Happy employees are productive employees. They offer your customers a great experience in your store. They are likely to stay longer, returning many times your investment in training them. They may even recruit friends to join your workforce.
Knowing where your strengths and weaknesses are from the employee’s perspective is valuable information. Employee satisfaction surveys offer an opportunity to learn what your employees are thinking. The results of a survey can provide a roadmap to a positive, productive workplace.
Employees feel engaged and cared for when you ask their opinion. They feel empowered when they see that their perspective is valued. When employee ideas are implemented it adds to their sense of pride in the business. Employee surveys provide your staff with a unique mechanism for sharing their criticisms, ideas and perceptions in a safe, confidential way.
Undertaking a staff survey requires managers to step outside their comfort zone. While you might think you know what’s on the minds of your employees, you may be surprised by what a survey brings to light—both negative and positive. Don’t let the fear of what you might learn prevent you from utilizing this valuable tool.
Key Elements for an effective employee survey
- Absolute confidentiality. Not only should employees have confidence that their ratings and comments on a survey questionnaire will not be revealed to anyone, they should also know that the survey data will be analyzed without bias.
- Reflect the opinions of ALL the staff. Don’t let participants self-select based on their interest. Take steps to ensure that all eligible employees fill out questionnaires.
- Include follow-up one-on-one interviews of randomly selected employees. Individual interviews provide insight into the meaning of the results. Here again employees must have confidence that their statements will be handled confidentially and without bias.
- Handle written comments with care. Written comments on the survey questionnaire can shed light on survey results. They should be interpreted with care and kept anonymous.
- Use standard deviation as a tool for interpretation. In statistics,standard deviation shows how much variation exists from the average. On an employee survey, high standard deviation shows that employees strongly differ in their responses to a question.
- Compare results to peer organizations. This will help you interpret the survey results by giving you a sense of whether the scores are “high” or “low” compared to peer organizations, such as local businesses or other natural foods retailers.
- Report back to the staff. Either through an all-staff meeting or a written report, make sure your employees get to see the summary of the survey results.
Once you have the information, be sure to use what you learn to make improvements. It’s important to not only share the survey results with your staff, but to include them in plans to make changes. When properly designed and executed, your employee survey will lay the groundwork for improved employee engagement and a better workplace for everyone.