Have You Considered Surveying Your Employees?

Sites like Surveymonkey.com allow employers to survey their employees to, among others, get a feel for their morale. What are the right questions to ask?

Surveying your employees is wanting to take the pulse on specific questions about the organization. So, even if we resort to a tool like Survey Monkey, with a bank of preassembled questions, the software can not do the job for us.

For example, you may want to know the employees' perception about a recent cut in jobs or whether they trust their direct managers.


“A good goal meets the 4 Ws – What, When, Where, Why,” states Marie-Nolwenn Trillot, Totem president. “For example, from January to June 2016, what has been the employees’ impressions on the decisions taken by the employer.”

The art of writing questions

For employees to complete a survey, they should feel concerned. The poll’s statement must be unequivocal. “Ideally, you notify your employees verbally, asking for their participation by a specific date, raising awareness of the survey’s importance,” adds Trillot.

Sites like Surveymonkey.com offer questions ready for use and have been designed by HR experts. An organization will, however, benefit from adapting these questions to their reality.

“That is most true of situational questions when a subject differs greatly depending on the type of business, for example in occupational health and safety where an office job does not have the same requirements as work in the industrial sector,” says the president of Totem. “But these types of surveys are made to be customized.”

The more one gives concrete examples, the more employees will respond with precision. Marie-Nolwenn Trillot gives the following example: “You have an important decision to make about a client, will you naturally seek the advice of: 1. Your colleague 2. Your manager 3. Management.”

The same goes for the language being used in the survey. Jargon or overly technical terms hinder comprehension. With that in mind, questions requiring two answers create confusion among respondents. One question, one answer. Nothing better than to send a draft survey to colleagues to see if our questions are understandable.

In addition, a survey that is too long eventually loses the interest of employees. Result: the last few questions are likely to be answered at random. “It is better to limit your survey to a dozen questions,” says Trillot. In this same logic, essay questions are usually to be avoided. Brainstorming meetings could achieve the same result.

It goes without saying that ongoing questions should be done in total neutrality without suggesting any answers. Thus, each following question allows the respondent to answer in the same spirit as the pollster: “Many people complain of managers’ response time. Is that the case for you?”

Is my survey efficient?

The last thing anyone wants to get at the end of a survey are neutral responses. “If this is the case, it means that the questions were not sufficiently precise or concrete enough,” said Trillot. We must be able to draw conclusions from its original purpose.

Remember that the more refined the survey will be, the more it will pinpoint to internal shortcomings and help to reorient the business.


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