Employee surveys, originally introduced into organizations around the middle of the last century, were developed to measure employee job satisfaction. Employers wanted to know how satisfied their employees were because “satisfied workers would be more productive workers.” Research over the past 35 years has found that job satisfaction while very important is but one indicator of organizational effectiveness. Although the early assumption that satisfied workers are more productive, there is a body of research which suggests that organizations that are in tune with their workers can motivate them to do a good job and enhance the work environment for all. Many current studies have identified that relationships between employee groups, the satisfaction of customers serviced by employees, organizational performance and job alignment are key to maintaining high levels of employee engagement. The end result is improved organizational performance.
Today, employee surveys have taken on additional applications. Managers have realized they can ask employees about a broad range of important issues such as leadership, benefits, job satisfaction and compensation to name a few. With this information, organizations can fine-tune their communication strategies, work to increase employee buy-in and even decide to modify corporate policies. The employee survey provides the means for linking employee behavior with company success.
The question then arises as to what happens following the survey process. The goal of any employee survey is to measure current satisfaction and engagement levels and establish benchmarks for the future. The key to a successful survey is to follow-up in a timely and collaborative manner using this six point process targeted for the HR professional:
1. Explain the survey results to all employees either through webinars, newsletters or face-to-face presentations.
2. Answer any questions that employees may have about the survey process and department results.
3. Working with the leadership team draft two to three corporate action items that the leadership team can agree upon.
4. Working with the department managers assist them in developing their two or three department action items that the work group can agree upon.
5. Include these action items in the annual performance plan.
6. Ensure that a quarterly action planning process occurs to ensure that the process remains credible and that managers are held accountable.
Employee surveys are an excellent tool to monitor employee satisfaction and engagement and a metric to hold people accountable.