Getting organisations to conduct an employee opinion survey can be tricky. There always seems to be something else that is more “pressing” to pay attention to. In this article, we discuss why employee opinion surveys are worth investing your time and money in.
As an organisation, your biggest asset is your workforce: people are the backbone of any organisation – not machines or buildings.
Just as we usually put aside time and money to maintain and upgrade the equipment we use in our organisation, so too should we dedicate these resources to finding out exactly what our employees are thinking – about the nature of their jobs and workplace, the future of their careers within the organisation plus the general direction and performance of the company as a whole.
Here 8 key reasons why you should regularly conduct employee opinion surveys in your organisation.
Give employees a voice
Engagement opinion surveys provide employees an avenue to share feedback with management. This is a great opportunity to turn the usual unidirectional top-down communication into a two-way loop where employees get to have a say in both the planning and execution of the company’s activities.
This is important because employees have a unique “frontline” perspective where they are able to perceive both strengths and weaknesses in the company’s structure and processes from an angle that management simply can’t. With their hands-on knowledge of the organisation’s day-to-day work process, employees can share valuable insights about how these daily operations can be improved.
Positive working environment
Conducting employee opinion surveys also contributes to creating and nurturing a positive working environment in your organisation. Intentionally seeking out your employees’ opinions on company matters lets them know that top management is really listening to what they have to say and makes them feel valued.
It also gives them a sense of having more of a real stake in the future of the company.
Measure employee engagement
The main reason for conducting employee opinion surveys is to measure the engagement levels of your employees. Measuring employee perceptions on key engagement indicators within your organisation enables you to evaluate whether your employees are engaged or disengaged.
These factors to measure include: pay/benefits, job satisfaction, career advancement opportunities, quality of leadership, work environment, work relationships, communication, accountability, recognition, and company policies.
Increase employee engagement
Once you have measured how engaged your employees are you can then put in place actual steps to increase engagement. The data gathered from the employee opinion survey helps you identify which specific employee engagement factors need to be prioritised for improving and how to improve them.
For example, finding out what kind of employment benefits your employees appreciate most, as well as which ones they would like to have, can guide you in revamping your employee compensation package in order to retain existing employees and attract more similarly talented employees in your industry.
It’s also worth highlighting that the mere act of conducting an employee opinion survey in itself contributes to increasing employee engagement by showing how invested you are in finding out their opinions. There is a strong direct correlation between employee engagement and business success.
Understand workplace climate
Employee opinion surveys enable you to know employees’ feelings, opinions and perceptions about the organisation’s climate or environment. This is particularly important for businesses going through a restructuring phase or merger/acquisition.
They need to gain deep insight into how employees are taking the massive changes and whether they are still committed to the company’s mission and vision.
Employee opinion surveys also enable management to learn about the company’s working conditions from an insider because no matter how hard managers work to create ideal working conditions for your employees, only honest feedback from the employees can let them know how effective their efforts are.
Help employees improve each other
Employee opinion surveys can be structured as 360-degree surveys with the aim of gathering feedback on an employee from various sources in the workplace – teammates, supervisors, and subordinates too.
This provides a holistic, multi-level perspective and gives an employee a deep understanding of how they are perceived by their coworkers in the organisation, as well as key areas where they can improve.
Handle problems before they get too big
Employee opinion surveys are a way of “checking the temperature” of your organisation so that small issues can be dealt with from the root before they escalate into disasters. For example, attracting and retaining talented employees is essential for a business to succeed.
The employee dissatisfaction that can lead to high turnover (and its related costs for your company) can be quickly detected with an employee opinion survey and dealt with before it turns into a full-on exodus of high-quality employees.
A common type of employee opinion survey is the exit survey. Exit surveys enable you to understand the reasons behind an employee’s resignation and to gain better insight into the working environment in your organisation.
This information can be used to figure out which policy changes need to be made to prevent similar resignations as well as what kind of training and development opportunities to offer.
Conducting employee opinion surveys allows you to benchmark. The data from the first survey can be used a baseline and then changes can be tracked over time.
Benchmarking also enables you to identify which issues are specific to your company and which ones are industry-wide. Employee opinion surveys can also be used to indirectly survey other key stakeholders in your organisation. For example, your employees can share useful feedback on how well customers are receiving a newly-launched product.
Conducting employee opinion surveys enables you to gather vital feedback that can be used to improve your work processes, working environment, and bottom line. One key thing to remember is to keep these employee opinion surveys anonymous.
Employees need to know that their privacy is protected for them to share honest and insightful feedback about issues that they might otherwise be uncomfortable raising with you. This is how you get accurate, actionable data about the state of your organisation.