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Tips for conducting effective staff surveys

Assessing staff attitudes and perceptions with a staff survey is essential for any organisation that’s serious about improving employee engagement, reducing staff turnover and maintaining good customer relationships. By utilising the following staff survey tips, you’ll be well on your way to energising your employees and building sustainable high performance.

How to conduct more effective staff surveys

1. Communicate the staff survey from the top

Send a personalised letter from your CEO to advocate the staff survey and its significance to the health and performance of your organisation. In the message, include details such as:

  • the purpose of the staff survey
  • security of responses and confidentiality
  • survey open and close dates
  • how long the staff survey will take to complete
  • what will happen post staff survey
  • mention any charity donations or incentives
  • build confidence by mentioning the survey provider’s credentials

2. Keep it short

The staff survey should be long enough to cover the important areas but not so long that it causes survey fatigue among respondents.

3. Keep it simple

Your staff survey questions should be clear, concise and relevant. Take care of wording to avoid misinterpretation and avoid double barrelled questions like: “Our telephone and I.T. systems are effective”.

4. Think about number crunching before you run the survey

Here at Insync Surveys, too often we hear about past staff survey data that’s still in an excel spreadsheet and in HR’s “too hard basket”. Writing valid survey statements and producing statistically accurate reports are critical for your credibility and reputation, this is where survey professionals can help so we gather the right information and so HR can focus on improvement initiatives.

5. Allow room for open feedback

When given the opportunity, people like to provide honest feedback to tell you what they really think, so they need free text fields for that. Add one to three text boxes, but keep them to a minimum to make data analysis easy and to keep your staff survey project on budget.

6. Emphasise security and confidentiality of staff feedback

Some staff may be suspicious of how their feedback will be handled and may not participate or provide honest feedback if they think their name is linked to their staff survey response. Clearly communicate confidentiality of responses and where the data will be contained. In the reporting stage your staff survey results should only report on a large enough number of respondents so individuals can’t be singled out. Often, the only way to offer staff comfort around security and confidentiality is by engaging an independent third party survey provider such as Insync Surveys.

7. Send staff survey reminders

At first you’ll receive a burst of survey responses but it’ll quickly die down. When the staff survey response rates are looking low, give them a boost by sending reminders but only to those who haven’t completed it.

8. Post staff survey communication

Keep staff updated by communicating next steps. Share the staff survey results with the whole organisation. Line managers should also speak to their staff about the survey results in team meetings so everyone understands what the results mean and what will be done to improve performance. This must take place in a timely manner, not six months after your staff survey.

If you’re starting from a bad place, i.e. didn’t action the last staff survey, be open and honest about your mistakes and help staff understand how you’re conducting the whole staff survey project differently and better this time. Post staff survey communication and improvement initiatives are key to show you’re taking feedback seriously.

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