Helpful guidance for creating employee engagement surveys

To solicit more substantive, candid feedback, you must ensure anonymity. Timing, format and content are crucial, too.

Worker survey tips

What’s the secret to retaining top performers?

Collecting workplace feedback through carefully crafted employee engagement surveys is a great place to start. It’s about much more than morale measurement. Employers that collect and encourage employee feedback outperform those that don’t—by as much as 21 percent, according to Gallup.

This is not a one-and-done endeavor, however. Building a productive culture of feedback requires a consistent, strategic approach to surveying your workers. Your company culture is an evolving organism, and it’s likely that your people’s needs at the beginning of a given year are not the same at the end of that year.

Creating surveys that mesh with your company’s culture and goals can (and should) be simple. You can build your own using software such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, or you can use an employee engagement survey template as a springboard. There’s also plenty of expert advice on crafting workplace surveys out there.

It’s also smart to see what kinds of questions different organizations ask. Regardless of your company or industry, you can get the survey juices flowing with these categories and sample statements, to be rated from strongly disagree to strongly agree, with or without a numerical grade (from 1 –10):

Overall experience

  • I would recommend {Company Name} as a great place to work.

Company confidence

  • {Company Name} effectively directs resources (funding, people, and effort) toward company goals.

Company leaders

  • The senior leaders at {Company Name} demonstrate that people are important to the company’s success.

Your manager

  • {Team Manager Name} has shown a genuine interest in my career aspirations.

People and teams

  • We hold ourselves and our team members accountable for results.

Your role

  • I know what I must do to be successful in my role.

Company culture

  • We acknowledge people who deliver outstanding service here.

Growth and development

  • I have access to the learning and development that I need to do my job well.

In addition, seek free response feedback, by asking questions such as:

  • What things we are doing great here?

Including an area for free response allows your employees to expound upon what they love or loathe about your company. Offering open-ended space allows your colleagues to bring up issues that they might not feel comfortable vocalizing to a manager.

Of course, people will provide candid feedback only if they are certain that all responses will remain anonymous. Use a tool that ensures your survey feedback ties back to vague demographic information such as gender, department and tenure.

When your team feels secure in delivering responses without repercussion, the likelihood for transparent, honest feedback is significantly higher. That’s the key to getting valuable, raw insights instead of mundane platitudes.

A version of this post first appeared on the Zenefits blog.

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