Using surveys to solicit employee feedback has long been a part of sound management practice, but the way surveys are conducted has changed over time as workplace communication and the state of survey technology have changed. Until recently, email was the dominant communication tool in the workplace, and online survey tools represented the predominant method of feedback collection. Today, however, email has given way to more efficient cloud-based communication and collaboration tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, and new survey technology has also emerged that is better suited to a cloud-based paradigm. Here are some best practices for conducting, sharing, and discussing employee survey results in today’s workplace using current technology.
Choose the Right Survey Tools
The first step is choosing the right survey tools. Yesterday’s technology suffers from some major disadvantages compared to today’s cutting-edge tools.
Company-Wide Meeting Announcement
The least technologically-sophisticated way to conduct a survey is to announce it at a company-wide meeting. This is unprofessional and unproductive for a number of reasons. It gives participants little opportunity to consider their input. It exudes undue peer pressure over feedback, skewing results. It also provides no objective analytic tools for reviewing feedback, relying on subjective intuition instead of well-defined input and measurable data. Much the same is true of collecting handwritten feedback.
Then there are email attachments. A major risk here is that the email will never get read or the attachment won’t even be opened, given the amount of email that clutters the average worker’s inbox. When it comes to discussing feedback, email chains don’t lend themselves well to sharing. Someone who joins the discussion late has to catch up on previous contributions to the thread, which may be scattered throughout multiple emails. If you’re referencing a document attachment, email runs the risk of document versions getting out of sync, so that one person may be talking about a document that has been updated several times since the version they’re referencing.
Traditional Online Surveys
Traditional online surveys also suffer from limitations. While effective for collecting and analyzing information, they aren’t designed for sharing and discussion. This leaves no mechanism for follow-up discussion. Additionally, older online tools lack the big data analytics capability of today’s technology.
Intuitive Survey Solutions
Today’s best survey tools are designed to overcome these limitations. For instance, Polly is designed to work with Slack and Microsoft Teams, which adopt a social media format rather than an outdated email format. Just as multiple members can join a social media discussion and stay up-to-date with the latest comments and document versions, Polly enables everybody to stay on the same page in the discussion by displaying surveys in a format that looks like Twitter polls. Responding to a Polly poll is as easy as replying to a tweet, and it’s easy to share and discuss results. Polly also includes powerful built-in analytics capability that gives you instant insights into the results of your survey and what it means for your organization. Slack-based survey tools such as Polly yield a 30 percent increase in employee participation compared to email and web-based survey tools.
Explain the Purpose of Your Survey
The next step is explaining the purpose of your survey to your participants. Explaining the reason for your survey and its practical significance will increase your participants’ engagement by helping them appreciate the value of their contribution.
Let your employees know why their feedback matters to your company and how it affects them. For instance, if your survey is inquiring about a common employee complaint, explain that you’re trying to fix the problem to make their job easier and improve efficiency and you need their help.
Also, explain to your employees what you plan to do with their feedback. Emphasizing the practical action you will take with the information they provide will make them more invested in the outcome.
Share Your Survey Feedback with Your Team
After your participants fill out your survey, the next step is to share their feedback with your team. This shows your employees that you’re listening to their opinions and concerns. It also demonstrates that you’re doing something with their input, making them more likely to participate in future surveys. It further cultivates a culture of transparency and accountability by showing that you’re taking ownership of the survey results.
It’s especially important to share negative feedback as well as positive. Failing to share negative feedback will leave employees suspicious that you’re not serious about their opinions, promoting a lack of engagement, and it will rob you of an opportunity to correct real issues. Listening carefully to negative feedback will empower you to make adjustments and corrections.
Schedule Reviews of Your Feedback
It’s important to follow up on your survey by scheduling specific time slots to discuss feedback. Failing to schedule discussion time runs the risk that discussion will get put off indefinitely, with no follow-up.
For best results, schedule feedback reviews on a regular basis. This will help ensure that you’re making continuous forward progress.
Take Action on Your Survey Results
The last and most vital step is to take action on your survey’s results. Failing to take action on your survey discourages employee engagement while following up with concrete action boosts engagement. When CareerBuilder asked employees what would most motivate them to stay with an employer, 48 percent said asking employees what they want and putting feedback into action.
Itemize and implement some specific actions to take in response to your employees’ feedback. For instance, if your employees have identified a problem with one of your operational procedures, create an action plan for correcting the issue.
Implementing these steps will help you get more practical value out of your employee surveys and improve the workplace culture and operational efficiency of your company. Take the first step today by requesting a demo with Polly and equipping yourself with today’s best tool for effective employee surveys.