We run surveys, interviews and focus groups to get insight into customers’ likes and dislikes. We conduct usability studies and examine buyer behavior. We use social media listening programs to determine product preferences, service successes, or opportunities for improvement. We segment audiences into “influencers” and “purchasers,” and delve down in detail to respond appropriately and spur action.
But when a company decides to improve the engagement of its employees, it typically uses only one method to gather information: the dreaded annual employee survey.
Sure, employee surveys can give broad results and highlight global trends, but they’re ineffective for understanding:
Many employees don’t believe surveys are truly anonymous, especially in smaller departments. Surveys also have a notoriously low level of response because employees don’t see any direct correlation between their input and changes in the workplace.
Managers ignore or even complain about the results, offering vague explanations or simply not making improvements a priority.
Julie Cogin, head of the School of Organization and Management at the Australian School of Business, says many companies: