In today’s technology-driven business world, surveys may seem like relics of the past. Compared to advanced machine-learning algorithms and technical data analytics methods, the humble survey has lost some of its once-shiny appeal. But, there is still a lot of value to uncover with this tried and true engagement tactic.
Done right, workplace surveys can influence company culture, support workplace initiatives, solve problems and more. Here are a few ways surveys can make an impact.
Surveys act as a mouthpiece for employees, granting them a platform to express their views, concerns, and suggestions. Conducting regular surveys sends a strong, positive message to the workforce that their opinions are valued and considered. Data from surveys reveal the priorities and pressing issues for employees, allowing the organization to address them proactively.
Workplace surveys that allow respondents to remain anonymous, encourage honest and candid feedback without fear of retribution. This confidentiality empowers employees to speak openly about their experiences, concerns, and suggestions, which can be critical for identifying and addressing issues within the organization.
When deploying surveys on a regular basis, leaders have the chance to track trends historically and spot concerning patterns. By assessing levels of job satisfaction, commitment, and engagement, surveys provide employees with the opportunity to share their contentment (or discontentment) within the organization — and they provide a roadmap for companies to identify areas of improvement.
For example, surveys may reveal development and training needs, helping leaders better understand relevant and effective training and development programs. They can also bring issues to light that leaders would have otherwise remained unaware of. In frontline industries especially, there are often literal physical distances between the management team making decisions and the workforce executing the vision. This is a breeding ground for problems, if left unchecked. By checking in on a regular basis with ongoing surveys, leaders can keep their finger on the pulse.
By aggregating employee feedback, surveys also provide valuable data that can influence organizational decision-making, ensuring that employee opinions are included in the mix when implementing new policies, procedures, or other workplace initiatives.
Surveys can also be tailored to capture data on various aspects of operations, helping leaders drill down not only on employee satisfaction, but also product quality, productivity, customer experience, and more. This data allows companies to align their workplace strategies and more effectively with their goals and objectives.
Surveys are a fantastic tool for modern leaders to empower employees, uncover workplace trends, and make smarter business decisions. However, it’s important to understand the tools at hand and recognize their limitations.
While ongoing, regular surveys can deliver inherent benefits for engagement and more, annual surveys typically fall short. The simple truth is a yearly check-in will never be enough. By the time the data is analyzed and insights are generated, the survey responses may not reflect the current state of affairs, rendering the findings less impactful or, worse, obsolete. Since they are often extensive and time-consuming, annual surveys can also suffer from response fatigue and low response rates, which can compromise the integrity of the data. Annual surveys can still serve a purpose, of course. They can help track macro and historical trends, and are helpful for retrospective analysis. But, they should not be the only tool in the arsenal.
In contrast, frequent, short surveys help gauge the pulse of the organization in the moment, allowing for timely adjustments and interventions, higher engagement, and more precise, relevant data.