You sense you need to get a handle on your’ feelings about the company and their managers. So, you send out an anonymous employee survey. Then, employee engagement drops off even more than before.
Could your survey be the problem?
The problem with anonymity
Anonymous surveys have been the norm for years. While anonymity may make employees more comfortable in expressing their opinions freely, it may also cause you headaches.
For example, an anonymous survey doesn’t allow you to trace problems to a particular department or manager if several employees raise concerns about fairness, propriety or safety.
Conversely, if an employee makes a great suggestion, anonymity prevents you from following up with that person for a more in-depth discussion.
In either scenario, you aren’t following up or responding to the information you’ve been given, and that’s death for employee engagement.
Chris Cancialosi of Gotham Culture recommends that business owners take responsibility for creating an environment where He writes: “If you want to encourage transparency and increase engagement in your organization, it’s time to ask employees to cowboy up and take ownership of their ideas.”feel safe sharing and end the anonymous survey.
Choose your questions wisely
If you used a one-size-fits-all survey, it could be your survey didn’t ask the questions you needed answered.
A well-designed survey will give company leadership clear direction on which aspects of the organization are operating well and which ones need help. After all, you need a clear view of your target before you release an arrow.
Put some time into deciding which questions will help you understand how your employees feel about coworkers, leadership, the company’s reputation, their current position and a host of other aspects of the organization.
Word it well
Otherwise, you’ll set the stage for employee dissatisfaction and doubt. Asking questions without changing anything makes workers think, “The boss asked how we felt about this, we all said ‘awful’ and then nothing changed.”
Here are a few common statements Murphy says you shouldn’t ask your employees to rate:
- “I have great friends at work.”
- “I like my boss.”
- “My boss cares about me as a person.”
- “I trust my boss.”
The problem with these generic statements? You the business leader can’t act on these questions, especially if the survey is anonymous. Consider the first example: “I have great friends at work.”
Maybe the employee who answers ‘no’ values their privacy and doesn’t want to develop close friendships at work. Maybe the employee is a negative Nelly who everyone avoids. Either way, you can’t do anything about this person’s ability or choice to make friends at work.
A more helpful way to word this question would be: “Does the organization provide adequate opportunities for employees to get to know each other and build strong personal connections?”
This is more likely to give you feedback you can act upon and show employees that you respond to their needs.
Show you care – Share
It’s surprising how often companies conduct a survey and then only share the results with senior management and HR. However, sharing your survey results is the first step to showing you care about what employees had to say.
However, don’t share the results without context. Hold team meetings and work with employees to pick one or two critical issues that need to be repaired or improved. Enlist employees to share their ideas and create action plans for improvement.
Finally, recognize that before and after the survey your managers may need training in how to handle criticism. Your management team’s ability to respond positively to the feedback they get will either support or undermine your efforts to capture employees’ feelings and thoughts.
Effective businesses focus on creating and reinforcing employee satisfaction to get the most out of their human capital. A properly constructed employee survey gives you the insights you need to create or reinforce a positive work environment.
With careful wording and actionable results, you can improve employee satisfaction and motivation with your surveys.
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