Tips for Surveying Employees (How-To Guide)

Employee experience is just as important as customer experience. Not only can poor employee experiences have a negative impact on your business’ reputation, but unhappy employees can lead to really poor customer experiences too. If you are serious about improving employee engagement and employee retention, you should take the steps to collect feedback from your teams to cultivate a work environment your staff are happy to be part of. 

But how you go about surveying your employees has to be a bit different from the tactics used to survey your customers. Below we have included our top tips to listen to your employees effectively.

1. Get executive buy-in and communication

It is imperative that senior management or executives send the communication introducing the survey to employees. You should send the survey out with a note from your CEO or senior leaders that clearly communicates the importance and value of the survey to the organisation’s leadership team. This will build confidence amongst your employees that the survey does matter and that management will be held accountable to the feedback garnered.

2. Try an incentive

If you are concerned about your employees taking the time to answer the survey and want to ensure a higher response rate, try offering an incentive. Depending on the size of your organisation, give a lucky few randomly selected employees some type of reward (such as an extra holiday day, a free lunch, or a monetary perk) for answering the survey in a timely manner. You will surely see a huge boost in the number of responses that come through quickly before you send a follow-up reminder.

3. Give the option of anonymity 

Your employees may be nervous to give truthful feedback if they feel that there may be repercussions for their critical comments about the company culture, their direct line manager, or the processes employed in their day-to-day work.  Make clear to your employees that the survey is confidential and they will not get in trouble no matter what they say. While of course, it is helpful to know which employee is giving what feedback, there is little to be learned from sugar-coated employee feedback. Many employees will be fine to share their names and be contacted following their survey submission, but be sure to give those who aren’t comfortable the option of keeping their names away from their feedback.

4. Don’t ask questions you’re not ready to be held accountable for

The crux of a successful employee survey is accountability from the top down. So you must be very strategic and intentional in the questions you ask. If you include questions on a subject you’re not ready to change you will be put in a difficult position when employees focus in on that question and come to expect change. But be sure to leave room for open-ended questions or comments, so your employees can be free to voice their opinions on any subject matter, regardless if it is a priority for you yet.

5. Outsource your survey

It is nearly impossible to avoid the inherent biases when crafting survey questions about your own organisation. You wouldn’t’ write a personality test for yourself, and the same logic applies to your own business. Collaborate with an outside group to execute the survey but make sure that you trust them and that they understand your company culture and personality. Furthermore, having an outside group conduct the survey will inspire more trust amongst your employees in terms of anonymity and biases. 

While your human resources team will have expert knowledge on your work environment, an outside survey group will also have the expertise to help you with the survey process, preventing survey fatigue, redundant questions, including the right measurement scale, and other tricky survey design issues that often crop up. We at CX Index can, of course, be your partner here, but do your research and be sure to choose a company you like and trust 🙂

6. Share the survey results

Communicate the results of the survey to your employees and share your key learnings and next steps. Holding management accountable will be really important for inspiring trust. Senior leaders or managers should discuss the survey data in a meeting with their teams so that everyone understands the results and feels prioritised. Committing to making positive changes will make your employees feel secure and valued. 

We can help you to effectively and successfully survey your employees and customers. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help designing and implementing your employee satisfaction survey or employee engagement survey.