Employee surveys are valuable tools for gaining insight into employee work experience, and they also aid in the development of a road map for improving engagement. However, an employee survey is only as good as the platform on which it’s delivered, the quality and relevance of the questions asked, and the follow-up to the survey. Research shows that even in 2023, only 32% of employees are actively engaged. So how should HR managers go about boosting employee survey participation?
Asking for direct feedback requires careful preparation and a survey design that elicits the clearest, most actionable responses. Here are nine ways to ensure you receive the most useful feedback from your next employee survey:
Use the Right Technology
- Allows for specific questions to go to certain employee groups—for example, asking managers and individual contributors different sets of questions
- Can be designed to deliver employee surveys on a preset schedule
- Offers employees more assurances of anonymity
- Includes dashboards and reports that boil down multiple data points, making the feedback easy to understand
- Allows employees to access cloud-based surveys from anywhere
Make Questions Direct
- Keep questions short and concise. For example, "How satisfied are you with the cleanliness of the office?" rather than a long paragraph.
- Use simple language. For instance, say "beginning" instead of "inception."
- Spell out any acronyms or abbreviations. For example, don't assume employees know that DE&I means Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
- Give examples to clarify the question's intent. "How satisfied are you with our training programs (e.g. new hire orientation, ongoing professional development workshops)?"
- Avoid biased wording that leads people toward a response. Stay neutral. "How satisfied are you with our current work-life balance policy?" rather than "Our work-life balance policy is great, isn't it?"
- Focus each question on one topic. Don't ask about multiple things.
- Provide context if needed. Some issues may require explanation.
- Check that questions make logical sense and flow well. Remove ambiguity.
- Consider audience understanding and perspective when writing questions.
Make Questions Objective and Unbiased
Don't Ask Yes/No Questions
Survey at the Right Frequency
Keep the Survey Short
- Group Questions: Organize your questions into specific topics. This allows you to focus on certain areas from time to time, rather than asking about everything all at once. This approach can make the survey feel less overwhelming and more focused.
- Practice Run: Conduct a "dry run" of the survey to gauge how long it takes to complete. If it takes too long, you'll know that you need to reduce the number of questions.
- Test Different Lengths: Experiment with surveys of different lengths. Keep routine surveys exciting by comparing the quality of the responses and the response rates to find the most effective length. This can help you find the perfect balance that gets you the information you need without discouraging people from participating.
Cover Important, Relevant Topics
- Carefully think about potential topics: Before drafting your survey, take some time to brainstorm possible areas of interest. This will help you create a comprehensive list of topics that are relevant to your employees and your organization.
- Prioritize your topics: Not all topics are created equal. Some may be more pressing or relevant than others. Prioritize your list based on what you believe is most important to your employees and your organization.
- Group related topics together: This will help keep your survey organized and focused. By grouping related topics together, you can ensure that your survey flows logically and covers all the necessary areas without veering off course.
Share and Act on the Feedback
- Timely Follow-up: It's essential to act on feedback promptly. If there's a significant delay between the survey and the follow-up, employees might start doubting the company's commitment to listening to their concerns.
- Well-planned Actions: When employees witness their feedback being translated into well-thought-out actions, they're more likely to provide honest, direct feedback in future surveys.
- Use of Employee Surveys: These are invaluable tools for gathering meaningful feedback. Crafting relevant questions that encourage employees to share their experiences with their work, manager, and coworkers can yield useful insights.
- Right Survey Software: With the appropriate employee survey software, you can gather useful feedback, provide necessary follow-up, and ultimately boost employee engagement in the workplace.