How to conduct an employee survey

10 easy steps for you to follow

An employee survey is one of the most powerful tools you can use as a business leader.

What you think is going on vs what is actually going on can often be two very different things – and employee surveys can help you to bridge this gap with insights that can help you make great business decisions.

From reducing workplace stress, to increasing engagement and improving culture; conducting an employee survey should always be your first step.

That’s why, in this guide, we’re going to talk you through 10 easy steps to follow to conduct your employee survey.

Step 1: Clarify outcomes

Before you conduct your survey, you need to clarify what outcomes you want to achieve.

As a business leader, you’re probably already aware of some problem areas that you know you need to improve.

Your absence rates could be really high for instance or there’s a negative vibe in the office and you know that people aren’t being as productive as they could be.

In situations like this, clarifying specific outcomes is easy.

However, if you’re new to proactively working on your HR, you may need to decide what areas of the business you need to work on.

In which case, you may need to conduct a more general survey to figure out what’s going on.

Step 2: Decide how you’re going to conduct the survey

Typically, there are 3 ways for you to conduct your employee survey:

1. You can create an online survey and ask employees to complete individually.
2. You can conduct 121 interviews.
3. Or you can facilitate a focus group like a workshop or session.

There are pros and cons to each and, depending on your outcomes and the make-up of your business, you can decide how best to conduct your survey with the help of an expert HR consultant.

Step 3: Create the perfect survey

How you create your survey is very important – the questions need to be created in a way that you can compare, benchmark and create actionable insights from the responses.

That’s why online surveys are probably the most popular form of employee survey, because the questions are uniform and you can control the environment in which they’re completed.

To that end, here are some popular question types that you could include in your online survey:

Multiple choice questions

This is where you ask a question and offer a selection of different answers that your employee can chose from. You may decide that they can only provide one choice, or multiple choices.

Rating scale

This is where you ask a question and provide answers at either end of the scale.

An example question could be “How likely is it that you would recommend working for the company to a friend?”.

The scale is usually from 1 to 10. At 1, it says “very unlikely” and at 10 it says “very likely”.

The employee then slides the scale to the answer they feel is right.

Matrix questions

Matrix questions are commonly used when there are multiple related items or statements that can be addressed with the same set of response options. This format allows for a more compact presentation of information, making it easier for respondents to provide feedback on multiple items in a structured manner.

For example, in a customer satisfaction survey, a matrix question might be used to gather feedback on various aspects of a product or service. The rows could represent different features or aspects (e.g., product quality, customer support, pricing), and the columns could represent response options such as “Very Satisfied,” “Satisfied,” “Neutral,” “Dissatisfied,” and “Very Dissatisfied.”

Step 4: Pre-frame the survey to your employees

Now that you have created the perfect survey, it’s time for your employees to complete it.

However, before you do, it’s important for you to pre-frame the survey in the right way.

This is to ensure the survey is taken seriously, but also to ensure that there isn’t something called response bias – this is when, in your pre-framing, you may inadvertently influence your employees to provide a response that is not accurate.

This can be tricky – so be sure to work with an expert HR consultant to get this right.

Step 5: Ensuring employees complete the survey correctly

Just like how you can influence answers in the pre-framing of your survey, other employees can also influence one another when completing the survey.

This is why it’s important to control the environment in which the survey is completed.

Probably the safest way to get the most accurate answers is by asking employees to complete the survey by themselves in an environment where there are no other distractions.

Step 6: Review answers

Once your employees have completed the survey, it’s time to analyse the results.

There are lots of different ways to do this based on the nature of your survey.

Our best advice is to break the data down as much as you can and in a way that you can understand.

Again, this is something an expert HR consultant will be able to help you with.

Step 7: Create an action plan

Once you’ve analysed your findings, it’s now time for you to create your action plan to help you fix any problems the survey has highlighted and for you to achieve your desired outcome.

This is probably the most difficult part of the whole process, which is why it pays to work with an expert HR consultant to put a plan in place.

Step 8: Communicate findings and actions to your team

It’s really important that you communicate the findings of your survey and the actions you’ve decided to take.

Why? Engagement.

They want to see that their honesty and efforts have been received and understood. They’ll want to know that their time hasn’t been wasted. And they’ll want to know that their opinions and concerns are valued and valid.

How you decide to do this is up to you. You may want to hold a presentation to communicate your findings and the subsequent changes afoot. Or you may decide (probably in the case where there aren’t significant changes after the feedback) an email will suffice. Whatever you decide, remember that transparency and clear communication is vital.

Step 9: Act on the results

And after all of this, the one thing you mustn’t forget is to act on these changes.

Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how a busy week/month can get in the way of the best intentions.

Fail to act and you may lose the trust and engagement of your team.

Step 10: Check in

When you’ve done all of this once and it’s been successful, you should consider making it a regular occurrence.

You may even decide to trial changes for six months and issue the same survey to see how responses change. This will not only allow you to see how successful any changes have been, but it’s a good reminder to your employees that you really do value their feedback and want to make the right improvements.

Need help?

That’s everything you need to get started with employee surveys. Try it out and see what improvements it can make in your business. And, of course, if you need any further help or advice, get in touch.