Asking for Feedback: How & Why You Need to Survey Your Employees

Sep 26, 2018 | Assess, Leadership Lounge

Most employers know that surveys are a great tool to measure engagement, but did you know they help increase engagement as well?

Surveys help employees feel involved and encourage them to participate and contribute ideas. When people feel that their opinions are heard and valued they begin to have a personal stake in achieving the wider goals of your organization. They are more likely to take initiative and push themselves to go beyond the minimum expectations required of their position. If you aren’t surveying your employees, there’s a good chance that your business isn’t performing as well as it could be.


Let Me Rephrase That

It’s not enough just to give a survey, though—you have to ask the right questions. To get the best results from your survey, use positive, open-ended questions. Framing questions as a positive instead of a negative elicits constructive feedback from employees, rather than a list of things they don’t like. For example, asking “How has this position helped you achieve personal career growth?” rather than “What could we do better to aid your career growth?” would elicit more or less the same response. However, the first question would leave the employee feeling empowered, hopeful, and (you guessed it) engaged, while the second would likely stir existing frustrations and push an already disgruntled employee towards being actively disengaged.


Honest Answers Only

Another challenge is making employees feel comfortable responding to your survey truthfully. If a person is worried about retaliation for comments, they are unlikely to share criticism and risk causing friction in the work environment or losing their job security. One way to put these fears at ease is to make the survey anonymous. Guaranteeing anonymity enables employees to give honest feedback without being identified by name, position, or department. This is almost always the best way to truly gauge employee satisfaction and engagement.


You Asked, Now Listen

Regardless of the responses to your survey, it’s important to let employees know that their feedback has been heard and that you are working to make adjustments based on their comments and suggestions. For example, you might make an announcement like this: “One common thread in our recent survey responses was a frustration with our software program XYZ. To address this, we are actively testing new vendors that might better suit our needs.”

The bottom line is that surveying without taking action equates to short-term appeasement and long-term distrust of employees. Surveys signal a willingness to listen and change, but a lack of follow-through mitigates that perception. Bottom line: this is your chance to create a better workplace.

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