How to Create an Employee Survey to Boost Engagement & More
Creating an employee survey—whether designed to measure and improve engagement, evaluate the success of onboarding, or monitor reaction to a specific issue—requires careful planning and consideration. You don’t want to invest time, money, and energy without ensuring the survey will provide relevant and valuable insights into the employee experience. This involves determining the survey goals, demographics, format, and questions; testing and analyzing the results; and, finally, creating an action plan.
Follow these general steps to learn how to create an employee survey:
Step 1: Determine the Survey Goals
Before creating a survey, you need to determine its goals. Identify the key areas you want to cover—i.e., job satisfaction, work-life balance, communication, or management support—and what you want to achieve. Your goals will help you ask the right questions and, consequently, get the right answers. When doing this, follow the specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) rule.
Step 2: Choose the Survey Demographics
Employee demographics provide valuable insights into the experiences and perspectives of different groups in your organization. Understanding the differences in engagement levels can help you identify potential inequalities and areas for improvement in your workplace.
You can use either personal or professional demographics, depending on your goal. These could include:
- Pay type
Only consider demographics that are relevant to your survey. Having too many might make it difficult for you to act on the results, which defeats the purpose of the survey.
Step 3: Select the Survey Type
Select the survey type that aligns with your goals and the frequency at which you want to conduct the survey. Some different types of employee surveys include pulse surveys, onboarding surveys, and annual workplace culture surveys.
These are short and frequent surveys used to monitor the health and “vital signs” of the organization or its workforce. Their goal is to provide real-time insights into how employees feel about a particular issue, such as a new policy or a change in management.
These one-time surveys are given to new hires to gather feedback and perceptions about their onboarding experience. It allows companies to identify strengths and weaknesses in their employee onboarding processes.
Workplace culture surveys are designed to measure employee engagement with the organization’s values, vision, and mission. When creating an employee engagement survey, you might consider questions covering leadership, diversity and inclusion, employee recognition, and work-life balance topics. These surveys are generally given once or twice a year.
Learn more about employee engagement and why it’s important.
Step 4: Identify the Survey Questions & Format
The survey questions should align with the survey’s goals. You can also use preexisting survey questions and adapt them to your organization’s specific needs.
You can use a combination of open- and close-ended questions in your survey. Close-ended questions allow employees to choose from a list of options, while open-ended questions allow employees to provide their own responses. Here are some samples:
Your survey questions do not need to fit into a specific model. Rather, they should be 100% relevant to the company.
Step 5: Test & Distribute the Survey
Before distributing the survey to employees, test it with a small group to ensure that the questions are clear and easy to understand.
After that, choose a suitable method for distributing the survey to employees, such as email or an online survey tool. Ensure that employees understand the purpose of the survey and that their responses will be anonymous.
Step 6: Analyze the Results
Analyzing the results will help identify areas of strength and weakness in your organization. Here are a few tips on how to do that:
- Review the Response Rate: Determine how many employees responded to the survey to calculate the response rate. A low response rate may indicate a lack of interest or engagement in the survey.
- Identify the Key Themes: Look for common response themes and patterns. Group similar responses together to identify the most common concerns or issues that must be addressed.
- Review Individual Questions: Examine the responses to each question. Look for questions where the responses are particularly positive or negative. This will help you identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement.
- Segment the Data: Analyze the results by different demographic groups, such as job level, department, or location. This will help you identify any disparities in the engagement levels between different groups of employees.
- Benchmark Against Industry Standards: Compare your results against industry benchmarks or previous survey results. This will help you determine whether the engagement levels are improving or declining over time.
Step 7: Share the Survey Results
Share the survey results with employees and explain how the data will be used to improve the workplace. This can help create a culture of trust, transparency, and accountability. It will also show them that the organization values employee feedback and is committed to improving work experience. Here are several ways you can share them within your organization:
- Email: You can send out an email to all your employees, specific teams, or departments, sharing the summarized version of the survey results. You can include key findings, overall trends, and any planned actions or next steps based on the survey results.
- Town Hall or All-hands Meeting: Conducting a town hall or an all-hands meeting can be an excellent way to share employee survey results, especially if you want to engage in a more interactive discussion with employees. You can use slides, visual aids, and data visualizations to present the survey results and answer any employee concerns and questions.
- Customized Dashboards: If you have an internal analytics or data visualization tool, you can create a customized dashboard to share the survey results in a visually appealing and interactive manner. This can allow employees to explore the data independently and gain insights from the survey results.
- Printed Reports or Posters: Creating printed reports or posters with key survey results and displaying them in common areas such as break rooms, cafeterias, or bulletin boards can be a way to make the survey findings visible and accessible to employees. This can be especially helpful for employees without regular access to digital communication channels.
- Departmental Meetings: If your organization has departments or teams, you can share the survey results during departmental meetings. This allows for a more focused discussion on results specific to each department or team and can facilitate team-level action planning.
Step 8: Create an Action Plan
Once you have reviewed and shared the employee survey results, the next step is creating an action plan to address the key issues identified. Creating an action plan is crucial for improving engagement levels and fostering a positive work environment. Here are some key considerations when creating an action plan:
Start by reviewing the survey results and identifying areas where employees are dissatisfied or have provided suggestions for improvement.
Prioritize growth opportunities based on the areas for improvement you identified. Consider their impact on employee engagement levels, the feasibility of addressing them, and the resources available.
Similar to survey goal-setting, your action plan should have goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Develop specific steps to achieve each goal. These steps should be concrete, actionable, and easily delegated to specific individuals or teams.
Identify necessary resources to be allocated to support the action steps. This may include financial resources, time, and personnel.
Establish a timeline for implementing the action steps and achieving the goals. The timeline should be realistic and take into account the resources available.
Monitor progress regularly and make adjustments as needed. This may involve gathering employee feedback, revisiting the action plan, and adjusting timelines or action items as needed.
Celebrating success is an important part of an action plan because it reinforces positive behaviors and outcomes. When employees are acknowledged and rewarded for their efforts and achievements, it reinforces the behaviors that led to those successes. This can encourage employees to continue to exhibit those positive behaviors and strive for further success in the future.
A survey is only one way to keep a pulse on your employees’ engagement. Find out more employee engagement strategies you can implement.
Effective employee or employee engagement surveys allow organizations to uncover areas for improvement and boost business performance. You can conduct them annually, quarterly, or whenever you deem necessary. No matter when, being consistent can keep your employees committed and satisfied.