7 Features You Should Look for in an Employee Survey

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According to Gallup research, only one in three employees are engaged, making it important to leverage tools that can move the engagement needle in a positive direction. The employee survey is a highly effective tool for gathering data to measure and improve engagement. Whether your organization has 50 employees or 50,000, an employee survey can transform the entire organization and pave the way for a more engaged workforce.

Today’s employee surveys can do more and reveal more about employee engagement and performance than ever before. With the help of employee survey software, it’s possible to deliver comprehensive surveys to employees no matter where they’re located or what device they use. The power of employee feedback helps develop leaders, address concerns, and improve company culture. Here are seven features you should look for in your next employee survey software:

Focused on the Employee Experience

The best way to understand employee engagement is to ask employees. Employee surveys aren’t just for finding out how employees feel about compensation or benefits; they can also tell you if employees are aligned with their work, if their manager supports their career development, and much more. By asking targeted survey questions that get at the heart of the employee experience, you can fully understand just how engaged employees are and examine trends that tell you how to make changes to improve engagement.

Unfiltered Feedback

Managers, especially those at senior levels, don’t always get the full story about employee work experiences. The beauty of employee surveys is that they deliver the full, unfiltered truth. From the C-suite down, managers can access dashboards that allow them to see consolidated feedback for all the individuals and teams they manage. Managers don’t have to rely on secondhand stories or rumors. An employee survey can give a clear picture of the overall health and engagement of their team. In addition, when employees know that senior managers see unfiltered feedback, they gain reassurance that their voices are being heard.

Unfiltered feedback also facilitates more productive one-on-one discussions. Surveys support employee conversations by giving each employee access to their own 360-degree feedback reports, paving the way for an honest conversation with their manager. Employee surveys allow managers to get straight to work in helping their people address feedback, rather than having to translate and deliver feedback from multiple sources.

Feedback for Every Employee

Comprehensive feedback helps employees understand how well they work with others. In fact, research has shown that feedback from others—managers, peers, direct reports, coworkers from other departments—helps people become more effective overall. Research by Gartner found that peer feedback is particularly valuable and can boost employee performance by 14 percent.

Receiving actionable feedback doesn’t have to be a benefit reserved only for the most senior managers in the company. Detailed feedback benefits everyone, and employee surveys are an effective way for all employees to hear the truth of how their behavior impacts those around them. When every employee receives feedback, they have the tools to build on their strengths and address areas of concern.

Every Employee Voice Is Heard

Giving every employee a voice in the workplace delivers powerful benefits. A Salesforce study found that employees whose voices are heard at work are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to do their best work. Having a voice in the workplace helps employees realize that their experiences matter. It also provides HR and executive leaders with a true understanding of whether employees are engaged and what tools and resources employees require to do their best work.

As a company grows in size, it becomes harder to talk to every single employee about their experiences at work. Employee surveys are the most thorough way to give every employee a voice so that no one is left out. When every voice in the organization has equal weight, it’s possible to take actions that benefit all employees rather than a few.

A Proactive Approach

In addition to delivering insights that explain how to improve low engagement, employee surveys also help you proactively address issues in the workplace. Instead of reacting to low engagement that has crippled team performance or trying to recover from the loss of key employees, you can prevent those things from happening in the first place with the help of employee surveys. Trend analysis of employee responses helps identify shifts in engagement, how well a new manager is leading a team, or areas where employees are not being recognized. For example, exceptional performers who aren’t recognized and see no opportunities for growth may become bored or frustrated. Employee survey feedback can help identify those individuals before they leave the organization for another opportunity. Similarly, employee survey feedback can identify a struggling supervisor early, giving managers time to coach them before the team becomes disengaged.

Support for Employee Retention

According to a study by Comparably, one in three employees say they have a coworker who makes them want to quit. Other studies have found that factors such as manager behavior, lack of career growth, and company culture also contribute to employee turnover. Turnover is a reality for every organization, but it doesn’t have to be unmanageably high. Employee surveys deliver feedback that explains why good people quit. An employee survey can identify individuals who are growing frustrated by a lack of accountability within their team. It can also uncover high-potential employees who can be retained with stretch assignments, job rotations, or mentors.

Losing a great employee hurts organizational productivity and leaves a gap that is often difficult to fill. Employee surveys support employee retention in the following ways:

  • Survey questions can identify the degree to which people are considering leaving (e.g., “How likely is it that you will be working here one year from now?”).
  • Survey results provide opportunities to have in-depth conversations with employees about how to retain them.
  • Feedback delivered to every manager helps them learn what to do (or stop doing) to retain the people on their team.

360-Degree Feedback Capability

Employee surveys aren’t just tools to collect one-way feedback; they can be expanded to enable 360-degree feedback as well. With the benefit of feedback from peers, managers, and direct reports, a 360 employee survey provides company managers with rich data that can highlight employees who are struggling or excelling in specific areas. For example, collective 360-feedback surveys can identify employees who are struggling to communicate effectively with members of their team, or managers who are struggling to inspire their teams. A survey score report delivered to both employee and manager identifies the problem so that they can work together to identify a solution such as training or mentoring.

It’s not always easy to see where the best leaders are within the organization. Employee surveys provide a clear view of leadership strengths across the organization. For example, an employee survey can identify a manager who received high ratings from her direct reports for improving team dynamics, as well as managers who are highly respected by members of another department. Three hundred sixty-degree feedback brings leader capabilities into focus, supporting decisions leading to future promotions or expanded management responsibilities.

Employee surveys are dynamic, customizable tools that help companies empower employees and improve engagement. When you use an employee survey that possesses these seven features, you’ll be better positioned to make meaningful business decisions and manage the workforce more proactively.

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Article Categories: Employee Surveys
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