I’m a big believer that if you want to know what employees are thinking, you should ask them. And in this technology age, one of the best ways to do that is via an electronic survey.
Surveys are only as good as their design. It’s important when designing any type of survey that the questions are constructed properly and the number of questions makes sense. People are willing to take longer surveys for complex topics. You might even be able to do a series of surveys. For example, if you wanted to survey employees about health care, instead of one long survey, you could do a series of smaller ones on medical, dental, and prescription coverage.
However, too much of a good thing can backfire. Too many surveys can have the opposite effect. Or surveys that are too long can cause employees to abandon them mid-survey. There’s a fine line that needs to be maintained. When your organization utilizes surveys, here are four things to consider so employees don’t get survey fatigue.
- Tell employees why surveys are important. This can be a conversation during orientation. Let employees know that you’re going to ask for their feedback. Tell them why an employee survey is valuable. Maybe even share an example or two of how employee survey feedback has improved the workplace.
- Create an editorial calendar for your employee survey. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but somewhere keep a calendar of the surveys that are scheduled to go out. Also make note of big events happening around the office like holidays, employee recognition parties, etc. That will keep you from scheduling surveys during peak busy times for the operation.
- Sometimes say “no”. If there are too many requests for surveys during the same time, you might need to say “no”. Or schedule a survey that is less time sensitive. Or combine surveys. Be flexible and try to create a win-win. But also realize that overwhelming employees with surveys can impact the quality of data.
- Share the results. Speaking of data, anytime you ask employees for their feedback, they need to see the results. They will be curious. Employees want to know if their thoughts were the same as others or if they’re not in sync with the majority. So always share survey results with the group.
An employee survey is an important part of how organizations get feedback. That’s a good thing. But surveys need to be constructed properly, implemented strategically, and communicated well. Because the last thing an organization wants is for their employees to come down with a case of survey fatigue.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while in the Wynwood Art District in Miami, FL16