Want to Know What Your Employees Are Thinking? Ask Them!
Employee engagement and retention are particularly hot topics, and businesses are rushing to support it by instituting changes simply because other companies are doing it. But changing company policy on the basis of a trend may not be the best choice for your company.
Consider this example: A lot of companies jumped on the concept of open floor plans in the hopes of encouraging teamwork and collaboration. It didn't always have the intended results. A 2018 Harvard Business School study found that open offices reduced face-to-face interaction by 70%. That's far from what companies wanted to happen.
Engage and Retain Employees
Surveying your employees directly is a better way to determine what your company needs to do to engage and retain employees. There's one caveat to conducting this type of survey: you need to be willing to do something with the results. You don't have to make all the changes suggested by the survey results, but you do need to make a good faith effort respond. If the results simply go into a metaphorical circular file, they will reinforce any negative perceptions about how your company's leaders view their employees.
Identify Your Goal
There is a process to conducting an employee survey. First, you need to decide your goal. Suppose you want to find out which perks are most important to your employees. Design survey questions to measure that. It may be best to do several surveys throughout the year with each focusing on one or two topics in areas you are ready to commit to improving.
Next, you need to decide how the survey will be conducted (e.g., SurveyMonkey or company intranet), how long the survey will be, whether anonymous responses will be allowed and whether you want to ask open-ended questions or limit the survey to yes-or-no, sliding-scale or multiple choice answers.
Gather Essential Information
Finally, you need to write questions that provide essential information. This is where the rubber meets the road. Generally, it's a good idea to (1) limit the number of questions and (2) group your questions into categories. Here are some sample questions:
- Is the company is living up to its mission and values?
- Do you and your co-workers all feel protected against discrimination?
- Does the company's culture align with your personal values?
- Are your work responsibilities clearly defined?
- Is there opportunity to grow in your job?
- Are learning opportunities readily available?
- How transparent are communications with your manager?
- Do you believe your manager treats everyone fairly?
- Do your colleagues communicate openly and freely?
- Are job-related questions treated respectfully?
- Do you get the feedback you need to continue learning and growing?
- Are you satisfied with your workspace?
- Do you have the resources you need to perform at your highest level?
- Does this feel like a best place to work?
Benefits and perks:
- Do you have enough vacation time?
- Do you have an adequate number of personal/sick days?
- Rank the company's benefits in order of preference.
Remember to customize the survey for your business.
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