Surveying your staff can provide useful data about your company, customers and more—but only if employees share the answers you need. Pro tip: Survey prize can help you get more data. We’ve assembled some ideas to help you improve employee surveys to get better information.
Make an announcement
With all the emails and text messages your employees receive every day, it’s easy for a survey to become one more message staff will “get to later.” Instead of sending an email, make a formal announcement that explains why you’re performing the survey and what you hope to achieve with the information. Have the CEO make a statement at a company-wide meeting or ask managers to speak to staff one-on-one.
Choose a relevant topic
Although you might have a variety of issues you want to explore, limiting your survey to a single topic can help staff stay focused. Topic example you may want to explore include career development, communication tactics and resources, personal needs, manager effectiveness and team dynamics.
Show how surveys create change
Many staff members may worry that answering survey questions won’t actually lead to any changes. Put this concern to rest by:
- Showing how previous feedback has led to positive change.
- Sharing the survey data once it’s collected.
- Setting action plans based on the collected information.
- Sending periodic updates on how your plans are progressing.
By being transparent before and after the survey, you can ensure current and future surveys are taken seriously.
Make them feel comfortable
Roughly one-third of staff members are uncomfortable speaking up at work. Assure staff their identifying information will remain anonymous. Whether you’re limiting demographic questions, using a special survey tool or having an outside vendor perform the survey, communicate how you’re working to keep survey answers confidential. This will help your staff provide honest answers.
Limit the number of questions
You might think that long surveys will give you more data, but the opposite is often true. Staff members see a long list of questions, decide they don’t have time to answer them all and exit the survey.
Improve your employee survey by keeping the number of multiple choice or true/false answers to 50 or less. And don’t include more than three short-answer questions.
Surveys that need to be performed outside of work hours or during unplanned downtime have a much smaller chance of getting filled out. Depending on the length of your survey, set aside a 15-, 30- or 60-minute block of time for staff members to take the survey during their work time. This ensures they can give it the time and attention it deserves.
Even if you put time on their calendar to handle a survey, people get sick, go on vacation or have other obligations that can cause the survey to become one more email lost in their inbox.
Send periodic reminders to everyone who hasn’t yet taken the survey—or set new appointments on their calendars so they can prioritize it.
Survey prizes are a great way to encourage staff participation—especially if you find fun ways to use them. Try some of these ideas:
- Offer a fun item, such as a push-pop keychain or a scented candle to everyone who participates.
- Give a larger survey prize to the first five or 10 people to answer, like wireless ear buds or a combination lamp and tool set.
- Put everyone who fills out the survey into a prize drawing for a major gift, such as a high-end watch.
With these ideas on how to improve employee surveys, you get more of what a great survey offers: data. And by following these tips and best practices, you’ll soon be able to turn that data into plans.