Survey your Employees - How happy are they really?

Growing a business successfully means being able to keep your best employees. In the modern marketplace there isn’t an expectation that they will stay for their whole career, but it is realistic to aim for 3-4 years at least as opposed to just a few months. With this in mind, how do you know if your employees are really happy? How do you find out, and will they be willing to share their experiences both good and bad? Here are our tips for surveying your employees so that you can get the information you need to improve your organisational culture and keep your best people.
Designing the survey
Think about what would be important to your employees and put yourself in their shoes. Consider things such as career progression, learning opportunities, work life balance, benefits, company culture etc. Also consider what information will be useful to implementing organisational change. This will determine the type of questions you ask.
Using an online survey system can make collating the results easier and it also provides anonymity for employees. In a manual survey you might recognise handwriting, but an online survey can be taken in private and won’t reveal an employee’s identity. A multiple choice format will make reviewing results easier, however, also allow options for employees to give reasons for their answers on some of the questions. Especially if it is a yes or no answer.
Getting honest feedback
Even conducting an anonymous survey, won’t get the desired results unless employees believe that change will actually take place. In other words, if the company has a culture where ideas are shot down and complaints are ignored, employees will likely take a “why bother” attitude. If you want to get honest feedback, then employees need to believe that their voice matters, and their concerns will be addressed.
So before you ask employees: What could be wrong?, take a critical look at the company culture and confirm if it is a place where communication is encouraged and ideas are welcomed.  Employees are far more likely to be honest in their feedback if they think their ideas will be considered and their concerns addressed in a positive way.
What do you do with the information?
Even though you don’t know what the feedback might be, have a plan to use the information to implement change. Collate the answers and give feedback to all the participants. It will be interesting for them to find out if others have the same issues or concerns as they do. Give people the opportunity to put forward suggestions to problems that have been highlighted, or have a brainstorming session with your senior team members on how to move forward.   
Implementing change
The most critical part of conducting an employee survey, is actually doing something with the information you receive. Create a plan, communicate it to everybody and put things in place that will help drive change. For example: if employees feedback that they feel they could be more productive if they had somewhere where they could take a break, consider creating an outdoor garden area where they could relax and eat their lunch, or building a games and recreation room where they could switch off completely and have some fun. Get employees involved as this will give them a sense of ownership and get them more engaged with the process of change.


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