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What are employee surveys?

There has been a large and growing interest from organizations in adopting employee surveys. Surveys are tools used by organizational leadership to gain feedback on and measure employee engagement, employee morale, and performance. Usually answered anonymously, surveys are also used to gain a holistic picture of employees’ feelings on such areas as working conditions, supervisory impact, and motivation that regular channels of communication may not. Surveys are considered effective in this regard provided they are well-designed, effectively administered, have validity, and evoke changes and improvements.

What types of employee surveys are available?

Staff satisfaction surveys
A staff satisfaction survey measures an employee’s happiness with their current job. Typically, the information sought relates to ‘HR issues’ covering aspects such as pay and benefits and working conditions.

Employee engagement surveys
An employee engagement survey measures their emotional commitment to the organization, highlighting things like their willingness to put in discretionary effort, whether they’d recommend the organization and their intention to remain working there in future.

​Kiosk surveys
Surveying employees in ‘real-time’ is a prominent trend, particularly in a number of global businesses. They’re looking for an ‘always on’ approach capturing employees’ feelings and views. They achieve this by deploying survey kiosks in offices or other communal staff areas. Employees are asked just one (or a few) simple questions like “did you feel valued at work today?” Companies such as DHL, eBay, Microsoft and Nike use similar types of real-time surveys for their employees.

Mood surveys
These are ultra-simple surveys intended to get a very quick overview of the mood among a workforce. Such surveys can come in the form of an online, tablet or smartphone app or on a dedicated device (such as a kiosk – see above). They make participation quick and straightforward typically using touch-based icons (i.e. smiley face), colored buttons or a slider scale to indicate how they currently feel.

​Pulse surveys
Pulse surveys, or snap surveys as they’re sometimes called, are typically smaller in scale with less employees invited to take part and/or the fewer number of questions in the survey. Naturally, this reduces the resulting admin. The frequency of ‘pulse check’ surveys is most commonly either monthly or quarterly. Such surveys may be used to check-in on engagement or prominent themes from a full engagement survey or to gauge employees’ views on hot topics.

IVR (telephone) surveys
IVR or Interactive Voice Response surveys, to give them their full name, are telephone-based. Most commonly associated with gaining customer feedback, IVR surveys can also be a useful survey methodology for when you have groups of employees that are based remotely and perhaps don’t have ready access to the internet.

​Pull surveys
Some organizations favor a local approach to engagement. They want to give local teams the autonomy and ability to ‘pull’ (or request) an employee survey rather than ‘push’ it. This obviously gives local managers ownership of the process and enables them to create and run surveys on an ad hoc basis to suit their needs.

​Culture surveys
Organizational culture is now widely regarded as a top priority for businesses. Naturally, organizations undergoing cultural change are keen to measure progress on this. To do this, they may use a culture survey to get employees’ views on the working culture and identify any obstacles to the desired new culture.

​Joiners’ (or new hire) surveys
The opening weeks and months in a new job is a formative and hugely important time for employees. Put simply, first impressions count. Many organizations therefore survey new joiners after their first week or month (or both) to capture, among other things, their views on the hiring and on-boarding process.

​Leavers’ (or exit) surveys
Capturing the views of employees before they leave can be tremendously insightful. At a time when retaining talent has never been as crucial, a leavers’ survey can highlight themes and patterns in why people choose to leave, helping the business to address things, where necessary.

​What are the benefits of adopting employee surveys?

There are many known benefits of employee pulse surveys, mostly found in employee engagement, improved company culture, and the like. The benefits, in detail, include:

  • ​Measurement of employee engagement and satisfaction.
  • Improved employee engagement.
    • Engaged employees are more productive and take less time off
    • Engaged employees make customers happier.
    • Employee engagement leads to an increased productivity.
    • Engaged employees perform at a higher level and bring passion and interest to their job, which often leads to innovation in the workplace.
    • Employees who are engaged significantly lower the risk of turnover for the company.
    • Companies with more engaged employees tend to have higher profitability rates.
  • Increase positive company culture.
    • Many employees cite negative company culture as a reason for changing jobs, so there are great benefits for having a positive company culture.
  • Encourages employees to focus on specific topical subjects.
  • They allow for analysis of improvements.
  • Allow for statistical analysis.
  • Encourages open communication.

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