“One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” – Arnold H. Glasow
How do you do that? One way is to do employee surveys. There are several inexpensive internet tools that can assess employee morale, or how they feel about an upcoming change or what’s most important to them. But how do you make sure you are getting reliable information to make sound management decisions?
5 tips to turn your employee surveys into a powerful management tool
1. Start out with a clear objective.
If you are losing good people, they ask what they can do to improve morale and retention. If you are contemplating changes in benefits and compensation policies, they zero in on what’s important to employees, what’s not important, and where employees would like to see changes.
2. Communicate the survey’s purpose.
Tells people what it’s about, makes it clear their opinions are valuable and that all responses will be considered. Without this communication, employees might not take it seriously.
3. Don’t ask questions if you aren’t prepared to deal with the answer.
The salary question is a good example. If you ask employees whether they are happy with their salaries, you may create an expectation that you will make changes based on the results of the survey. This can lead to increased dissatisfaction if, after the survey, no changes are made.
4. Share the results
Many employees feel that their survey responses simply fall into a black hole, never to emerge. Letting employees know, in a really visible way, about the survey findings creates a positive mood and sets the stage for potential changes whether in policies or procedures or operations.
5. Never survey without ACTION
The purpose of a survey is to provide sound reliable information to guide decisions and make things happen. Probably the worst mistake is deciding not to do anything at all with the survey results. An employee survey is an implicit promise of an intention to make changes. When employees see management do something with the information they provided, employee trust more; they engage more; and they perform more. In other words, actions lead to wins.
Management Success Tip
Surveys, if done right, are efficient and low cost methods to reach out to your people, to ask them what they think, to show them that their opinions count, and to act as lightning rods for change. It is also a valuable tool to make sound business and people management decisions.
Are you planning to survey your employees on such critical issues such as commitment, management practices or retention? Let me know what you discovered and what you plan to do about it.
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- Copyright © 2012 Marcia Zidle business and leadership coach.