Employee surveys are a great enhancement tool for organisations. They create valuable insights for organisations and offer HR the chance to demonstrate their added value. In order for the two to happen however, there has to be a considerable financial, time and energy investment.
Sadly, despite the best intentions, many organisations fail to get the maximum return of investment from their employee surveys. Our experience has shown us that the two main reasons for this are the lack of meaningful action and time between repeat surveys.
A chance for HR
Employee surveys are a chance for HR to show their expertise and added value.
Well conducted and executed employee surveys help organisations create impact by increasing key focus areas such as employee engagement, as well as improving organisational performance. As professionals, HR have the knowledge and experience to ensure that the employee survey process runs smoothly.
Their unique position, between organisations’ stakeholders and the business objectives, and employees, enables HR to also make sure that employee surveys are thoroughly communicated (why, how, deadlines etc..), executed, and are in line with the business objectives.
When performed well, employee surveys should provide insight into workload, role clarity, efficiency, employee vitality, work atmosphere and leadership, as well as providing detailed information on employee commitment and engagement.
Alongside this, well performed surveys identify the main issues in an organisation and specifically address:
- Which departments are performing well? And which departments are struggling?
- Where in the organisation is bad leadership and management an issue? And where is it adding value?
- Are there certain employees that are less engaged and committed and if so, why?
Two main causes
The two biggest reasons that organisations fail to get the most out of their employee surveys are:
1. Lack of meaningful action
When employees feel the planned survey follow-up actions aren’t meaningful, aren’t addressing their concerns, using their input or addressing the right areas, there generally lacks real commitment to any planned follow-up initiatives.
Furthermore, if no concrete action is taken, employees quickly become demotivated for future surveys. Their trust that the surveys will lead to improvements becomes severely damaged, which leads to employees putting minimum effort into any future survey or organisation wide initiative.
2. Time between repeat surveys
Most commonly, organisations conduct their employee survey once every two years. Realistically, two years is too long to wait to measure and evaluate the impact of any previous post survey initiative. The lack of a regular check-up means the chance to effectively evaluate initiatives, as well as solve any issues, passes by.
Alongside this, the two year wait for the next survey means that organisations are failing to capitalise on any momentum built up from the last survey. In most cases, organisations have to start the next survey process almost from scratch and further, miss an opportunity to regularly know exactly what is going on within the organisation.
Avoiding wasted investments
Combined, the two are often the primary cause why organisations fail to get the most from their employee surveys and why organisations are often disappointed with the outcomes. The effect of the two creates a very inefficient survey process, and huge investments are often wasted.
Fortunately, with the right help and expertise, the two are easily avoidable. For organisations, it is essential to think about the action process and to have the right tools available. Furthermore, as employee survey technology has become increasingly more advanced, surveys are now easier than ever to conduct and repeat.