Insights from an employee survey can create great value for leaders and HR, and the entire organization, including the employees themselves. For the employee survey measurement to deliver valuable and useful insights, the eight best tips are to:
- Choose a few relevant areas to focus on
- Use recurring questions to know trends
- Enable a measurement result with high granularity
- Use positive feedback as a starting point
- Stimulate constructive feedback for improvement areas
- Use AI for automated comment analysis
- Measure the same questions throughout the organization
- Enable locally adapted questions
Valuable insights emerge in different ways from an employee survey. The prerequisites to uncover insights are establishing the employee survey as a safe place for employees to highlight things that affect the employee experience, contribute suggestions for improvements, and highlight and celebrate what works well. The eight most important recommendations are:
- Choose a few relevant areas to focus on – The starting point is that a measurement should help you prioritize among the most important areas for the organization's success. The latest neuroscientific and management research shows that only nine questions are sufficient to understand employees' motivation, commitment, and long-term performance. If there is a need for further deepening your understanding in certain areas, additional questions, e.g. about the work environment, can be used flexibly as needed once a year.
- Use recurring questions to know trends – To visualize trends and understand the organization’s development, you must ask recurring questions in your employee survey, not change questions between each measurement. It is also important that all employees in the same team answer the same questions to ensure a coherent and useful team result. Trends make it easier for both managers and HR to be agile and able to act quickly when the need arises. A negative trend can give an early indication of the risk of a future negative outcome, for example, sick leave or increased attrition. In addition, the trend data lets you know the impact of the organization's improvement initiatives.
- Enable a measurement result with high granularity – In some cases, the results can be linked to the work situation in the closest work group. In other cases, they may be linked to a broader challenge in the organization, for example, that new employees or women experience something in a certain way. Therefore, obtaining results based on organizational structure and from background variables that cut across the organizational structure is important. The employee must feel safe to share and trust the process while detailed anonymous insights are available. A detailed measurement result means having the option of the nearest working team's results, aggregated results, and results based on background variables such as gender, country, and length of employment.
- Use positive feedback as a starting point – In every organization and team, there are things that work well. Using positive feedback as a starting point strengthens the organization and makes it easier to drive improvements when needed. At the same time, it is important to reflect on the positive to ensure it is maintained.
- Stimulate constructive feedback for improvement areas – As an organization, you want the feedback from the employee survey to be constructive. If an employee has graded a question with a low score, it must be accompanied by the follow-up question “How can it be improved?” instead of the traditional "Why is it bad?" or “Please comment.” Often the managers know there are shortcomings in an area, but need the employees' thoughts and ideas about how these can be remedied to drive improvement.
- Use AI for automated comment analysis – In large organizations, 1000's of comments are written at each measurement, which is almost impossible to analyze manually. Artificial intelligence (AI) automatically analyzes and finds patterns in large amounts of data available after an employee survey. With AI, relevant insights can be provided based on both organizational structure and background variables. Would it not, for example, be interesting to understand the comment patterns of all the organization's new hires?
- Measure the same questions throughout the organization – It is important to measure the same questions throughout the organization and at all levels. Otherwise, the possibility of comparability and the understanding of what differs between, for example, teams, departments, and countries is lost. In addition to ensuring comparability within the organization, common questions are also a prerequisite for consolidating measurement results at an overall organizational level, e.g. for management or board reporting.
- Enable locally adapted questions – Having common questions across the organization to ensure comparability is a top priority. In addition, there may be a need for flexibility to add targeted follow-up questions within specific business areas or countries. A flexible employee survey tool enables relevant insights at an overall organizational level and ensures the locally relevant insights that may be needed in individual departments or teams.
There are several platforms available to successfully conduct your employee surveys. Regardless of which platform is right for your organization, the focus must be on ensuring the data results in useful and relevant insights that drive your organization in the right direction, not only on collecting the data. The above eight tips are important to remember to ensure that your employee survey provides maximum insights and adds value to the organization.