TSI Blog

Attractive, relevant, or sticky, what excites you about your employee survey?

April 24th, 2013 by Jaime Johnson

Believe it or not, employee surveys can generate excitement in organisations! And so they should – it is after all an opportunity to improve your work life and have your say. I was inspired to write this post after receiving some feedback by an employee taking part in a survey.

It’s not uncommon for us to receive a ‘thank you’ or an ‘I’ve completed the survey’ email reply to invitations or reminders. Sometimes people even discuss the employee opinion survey in their free comments such as – ‘can we do more frequent surveys?’ ‘Thank you for commissioning this survey’. But one employee was so happy with the survey he received; he went out of his way to give me his opinion. Here’s just a snippet:

‘One of the best surveys I have ever completed!’

Why be positive about employee surveys?
This is great to hear, but why is it surprising? What was so special about their survey? The feedback just shows that with a little thought and attention the survey can communicate to staff how important they (and their feedback) are to the organisation. The survey needs to engage, empower and encourage feedback in order to be an effective strategic tool. By just running the survey and the organisations attitude towards it conveys something to staff about the values of the organisation.

Make it attractive
Any communication around the survey needs to catch employees’ attention from the start. The communication needs to reflect the importance the organisation places on the employees’ opinion and the effort that has gone into asking for their feedback.

Excite your employees! Three top tips

  1. Everyone likes to get post – leave a postcard on each keyboard announcing the launch of the survey.
  2. Make it personal – receiving a personalised invitation really adds to the sense of occasion.
  3. Show you are serious – a personal communication from the Chief Executive raises the profile of the survey.

Never under-estimate the value of branding and a catchy title! It all makes the survey seem a little more interesting and enticing.

HongKong Post – Keep us Posted!

Royal National Lifeboat Institution – SOS (staff opinion survey)

Create a sense of occasion and atmosphere, hold a survey day – where all staff are invited to complete the survey in just one day. Donate to charity for every completion and encourage competition between departments or locations!
An example postcard announcing the surveys arrival

Make it relevant
The content of the questionnaire is clearly very important; it should be relevant to your organisations staff whilst also providing useful actionable feedback to the senior team and managers.
Piloting the survey with a few members of staff will help to ensure that staff understand the questions and terminology used, you can also use this as an opportunity to find out whether any important areas have been missed. Online surveys can allow you to easily provide questions relevant to each staff member, from different manager and senior manager question items to alternative phrasing for contract staff.

Sticky – leave a trail
Feedback the results of the survey to all staff and commit to actions. Celebrate those areas where you are doing well and then look to make improvement.

You can commit to an action plan as an organisation or within teams.

  • Make the reports and action plans available on the intranet and encourage involvement in action planning.
  • Get teams together to work though their results; discussing anything surprising will help uncover issues and come up with resolutions.
  • In a public space write the items the organisation would like to address and encourage others to write suggested actions on the wall.

As an organisation you need to communicate any actions you take from survey feedback – ‘You said – we did.’ This is an ongoing process. Ensure that you link any changes or events back to the survey. Prior to the next survey communicate what action has been taken from the survey and the positive changes made as a direct result of the employees’ feedback. Then utilise posters, postcards and online media to promote the forthcoming survey. It helps if you develop a brand identity for the survey, you can incorporate the brand into all the communication to link back to the survey.

It would be great to receive such a positive response every time we field a survey but perhaps it is something to consider for your next employee survey.
If you are interested in exciting your employees in your next survey please get in contact we would love to hear from you.

Written by Jaime Johnson
Jaime Johnson is the founder of The Survey Initiative. With an MSc in Applied Social Research coupled with nearly ten years employee research expertise. She originally worked within the Ministry of Defence, then moved to a dedicated psychology based consultancy, before founding The Survey Initiative. Jaime has worked with countless national and international clients meeting and exceeding their employee research needs. Clients have included Kent Police, Boehringer Ingelheim, GAME, THUS and Red Funnel Ferries. Jaime loves a good coffee! Visit http://www.surveyinitiative.co.uk for more information.

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