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Best practices in conducting employee surveys



Employee satisfaction and employee engagement are aspects that organizations focus on and try to assess in order to determine how employees feel about different issues related to the organization, its activities and their own job, issues that employees would not otherwise point out due to fear of compromising themselves or losing their job. A useful tool that can help managers look into employee satisfaction levels and collect information in this respect is the employee satisfaction survey.

There are several reasons for Human Resources Departments to conduct an employee survey. Employee satisfaction surveys can represent:

  • A feedback tool – employee surveys are one of the best and most accessible ways for an organization to collect feedback straight from its employees; using such a survey, it can be found out what employees think of the organization they work for and of its activity;
  • A barometer indicating employee satisfaction levels;
  • A tool that helps the management understand turnover rates and turnover variation.

Irrespective of the themes they focus on, surveys represent a handy and easy-to-use tool for carrying out a research. However, sometimes the easier the approach, the harder it is to end up with a good result, in this case, with a high quality and efficient employee survey.

In order to design an efficient survey, that can provide organizations with relevant data on employee engagement issues, some aspects that should be kept in mind are listed below. Therefore, in undertaking an employee survey, organizations should:

  • Decide on the goal of the survey and state it as clear and as specific as possible;
  • Keep their employee surveys short and simple – this way, surveys are less time-consuming and can bring a higher number of respondents;
  • Pay attention to the way questions are set down – questions should serve the goal of the research; questions should not be ambiguous, and they should be neither too broad, nor too narrow;
  • Keep the survey anonymous – respecting confidentiality is important as employees might be worried to express certain opinions and beliefs out of the fear that this will have repercussions if their identity is linked to the ideas put down in the survey;
  • Identify employee engagement drivers – this will help in identifying the factors that influence engagement and in deciding how and on what aspects to channel the strategies or actions of improving employee engagement;
  •  Act on the results – once the survey was conducted and the data collected, managers must use this information and develop a strategy that could help address the issues revealed by the survey.

Employee surveys are indeed efficient tools, but they only help in identifying the current state of employee engagement within an organization. As it is pointed out in a briefing from the Society for Human Resource Management, to reach good results in terms of employee engagement, organizations should resort to more than surveys. They should put in place an employee engagement strategy that can enable managers to make the right decisions and take the right actions in order to improve employee engagement.


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KPI selection at Pennsylvania University, Office of Planning and Institutional Asssessment
Canada Revenue Agency’s road to performance

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