Selecting the right approach for your employee survey

Here is the fifth in our summer series about how to get the most from your employee survey.  This blog and our previous discusses the various approaches for your survey. You can view all our blogs to date here.

Census or sample?

Having defined your survey objectives and selected your approach, you should consider whether you need to survey all your employees or just a sample.

Generally, organisations tend to conduct census employee opinion surveys. This is mainly due to the need to introduce improvement action planning at local levels, which requires frontline managers to be provided with their own reports. By undertaking a sample survey, there may either be not enough responses to provide a report or the number of responses may represent too small a proportion of the whole employee population to be considered statistically significant.

Online or paper surveys?

Increasingly, organisations are using online methods to survey their employees.

This type of survey offers organisations a number of benefits:

  • It is cost effective and simpler to administer than a paper-based survey;
  • Real time response rates are easily available;
  • Unique access passwords can prevent employees from completing more than one survey;
  • Employees can be routed to certain questions based on their responses;
  • You can ensure all respondents answer every question they are asked.

However, the following points need to be considered:

  • Do all employees have, or have access to, a PC that has external Internet access?
  • Are all of the employees sufficiently computer literate to complete an online survey?
  • Do you have field-based employees and, if so, how would they complete an online survey?
  • Can your IT Department provide the necessary assistance with the survey?
  • Is the culture in place for it and would it adversely affect the response rate if the survey were online?

If there are problems in some of these areas, it may be more appropriate to initially conduct a mostly paper-based survey with a small scale online pilot in the most appropriate parts of the organisation. In future years, the online element can be increased until it completely replaces paper-based completion.

There are alternative methods for administering surveys such as email surveys, one to one interviews, telephone interviews, polling stations, voting systems and comments boxes. All of these methods have been used to canvass employee opinion, but paper and online surveys remain the most popular.

Find out more about how we can work with you to maximise the potential of your employee survey.