results.

Here are some measures you can take to ensure your workforce is informed and empowered to provide honest and realistic answers to your employee satisfaction surveys.

1. Know your objectives

Before you jump into writing an employee satisfaction survey, you first have to know what sort of information you’re looking to collect. Specific objectives–like improving engagement, measuring work/life balance, and so forth–will help determine the questions you ask, making it more likely you’ll receive relevant, practical answers. Researching the topics you’re asking about will also give you new ways to think about questions and guidance on how to phrase them.

It’s also valuable to get external input to ensure you’re hitting the right marks with your questions. Setting up a committee that includes employees from different departments and levels in the organization is a useful approach to confirm your survey is effective.

2. Make sure employees know what the survey is for and how it’ll affect them

It’s human nature to be more invested in something that has a direct effect on you. By explaining to employees why you’re sending out employee satisfaction surveys and the value it has for them, they’ll be more likely to participate and provide higher quality responses. Be sure to elaborate on how their participation will lead to actual improvement.

You should also take into account employees are unwilling to give feedback if they think it’ll be used against them. Emphasizing that survey responses are anonymous and the information collected is confidential will make employees more inclined to offer honest answers.

3. Make surveys a regular occurrence

Sending out surveys on a regular basis will help you get an accurate idea of how employees feel about your company. Employee needs evolve as they go through the employee life cycle and face their own personal life changes. Surveys that are sent on a quarterly or bi-monthly basis are more apt to account for fluctuating needs.

Regular surveys will also provide a means of evaluating whether or not change initiatives have been successful. Setting up measurements based on previous feedback will help you assess any improvements that need to be made in either the survey or action-taking process.

4. Use various communication channels to promote surveys

In order to guarantee surveys are seen by the most employees possible, you should use several different methods to broadcast information about the survey and the deadline to complete it.

Email, intranet, and communication tools can be used to send scheduled messaging. For non-wired employees, take advantage of company meetings and group huddles to talk about the survey. Distributing handouts and posting notices in the employee break room can also provide attention-grabbing, visual reminders to employees.

5. Ensure employees can access the survey

To avoid biased results, make sure that whatever method you use for your survey is easily accessible to both wired and non-wired employees. Desk employees may have no problem logging in to their computer and fill out a web-based survey, but non-wired employees would benefit more from a survey tool they can access on their phone when they have downtime. Some employees, regardless of whether they’re wired or not, may prefer a paper survey to ensure their anonymity.

By thinking ahead and providing various methods to respond, you can make sure all employees have proper access to the survey.

6. Share results with employees

Transparency is important for all aspects of your business, and surveys are no exception. As long as you can preserve the anonymity of your results, you should always make effort and time to share results with employees, whether it’s through a company-wide meeting or a physical report that all employees receive.

When presenting, make sure the meaning of the results is clear and be prepared to explain what your plans for action are with a tentative deadline of when they’ll be completed.

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7. Always follow-up with action

Sending out a survey without creating a plan to act on the results you receive is an exercise in futility. Acknowledge the value of employee feedback by putting forth changes that show you are listening and care about feedback. This will build trust with employees and eliminate inconsistencies between words and actions.

When you move on from surveying to the action-taking process, don’t forget to be mindful of expectations. Prevent any confusion or distrust by giving employees an accurate idea of what to expect from any changes you decide to make, and how long it’ll take for those changes to be apparent.

Related: Improve the Employee Experience by Building Trust in the Workplace

Using the methods outlined in this article, you should be able to create an effective survey that reveals what the employee experience is like on an individual level.

This will go a long way in not only pinpointing what you need to make employees more engaged and satisfied, but will also help to reflect your culture by demonstrating employees have a voice that matters and results in real, measurable change.

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