The Dos and Don’ts of Employee Surveys

The end of November and transition into December marks the holiday season–and also that time of year when employers start sending out surveys to assess the past year.

But despite how effective employers think that company surveys are, more often than not, employers ask the wrong questions and as a result, get the wrong answers. And that definitely doesn’t do much for you when it comes time to conduct an annual review.

To help combat some of the problems we see with employee surveys at the end of the year, here are a few tips about how to have an effective survey:

Do the survey yourself. 

The best way to get employees to respond to your survey is by taking the time to fill out the survey yourself. Set an example for your employees–and think about how bad it looks if you don’t even take the time to fill out the survey you are sending around. 

Don’t be generic.

Look up “employee survey” in a search engine and you’re bound to find dozens of templates to choose from. While this could seem like a good idea, it’s not.

Such surveys are generic, and don’t ask the questions (which will generate the responses) that fit the needs of your company. Take the time to write out a survey that’s genuine and related to your company, and you’ll be much more likely to get good results. If you want specifics, you need to ask for specifics.

Do ask about yourself.

The majority of surveys you see ask a lot of questions concerning the employee’s performance. But rarely are there any that ask about the performance of higher-ups.

Level the playing field by asking questions about your own performance. You might get quite a few vague responses in the beginning, but if you continue to show that you genuinely want to be critiqued, employees should come around and give you the feedback you need. 

Don’t rely solely on HR.

It’s a common misconception that HR should take the lead when it comes to pushing the employee survey. Don’t fall into this trap.

Whether you are the CEO or team leader, you should take responsibility of getting the survey around. The results of employee surveys affect not only affect HR, but the rest of your company as well, which is why it should be a team effort. 

Do ask about cultural fit.

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise to regulars of this blog. Company culture is very important to success, so you should always take the time to ask your employees what they think about the environment of the company (and their place in it).

Employee surveys get a bad rap, but if you take the time to plan them out, you have a better chance of getting the results you want, benefiting both you and your employees.