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Do we take the employee survey for granted?

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I am plagued by a thought – a few weeks ago I met a bunch of critics, who confidently stated that they were no longer able to respond to employee surveys.

The day before, I met an international organisation that was looking at its results and sighing over the fact that in some countries they were very high – as it does not reflect the situation at all, but rather their attitude to democracy and daring to make their voices heard.

Make our voice heard

These two situations in the same week took hold of me. I don’t think that responding to an employee survey automatically leads to democracy – but, all the same, I realised that it’s one way of making our voice heard – in an environment where we spend a large part of our waking hours. It’s a concrete way of influencing our working day and hence our life.

It’s important that we put this in place and create working conditions where we feel good and where we have the best preconditions to perform. This is what an employee questionnaire can help us focus on. It can also generate recommendations to help not only managers but also employees to focus on what is important for their group, to enable them to work on what drives engagement in their organisation. In turn, this will enable us to feel good and perform in our work.

Timing is everything

Our job as organisation developer with Brilliant is to help our customers work on the right issue at the right time, thereby helping groups and employees to progress towards an improved situation. It’s a great thing, I think, and something that gets me out of bed on a dark November day. I feel I’m doing something important if I can be involved and create and deliver knowledge that influences people as well as business.

Sometimes we meet groups that lack the courage to use answers from employee surveys to respond to how things actually are – behaviour that is unhealthy and promotes stress and poor psycho-social health. This is something we want to avoid by getting each group to work on issues that are the most important for them to improve, for the purpose of achieving good team effectiveness, good psycho-social health, a high level of engagement, and a management that helps groups progress towards their targets. Brilliant’s method is built on precisely this.

What is it that commits employees to respond to an employee survey, and what kind of results does it produce?

What we clearly see in our studies is an improvement in those groups that actually work on their results. The point is that working on the results of an employee questionnaire should induce the organisation to work better than before towards completing its assignment and targets. Thorough monitoring and clarity are required in order to achieve this.

3 specific tips for monitoring the results

1. Feedback

It’s important to give feedback to those who have taken the time to complete the questionnaire. The manager needs to give feedback on the group’s answers, and act on the questions that are important for achieving success. In order to achieve success, it is also important that everyone works on the questions they are able to influence themselves, that they can see results and that it pays off. Thus, it is also essential that managers and groups remember to keep employees informed of everything they have done, and what has actually come of the facts the employees have given in their answers in the employee survey.

2. Avoid questionnaire fatigue

In order to avoid questionnaire fatigue – make the questions appropriate, work on the results and give feedback to employees, and celebrate your victories when you succeed in bringing about improvements – it’s one hell of a good job done to drive improvement together. Stop and celebrate it before throwing yourselves at the next challenge!

3. Be clear about your expectations

We can see that brief appraisals have a somewhat lower response frequency than full-scale employee surveys (73% compared with 81%). I think it’s important not to have appraisals too often, but regularly monitor that you’re going in the right direction. It’s important for you as an organisation to be clear about your expectations of managers and employees, what they are expected to do after an appraisal or a full survey – they can’t take on too much, but are happy to work towards success.

This will enable your organisation to respond to important questions that we know promote good health as well as success, and I think it’s important to continue working to ensure better conditions in people’s everyday life. Let us tell you how we can do this for your organisation. Contact us here, and we’ll tell you more!

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