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Mon, Nov 22, 2010

Talent Strategies

Surveys: Do They Really Make A Difference?

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“Your feedback is important to us!  Tell us what you think!”

Does that sound familiar?  In recent years, the use of surveys has grown exponentially.  Employee surveys have become increasingly popular across all industries, with organizations of all sizes.  Many people may wonder why companies are bothering to put so much effort into soliciting feedback.

Could senior level executives really care what people really think of their organization?

The answer is yes.  In fact, business success is based on the relationships an organization has with employees and customers.  Organizations use surveys to take a pulse of where they currently stand with employees and customers, and learn what they can do to improve these relationships.

Recently, the power of employee engagement in creating organizational success has become a popular topic in talent management.  Engaged employees are those who choose to exert extra discretionary effort in their position. These employees generally produce a higher quality of work than disengaged employees, which leads to higher productivity and profits.

According to a recent study by HR Solutions, Inc., engaged employees are 3.5 times more likely to stay with their employer, lowering the cost of turnover.  Engaged employees are also linked to satisfied customers by a correlation coefficient of .85.

This means that when employee engagement levels are high, customers are much more likely to be satisfied than if employees were disengaged.  In that vein, organizations can increase customer satisfaction (and sales) by simply focusing on increasing employee engagement.

In order to make meaningful changes that would result in an increase in engagement, employee feedback must be honest.  Surveys provide the anonymity that is oftentimes necessary to elicit candid feedback.  An effective employee survey measures various aspects of the employee experience that play a part in overall engagement.

Key engagement drivers include recognition, career development/advancement, and desired job content.  Understanding how favorably employees rate such dimensions will help employers understand their strengths and areas for improvements.

As a best practice, HR Solutions surveys its own employees.  The results of the last survey showed many opportunities for improvement that were quickly acted on.  Senior Leadership learned employees preferred a casual dress policy over the business casual dress policy that was currently in place, so within a week of receiving this feedback, the dress code policy was changed to accommodate the staff’s preference.

Many other changes have been made as a result of the survey, such as offering a Work from Home Policy, improving training documents, and having the work day end at 4 p.m. on Fridays all year round.  These changes have showed employees that Senior Leadership listens to and cares about their feedback, which provides a strong foundation for increasing engagement.

Surveys can be a very powerful tool when the feedback is acted upon.  Whether it is an employee survey or customer survey, the feedback respondents provide is often the basis for implementing major organizational changes that lead to overall business success.

Do your company survey results sit in a folder, or is the feedback used to make successful changes? How has your company used internal surveys to improve?  Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Related:

How To Curb A Culture of Clock Watching and Increase Employee Engagement

Best Practices for Engaging a Multinational Team

The Three Buckets of Employee Engagement

Selecting Candidates for Engagement and Retention

About the Author

Chris Dustin is the Executive Vice President of Sales and Consulting at HR Solutions, Inc. He is responsible for the day-to-day leadership, guidance, and management of the operations of the firm.  These responsibilities include ensuring customer and employee satisfaction, management consulting, and hiring and developing the internal staff as an efficient and cohesive team.  In addition to these responsibilities, he is involved in developing, maintaining, and enhancing relationships with our existing and new customers.

Mr. Dustin has almost 20 years of high-level consulting experience in leading and coaching large and complex business operations.  He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Northern Colorado, concentrating in Management.

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