Looking for Employee Feedback? Use These 10 Employee Survey Best Practices
Why Employee Feedback Matters
I think it’s pretty well-known that tapping into the employee voice and learning what your people want is an important practice in internal communication. Gathering employee feedback is instrumental in creating a comms and content strategy that works. So, a lot of teams have started working on this. But where I think there is still a lot of room to grow is:
- Building employee feedback programs that are consistently used rather than ad hoc
- Asking the right questions
- Acting on the feedback consistently and in a timely manner.
“But internal comms pros are so busy!” Having been a team of two communicating to over 70,000 employees in the past, I can attest to this. IC is an incredibly busy and typically small team at most organizations, so sometimes things like reporting back employee survey results can fall through the cracks.
But I would make the case that gathering employee feedback is actually going to be a time-saving initiative for your team in the long run. Conducting consistent employee surveys and establishing focus groups can take some time up front to set up, but these activities:
- Provide you with qualitative data to take back to leadership about what’s working well…or not so well.
- Eliminate the guesswork surrounding your key questions: are we engaging our teams? Are we providing enough information? Are there tools they would prefer to use? What isn’t the data showing us?
- Will show your employees you care about their feedback, improving employee engagement, resonance with your message, and, in the long run, culture.
So, how do you get better at making two-way feedback a habit? And how do you do it well?
How to Make Employee Feedback Gathering (and Sharing the Results) a Habit
1. Get it on your editorial calendar. And include other teams in the process of surveying and gathering feedback — one survey can help multiple teams get a sense of how things are going.
2. Set realistic goals for feedback gathering. Don’t expect to create focus groups, set up a survey cadence, and get buy-in from leadership overnight. Take it one step at a time. Maybe you survey one group to start, like your frontline managers. Start with something manageable and go from there.
3. Set a cadence for sharing your survey results, but be realistic here too. You don’t have to have the results of your survey and your plan as soon as your survey closes. But you can’t say nothing for months or never say anything. Like any program, you have to do follow-up. Plan ahead so you can commit to a timeline. It might look something like this:
- First Week: Survey goes out
- Second Week: Survey reminder
- Third Week: Thank them for taking the survey and that you’ll share the results soon.
- Fourth Week: Share the results and say you are taking that feedback and putting a plan together.
- Week(s) – a Month Later: Share the plan with them for how you plan to address their feedback and provide a place where they can ask questions or comment.
4. Get executive leadership buy-in. For feedback gathering to really become second nature at your organization, you’ll need an executive sponsor. It’s your job to prove to them why it’s important and convert them into a champion for the employee voice.
5. Benchmarking is key. Use the results of your employee survey to create a set of benchmarks. Being able to show that historical trend as your survey program evolves will strengthen your position with leadership.
How to Get Better at Writing Employee Surveys
6. Don’t go it alone. Even if your internal comms team has a few members to review the survey questions, we still recommend you get outside feedback. We particularly recommend showing the questions to your focus groups—who better represent the employee population. This will make sure the questions are worded in a way that makes sense and will ensure you’re including all the right questions.
7. Write questions that align with your goals. Don’t just survey to survey. What are you hoping to learn? Why? Are you asking the right questions, or are those questions worded in such a way that will give you helpful feedback?
8. Avoid writing surveys that take a long time to complete. You want to make sure it is easy for your employees to take the survey—remember you’re getting feedback from hourly team members and field managers. They’re busy too! And you want to ensure your people make it to the end of your survey.
9. Revise your surveys like you would any other piece of writing. Put your writer’s hat on and get out that red pen. Are the questions written as clearly as they can be? Have you thought about if all the questions are necessary? Are there questions that are missing? Do you need some if/then logic added to the survey to clarify certain responses?
10. Consult an expert. If you work at a larger enterprise, you likely have a resident expert on this topic. Tap into that and partner with them. But if you work at a smaller organization that doesn’t have this kind of internal resource, consult the templates that exist in most major survey platforms. Qualtrics and SurveyMonkey are just two examples of survey tools that come with templates.
At theEMPLOYEEapp, we integrate with major survey platforms to create a seamless employee survey or quiz taking experience. And that’s the next major key to launching a successful survey or two-way feedback initiative: making it accessible. You’ll never get the data or the feedback you need from the frontlines of your organization, if they aren’t getting your messages in the first place.
Want to learn how theEMPLOYEEapp may be able to help? Request a demo today.
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