Employee survey: Definition & Origins
An employee survey is defined as a survey process with which the opinions of employees are obtained and the mood, morale, commitment, identification and also the motivation and performance of employees of a company are questioned. As a rule, an employee survey is carried out anonymously in order to motivate the workforce to share their good and bad experiences without hesitation and fear of repression. The employee survey is an integral part of the continuous employee feedback in order to obtain an overview of factors such as work culture, managerial behavior of superiors, motivating and demotivating elements in the workplace and satisfaction.
Employee surveys were originally introduced in the 1920s as employee attitude surveys. After more than 20 years of implementation, an economic increase of more than 1944% was observed between 1947 and 200 in the United States of America in the 3500 companies that implemented employee surveys. Today, 50-75% of companies are committed to using employee surveys regularly and implementing changes suggested by employees.
Types of employee surveys
There are 5 main types of employee survey that can help entrepreneurs significantly improve their relationship with employees.
Employee survey on employee satisfaction
This type of employee survey, also known as an employee morale survey, allows for opinions to be gathered that management and HR can use to create a positive environment for employees. The following five main components should basically be included here:
- Evaluation of the human resources department
- Satisfaction with salary and other perks
- General job satisfaction
- Reasons for staying or leaving the job
- Evaluation of company policy
This employee satisfaction survey is usually very extensive and often consists of more than 60 questions. The feedback received from the employees is summarised and evaluated by those responsible in order to adjust the organisational processes accordingly. The employee satisfaction survey is best used to get an accurate picture of what motivates employees to stay with the company, be loyal to the company and perform to their maximum potential.
Employee engagement survey
This type of employee engagement survey is conducted when an organisation intends to examine factors that contribute to the performance of the workforce. The following parameters are measured through an employee engagement survey:
- Employee skills
- Identification with the tasks and the company
- Relationship with direct and indirect superiors
- Cross-departmental relationship management
- Uncovering the development potential
Employee survey on organizational culture
This type of employee survey is usually used in situations such as mergers and acquisitions or structural changes within an organisation. They are tools that help to understand how much employees understand and buy into the culture of the organisation. The following parameters can be measured with the help of employee surveys on organisational culture:
- The mission of the organization and how it is understood by the employees
- In the event of a merger, differences in the work culture of the employees of the two companies involved
- Contribution to team unity
- Loyalty to superiors and the company
- Acceptance of change
This type of employee survey is generally used to understand how involved an employee is in the culture and growth of the organisation.
Employee survey on business processes
Die Mitarbeiter sind integrale Grundsteine für den Erfolg eines Unternehmens. Die meisten Mitarbeiter, die direkt mit den Kunden interagieren oder am Forschungs- und Entwicklungsprozess eines Produkts beteiligt sind, haben Ideen und Vorschläge, die dem Unternehmen beim Wachstum und bei der Definition von Geschäftsprozessen helfen können. Natürlich kann man nicht jeden Vorschlag umsetzen, aber die Mitarbeiter um ihre Meinung zu bitten hat auch den großen Vorteil, das es sie motiviert, immer wieder Ideen und Vorschläge einzubringen. Ein paar Gründe, warum Sie eine Umfrage zu Ihren Geschäftsprozessen durchführen sollten:
- You will receive feedback from “first hand”, that is, from people who are directly involved in the business processes, in practice.
- Employees feel valued as they are involved in the business decision-making process.
- Topics that have an immediate impact on the business can be highlighted as staff work closely with questions about customers and products / services.
360° feedback employee survey
Feedback from the employees of the organisation is important. In some cases, however, feedback from other sources such as supervisors, management, customers, etc. can also be obtained through a 360° feedback survey. The key feature of this employee survey is therefore not merely to ask employees for their opinion of managers. Rather, managers should also conduct a self-analysis. In practice, however, 360 degree surveys do not refer to managers alone. We observe that employees themselves are increasingly the subject of 360 degree surveys, albeit in a modified form.
Example of a dashboard for 360 degree feedback within the Employee Experience Management platform of QuestionPro
A 360-degree survey offers multiple perspectives on an employee's performance, on the basis of which decisions can be made about training, workload changes and other factors that can further improve an employee's performance. Benevolent and constructive critical feedback is the first step in any improvement. It gives the organisation, the managers and ultimately the employees the opportunity to work on existing structural or personal "shortcomings" and to continuously improve .
360-degree feedback surveys are critical to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each employee. By receiving feedback from a variety of sources, management can make valuable decisions about the development of the workforce and therefore the entire organisation.
Employee Experience Employee Survey
An employee experience survey consists of questions that help an organization to measure the overall experience of an employee, which provides information about what employees experience, feel and learn over the entire period of employment (employee journey). This type of employee survey must contain the right mix of open and closed questions in order to be able to capture the feedback from the workforce both quantitatively and qualitatively. The experience of employees can be recorded at various “touchpoints” (employee touchpoints) throughout the entire employment period, eg when joining the company (onboarding), during training and development, during projects and also when leaving the company.
Employee survey and employee satisfaction:
Questions from practice for practice
What and how employees think about their work and the company they work for can make or break a company. Improving employee satisfaction and increasing employee engagement is the best investment a company can make. Satisfied employees put their heart and soul into their work and are loyal and committed. The employee survey is the tool of choice when it comes to getting a picture of the mood, satisfaction, organisational culture and information policy in your company. From discussions with our HR clients, we have compiled a few questions for you that are frequently used in practice when conducting an employee survey.
HR tips: Important questions that should not be missing from any employee survey
Questions about the relationship between employees and the company
1. Is there a clear understanding of the strategic goals of the organisation?
In an internal survey by QuestionPro, 36% of employees said that better visibility of company goals would increase their satisfaction and performance.
2. Are you clear about your role in achieving the company's goals?
If employees have an orientation as to what exactly their role is in implementing the company's strategy, this has a positive effect on job satisfaction.
3. Do you think there is an opportunity for individual career development for you within the company?
If your employees are directionless in terms of growth, there is a risk that they will sooner or later change their minds and feel the need to leave the company.
4. Will you still be working for our company in the next 2 years?
With this question you get a picture of the loyalty of your employees. If the value in the evaluation is negative, then alarm bells should ring. It also reflects the confidence of your staff. Thus, this question should not be missing in an employee survey.
5. Would you recommend our company as an employer to your friends and acquaintances?
The answers you get to this question paint a powerful picture in terms of loyalty to the company and the satisfaction of your employees in general. Ultimately, you want your employees to love working in your company so much that they want to share it with their friends. Add a follow-up question to this question and ask your employees to explain the rating given to this question in a few sentences. If employees are highly unlikely to recommend your workplace or have any reservations, you need to know what exactly the problems are. Incidentally, this question on willingness to recommend is called → Employee Net Promoter Score, and this question should not be missing from any employee survey!
Questions about team work
Research has shown a close connection between functioning teamwork and job satisfaction. The following three questions create a good picture of the situation in your company.
6. How do you like working with your teammates?
7. Would you also accept an extra hour for your team?
8. Do you feel that you are supported by your team in the best possible way?
Questions about information and communication policy
Seek and you shall find. But how are you supposed to know what to look for? Information policy and knowledge management within a company are important parts of the agility principle. So find out with the following questions whether you are doing everything right in your company.
9. Do you often struggle to get important information that is relevant to your everyday work?
10. Is there always someone who can quickly make an important decision for you if an issue exceeds your authority?
11. Does the company always inform you about innovations and changes that directly affect you?
12. Do you have enough tools to communicate with your colleagues?
Should not be missing from any employee survey:
Questions about the relationship with the supervisor
13. Do you feel motivated by your superiors to do your daily work?
14. Do you feel sufficiently rewarded for your dedication and commitment to your work?
15. Do you feel that your opinion is heard and valued by your manager?
16. Do you think the company offers you sufficient → scope for your personal and professional growth?
Questions about professional passion and self-assessment
17. Do you experience personal growth, such as improving your skills and learning other tasks besides your regular duties?
18. Do you think you are appreciated by your manager?
19. Do you think you go beyond your limits when it comes to completing a difficult task?
20. Do you think your job has a positive influence on your private life?
21. Do you think you have enough knowledge to solve your tasks?
22. Do you think management respects your personal family time?
Questions about feedback
23. Do you get constructive feedback from your supervisor?
Constructive, non-accusatory criticism is very important for the personal growth of your employees. Therefore, as part of your employee survey, it is imperative to find out what kind of feedback culture prevails in your company. If employees always receive negative criticism, this does not only have a negative effect on their well-being. Rather, it can lead to your staff being afraid of making mistakes and therefore less committed and motivated.
24. Does your manager praise you when you have done a good job?
If you do a good job, you should also get the appropriate feedback. If your employees do a good job, but this is not appreciated, this can lead to your employees questioning the meaningfulness of their commitment.
Questions about work-life balance
For some employees, work-life balance is of the utmost importance, for example to be able to pick up their children from school or go to doctor's appointments. For others, there are clear boundaries between when they should be available for work and when they can focus on their private life. Therefore, questions on this topic should also be included in your employee survey!
25. Do you think the work environment helps you find the right balance between your work life and your private life?
26. Does your job cause you an unreasonable amount of stress?
27. Do you think your manager understands what it means to have a healthy work-life balance?
Questions about fairness in the workplace
28. Do you think your manager treats all team members equally?
29. Do you think the organisation has a fair promotion policy for all staff?
30. Do you think that management is too focused on managing policies regarding employees?
Questions about general satisfaction
When you think of an employee survey, questions about job satisfaction are probably the first that come to mind. Measuring employee satisfaction starts with understanding how employees feel about their jobs, their work, their pay and other day-to-day factors. While it's crucial to assess what your employees think about their salary and benefits, you should definitely dig deeper. Take a look at these examples:
31. Are you satisfied with the opportunities to develop your career in this company and is there a clear plan on how to do so?
Determining satisfaction in relation to professional development should be a top priority in your employee survey. The majority of today's workforce is made up of professionals who are between the ages of mid-20s and late 30s. When asked what they want most from an employer, this generation consistently ranks professional development opportunities among the top three workplace "must-haves". Use the answers to this question to optimise career planning for higher employee retention.
32. Does your manager communicate clearly and professionally about expectations placed on you?
Misunderstandings in communication at every level of your organisation create unnecessary sensitivities, barriers to productivity, camaraderie and overall job satisfaction. When employees don't feel that their supervisor is relaying realistic expectations or constructive feedback, they often report feeling "blindsided". They may even have to redo their work because their tasks were not clearly defined. This creates frustration. So in any case, place a question on communication between supervisors and employees in your employee survey.
33. Do you have all the necessary tools, software programmes, infrastructure you need to do your job successfully?
The availability of technology, information, tools and access to resources needed to do quality work is a major factor in employee satisfaction. Simple details such as reliable internet or access to information appropriate to the employee's role can make a big difference. Employees who are equipped with the right tools work more efficiently and become less frustrated. So don't forget this question in your employee survey!
34. If you encounter a problem or an unusual challenge in the course of your work, do you know where you can find a solution as quickly as possible?
This question within the staff survey has to do with the people and resources your staff can turn to in particular situations. If they can access resources or help from colleagues and managers to help them solve problems, they can feel more confident in their daily routine and are also less afraid of making mistakes. You can supplement this question to the extent that you ask whether your employees also feel comfortable asking colleagues or managers for help.
Questions about engagement
Essentially, employee engagement is about the investment and motivation as well as the emotional attachment of individuals to their work and the company and whether employees feel valued and thus have a high degree of identification. You should therefore place the following questions in your employee survey:
35. How comfortable do you feel communicating with your superiors and colleagues in meetings, within projects or when solving problems?
Employees may feel uncomfortable working with others because they feel their contributions are not welcome or because certain colleagues dominate group interactions. This could even include harassment or bullying. On the other hand, employees who feel comfortable working in a team have the opportunity to be more innovative in their work. Ask explicitly about these kinds of feelings in your staff survey, as staff may not dare to address it openly.
36. Does your team / department / supervisors support and encourage your work so that you can achieve the best possible results?
Real good teamwork does not stop at working together. Employees should feel that their team supports them in achieving their common goals, even if they are working on different tasks. When employees know they have supporters and a group of colleagues who motivate them to do their best, they are certainly more engaged at work.
37. Do you feel valued by our company?
The best talent adds value to their company, and to encourage retention, their employer needs to show them that they are valued in return.
Questions about corporate culture
A strong corporate culture is what every entrepreneur and also the workforce hopes for. In the best case, your corporate culture increases the satisfaction, commitment and performance of employees and managers. To check the state of your corporate culture, take "the pulse of your company" in your employee survey.
38. Is the company's mission statement clear to you and can you identify with it 100%?
A successful mission statement builds on shared values and motivates staff to work towards the same goal. It brings meaning to your work and fosters a sense of community as your entire team invests in achieving the mission. If this mission is unclear, vague or undeveloped, your company culture can suffer.
39. Do you think the company promotes inclusion and protects employees from discrimination and harassment?
Your company may have the best of intentions, but if inclusion and diversity is not lived or perceived as part of the culture, it can be difficult to protect your team from discrimination and harassment. An employee survey is an excellent opportunity to review this crucial element of company culture from everyone's perspective.
Benefits of employee surveys
Employee surveys give an organisation the opportunity to focus on aspects such as work culture, attracting new employees, retaining current employees and their satisfaction.
- Efforts can be made to improve employee productivity and satisfaction based on the results of an employee survey.
- The management of an organisation can respond to the different aspects of the work experience that employees face on a daily basis.
- Standardised employee surveys "streamline" communication to employees especially in very large companies where regular feedback meetings cannot take place.
- Employee surveys are usually conducted anonymously, which means that social desirability responses do not occur and thus a truly objective picture of opinion can emerge.
- The performance of employees as assessed by team members and managers can be evaluated on an ongoing basis.
- Get inputs on what could be done differently to improve the business and uncover problems that can cause sustainable losses for the company.
Tips for conducting your employee survey
Define clear goals for your employee survey
Why do you want to conduct the staff survey? Explain to your staff what it is all about, why you are conducting a staff survey now, what the purpose is, what you are learning and experiencing about your organisation, your company and what you want to improve. If your employees have clearly recognised that you really want to change something by conducting an employee survey, then they are more likely to engage with the content of the survey topics and you will get a realistic picture of their mood.
Conduct employee surveys anonymously & voluntarily
Of course, you should conduct the employee survey anonymously. In an anonymous employee survey, no personal data is collected and the answers to the questions do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the individuals, which admittedly is not always easy. If, for example, you ask about departmental affiliation in order to be able to filter the answers accordingly afterwards, and the department consists of only 3 persons, it is quite possible to draw conclusions about the person from the remaining answer behaviour. Try to avoid this in any case, because if your employees suspect that they can be identified, they may give socially desirable answers or not even fill out the questionnaire - because participation in an employee survey should always be voluntary, which in turn is an important confidence-building measure. After all, you will most likely conduct your employee surveys online, and here there can be great doubt as to whether the data from the employee survey will actually be sent anonymously if the questionnaire is filled out on the employee's own PC. Talk to us! We will show you an interesting solution!
Conduct employee surveys regularly in the form of touchpoint analyses!
Gone are the days when questionnaires were distributed to employees once a year - if at all - at the end of the year to ask about their satisfaction. Companies have long since realised how important it is to regularly question the sensitivities of the workforce and, based on the results, to create a culture and framework for growth, development and evolution as well as an inspiring and varied working environment.
Touchpoint analyses along the employee journey
Conducting employee surveys in the form of touchpoint analyses along the employee journey has proven to be really useful. Employee journey can be understood as the summary of all employee touchpoints that employees go through during the entire period of employment in the company. This in turn means that instead of one big all-encompassing employee survey, there are several small surveys tailored exactly to the different touchpoints.
Examples of employee touchpoint analyses
- During the induction process, new employees are asked about the onboarding process.
- At the end of a working week, employees are asked whether the weekly goals have been achieved.
- Interview teams and groups after projects have been completed (e.g. for PR or marketing campaigns, introduction of new IT infrastructure)
- In the canteen, employees can rate the quality and diversity of the food via touchscreen or feedback terminal.
- Conduct exit surveys when employees leave the company.
- Carry out pulse surveys on the satisfaction and well-being of your employees on a regular basis
- Let your employees evaluate managers on a regular basis
- Carry out surveys after measures for further training
Employee surveys also show that
You take your employees seriously and seriously
By initiating a survey, you already show your employees that you are interested in their opinion, that you want to change something for their benefit and that this change will also have positive effects on the company at the same time. And thus you will also get the correspondingly honest answers, because the employees are also interested in seeing their working environment change positively, both in the office and in production!
Employees expect changes after
the implementation of an employee survey
Important: if you have decided to conduct an employee survey in your company, then you must be clear that your staff actually expect changes resulting from the results! Because if the staff survey remains without any action, then you will have difficulties in motivating your staff to take part in further surveys in the future. Moreover, it could be that the management loses its credibility after an inconsequential staff survey. "Nothing happens anyway", "What's the point".
Create acceptance through participation!
In order to gain a high level of acceptance among your employees, have the staff elect "arbitrators" who act as contact persons at all times and accompany the employee survey as "arbitrators", so to speak. These persons can then make sure that the data collection is really anonymous. If the arbitrators are directly elected by the staff, they enjoy a high degree of credibility. And: by means of a simple online election procedure, the effort is very low. Please do not hesitate to contact us!
Eliminate operational blindness and
putting ideas about everyday work into perspective
It is also very important for you as the initiator of an employee survey to receive honest and unembellished feedback for once, because in the long run we all become operationally blind if we do not receive new impulses, suggestions and honest answers and then we may not see things quite as they actually are, especially below the surface. If you really know what is going on in your company, where the deficits are, what your employees need in order to work efficiently, then you can also react and actively improve the working atmosphere and the working environment.
Pay attention to the question in the employee survey
Avoid leading questions or questions that provoke desired answers. If you are really interested in the honest opinion of your employees, try to ask your questions as factually and neutrally as possible. Avoid questions that could give tendentious answers to your employees, such as:
- Don't ask: Did you also enjoy the last company outing?
- Ask instead: How did you like the last company outing?
At the end of the day, your aim is to achieve real change, not to score as positively as possible in the staff survey.
You should also avoid summary questions, such as this one:
- How satisfied are you with your superior(s) and how satisfied are you with the management in general? very satisfied / satisfied / rather not satisfied / dissatisfied
It may well be that the employee is quite satisfied with the company management, but the direct superior does not enjoy much recognition.
You can also use open questions
Another advantage of professional software for conducting an employee survey is the possibility of evaluating open-ended, so-called qualitative questions. On the one hand, your employees can also get rid of something that cannot be answered with a few mouse clicks. On the other hand, it is possible to evaluate the free text via a comprehensive text analysis. This provides you with important additional information for your employee survey.
Use the Employee Net Promoter Score
The Employee Net Promoter Score is a key performance indicator that provides information about employee satisfaction and loyalty. Employee Net Promoter Score contains only one question, namely whether your employees would recommend the company to friends and acquaintances as an employer.
Inform your employees and
share the evaluation!
When the employee survey is completed, you should always inform your employees about the results! This builds trust. But not only when you already have a package of measures to improve the survey results. On the contrary: involve your employees in the change process from the very beginning. The presentation should be graphically simple and very clear, understandable for everyone. No fancy business terminology! No incomprehensible graphics. Everyone should feel involved and, above all, taken seriously.
Package of measures, implementation & success control after the employee survey
Once you have put your heads together and decided on measures for change, present your package of measures and initiate implementation! Once you declare the measures finished, a new staff survey should be conducted to assess and evaluate the effectiveness.
Implementation of the employee survey
Use a professional survey tool to conduct the employee survey. This is not only about the intuitive operation of the questionnaire design or the analysis and evaluation of the data. You will also be better off with a professionally developed system in terms of data security and system stability. And you will not encounter any surprising limitations, for example regarding the number of questions within the questionnaire or limited feedback. You do not have to pay a lot of money for a professional solution. QuestionPro, for example, offers fair licensing and usage models here.