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Adding Meaning to Employee Climate Surveys

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HC Online | 12 Oct 2010, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Employee engagement surveys can leave big questions unanswered. It’s important that your surveys provide specific enough data to enable executives to improve employee engagement - especially if used in executive performance appraisals.
  • Bernie Althofer | 18 Oct 2010, 10:34 AM Agree 0
    Surveys can be extremely beneficial to individuals and organisations if there is commitment to them. All too often a employee climate survey is conducted at great expense (time and resources) only to have the results not meet the expectations of those who commissioned it. The survey sits gathering dust and then another survey is conducted and the same thing happens again. If this happens, there is every likelihood that participants will speak in negative terms or may even try and provide responses to skew the results. Good and bad results have to be assessed and acted on. The participation rates can improve substantially if people can actually see something change because of feedback they have provided in the Employee Climate Survey.
  • Ken Dudley | 04 Aug 2011, 09:49 AM Agree 0
    There is a constant danger of survey mistrust as a result of presenting poorly developed surveys. Questions that are constructed in such a way that the person filling them out can't complete without thinking "if I answer this way or that way how is that answer interpreted" this creates frustration about getting their message across. All surveys should have free text to allow the person completing to post constructive feedback. The timeframe for publishing results is important, leave it too long and the impact is lost and can appear that time was needed to portray the results in a more positive light. Over use the survey as a feedback mechanism and the results are likely - " we told you what you wanted to hear"
  • Hilary Sayers | 05 Aug 2011, 12:24 PM Agree 0
    Thank you Bernie for highlighting the importance of acting on Employee Climate Results. A perceived lack of company commitment to use the survey results can do more harm than good.
  • Hilary Sayers | 05 Aug 2011, 12:51 PM Agree 0
    You make important points, Ken. Survey design is a critical issue and it takes the right level of expertise to structure the questions in a neutral and unambiguous way. I agree, too, about the free text option being very helpful. One of the reasons I think organisations delay their response is that the senior leaders don't like the results! I saw this once where the denial was so great they never gave feedback to staff, ever. What a terrible waste of opportunity!
  • Sharon Dwyer | 16 Aug 2011, 10:30 AM Agree 0
    Unfortunately I have seen too many times employee surveys being used as a way of "being seen to be doing something". The questions are asked and at best lip service is given to the results and then the process is repeated again at some point in the future. It leads to disengagement by employees because their concerns are not given correct credence and ends up having the opposite effect than was being looked for.
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