Like most organizational initiatives, employee surveys only appear to be simple. But in fact, developing, deploying, analyzing and responding to employee surveys require managers to think like psychologists, analyze like statisticians, and respond like sociologists.
However, as in many things, a good process that supports sound strategy is always the answer. There needs to be a fundamental shift in strategy in order to take full advantage of the ten critical success factors listed below.
The correct methodology provides the ability for any organization to get higher value than ever before. In order to do more than just a survey, organizations must do more than collect data, analyze data, diagnose issues, prescribe solutions, and generate reports. for instance, at Perceptyx, we help organizations to ask, listen, respond, involve and solve the issues together with employees that are getting in the way of improved performance.
Critical Success Factors:
1. Establish clear goals and objectives. Early in the planning stage, we will facilitate the articulation of the overall goals and objectives of the survey and define the anticipated return on investment.
These objectives should be developed with management input and clearly communicated to employees in order to demonstrate the importance of the process. Without long-term objectives that are clearly linked to company performance, the survey may fail to elicit the management support and secure the resources required for success.
Note to Self: Determine what the organization hopes to achieve and what the implications are for company performance.
2. Develop a communication plan. We will help prepare a comprehensive communication plan to support each stage of the survey. The plan should include a schedule of communication "events" as well as a budget and formally assigned responsibilities. In the absence of a communication plan, employees may not recognize the importance of the process or see the connection between survey findings and subsequent follow-up actions.
Note to Self: Prepare and execute a plan to issue survey-related messages at the appropriate time the messages should be communicated.
3. Brand the survey process. The survey should be "branded" with a recognizable theme and an identifiable graphic logo. The branding will help to provide continuity across each stage of the survey and establish the survey as an inclusive, informative process, rather than a disruptive, one-time event. If possible, the survey should be linked to other ongoing change initiatives. Without branding, the survey may be seen by employees as an unconnected initiative that will have limited consequences for the organization.
Note to Self: Identify a theme that management wants to convey through the employee survey and integrate with a wider company change initiative.
4. Allocate sufficient resources. This is where our company really provides value. By leveraging appropriate technology, we increase the ability for you to accomplish more with less resources. Otherwise, without adequate resources or technology, the survey follow-up stage will lack the support required to be effective and will often meet with resistance from line management. In addition, employees might be convinced to participate in one survey, but if they see no tangible evidence of change after the survey, they are not likely to make the effort to participate again.
Note to Self: Provide the most powerful technology you can find combined with extremely high levels of service to execute a smart, focused, and effective process with minimal disruption to normal workloads.
5. Define roles and responsibilities. Support your survey by creating a network of internal survey champions with responsibility for identifying the requirements for their part of the business. With Perceptyx, managing data collection will no longer be the arduous task it once was. Instead of spending time and resources on data collection, data analysis and diagnosis, team members will be able to focus on supporting follow-up actions. Survey champions must be sold on the value of the survey and given a clear description of their role requirements so that they can budget their time accordingly We train managers who will receive survey results for their areas of operation so they will have clear instructions regarding their responsibilities for survey follow-up. Training can occur prior to, or during the survey so that they will be prepared to execute their specific responsibilities of being the survey champions. By training and preparing all of the managers who will receive survey results, they will be prepared to respond to their areas of operation immediately following the survey, action plans will be developed along with employees, increasing the likelihood of improvement.
Note to Self: Leverage good technology and provide training support and direction for the managers that will receive the survey results.
6. Demonstrate management commitment. The survey process will have greater credibility if employees believe that it is endorsed and supported by senior management. Our technology-supported process will enable management commitment to be communicated more easily, thus reassuring employees that their views will be taken into account and acted on. Even when management commitment is provided, if it is not widely visible, employees may view the survey as a public relations exercise designed to project a "caring" management style rather than a process for identifying and acting on employee concerns.
Note to Self: There is no better way to communicate commitment than by immediate action. When the principal sponsor of the employee survey, working with Senior Management, provides the results within hours instead of weeks or months, commitment to the process is demonstrated.
7. Ask the right questions the right way. The survey should be designed to measure areas that are of concern to management and employees. Even when the questionnaire includes standardized items, the wording should be modified to reflect the culture of the company. An "off the shelf" instrument that fails to address issues of concern or that fails to reflect the language and terminology of the organization will be seen as lacking in relevance and will fail to engage employees.
Note to Self: Identify and incorporate the topic areas that should be covered in the survey and determine how these questions should be asked for maximum effectiveness.
8. Collect data the right way at the right time. Consider the datacollection methodology that is best suited to your workforce. Traditionally, surveys have been administered using printed questionnaires, but the technology is now readily available for conducting online surveys that make data collection easier, more efficient, and less costly. Ease and convenience translate into higher response rates. Even if employees do not have access to their own computer, they can respond using a kiosk or computer training facilities to take the survey. Many employees today have better, faster computers at home than are provided in the workplace. Equally important, survey administration must include the results reporting plan so that the findings are available immediately and in time to be included in business planning.
Note to Self: Ensure that we have fast, easy, and efficient data collection with even better reporting capabilities.
9. Take clear follow-up action. The most effective way to build confidence in the survey process, and thereby improve participation rates for future surveys, is for the organization to take clear and visible action based on survey results. A realistic number of areas should be targeted for follow-up action to allow the organization to concentrate and focus resources on issues that will have the greatest impact on performance. Failure to take action will create apathy toward the survey, and targeting too many issues will diffuse the effectiveness of follow-up actions.
Note to Self: Identify best practices and suggested improvement solutions for every item on the survey prior to launch so that when the survey results identify the top two or three items, they also include recommendations that are immediately available to every manager. By identifying key areas for action for each and every item and which actions are most likely to affect performance, managers have the ability to act on issues rather than just identify them.
10. Review and audit the process. A formal audit process should be planned to monitor the effectiveness of follow-up actions and to measure progress against objectives. Actions that meet with success should be widely communicated and celebrated. This audit should also include an assessment of the ROI associated with follow-up actions in order to determine where investments should be increased, reduced, or discontinued. Measuring the effectiveness and ROI of follow-up actions will enhance the business relevance of the survey for both employees and managers. It sends out the signal that the survey isn’t simply a nice thing to do -- it’s good for business.
Note to Self: Include a built in action planning process into the survey results tools for every manager that received results reporting to find out the positive effect of the survey follow-up actions and what ROI they were able to achieve.
Enhancing employee motivation and engagement has become a business imperative and is essential to compete effectively in today’s market. The employee survey can be used to develop a strategy for creating a highly-motivational work environment for improving business performance.
Leveraging the critical success factors outlined above will engage both management and employees in the survey process and can serve as a catalyst for positive organizational alignment and improvement. By creating an environment in which employees are involved and have a productive and open dialogue with management, every person in the organization feels like they have a voice that matters!
Perhaps the most significant factor is communicating concern and respect for employees at every level of the organization. By using the correct engagement process you will enable managers at all levels of the organization to ask, listen, respond, involve and solve the issues together with employees while the issues are still important. Today.