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Employee Surveys: Worth the Hype?

What are they, should you be using them and are they really worth the hype? The simple answer is yes, yes and yes. Let's look at why.
Published 11 Aug 2020
8 min read
Employee Surveys: Worth the Hype?

Employee surveys. What are they, should you be using them and are they really worth the hype? The simple answer is yes, yes and yes.

Do you need employee surveys? Yes

Encouraging a culture of feedback is one of the best things you can do for your business — and using employee surveys is one of the easiest ways to achieve this.

We all know how important it is to have an engaged team in the workplace. When it comes to keeping your employees engaged, asking for feedback from your team is one of the most effective ways to create a culture where everyone loves coming to work. Not only do engaged employees contribute to greater productivity and business success, but they can also contribute to improved workplace culture; something people managers and business owners are always looking to improve.

For many managers, it’s easy to fall into the routine of one-sided feedback. This approach involves employers giving feedback to their employees, normally on the basis of performance. While this allows the employees to grow professionally and improve their skills within the workplace, it doesn’t take into consideration how the manager is performing.

Feedback is a two-way street

With this top of mind, it’s important to emphasise that feedback goes both ways when it comes to the employee/employer relationship.

Leaders must give feedback to their team so they can improve their skills or to give recognition for a job well done. Alternatively, employees should have the opportunity to provide feedback based on how they’re feeling about their employee experience.

When you have an open approach to internal communication, you’ll gain greater insights into how your team is really feeling and can make improvements based on the feedback provided. At the end of the day, you want your employees to feel committed and motivated to go above and beyond in their role.

When you care about employee feedback and actively put strategies in place based on results, you’ll make your employee’s contribution feel valued. And we know that when employees’ feedback and experiences are valued, they’re more engaged.

What’s more? Employees who feel heard are 4.6x more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. The result? Happy, engaged and productive employees that will positively impact and grow your business.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of employee surveys, let’s go back to basics.

What are employee surveys?

Employee surveys are a set of questions you ask your team. They’re a great way to gain insight into employee engagement and experience within your business. Employee surveys are designed to measure your employees’ thoughts, opinions, and feelings within their workplace.

Whether it’s relating to onboarding, offboarding, employee happiness, wellness or engagement, there are many ways you can use feedback to help better understand your team. These insights can help you build a stronger culture and make improvements to your workplace which can lead to increased productivity, engagement, and happiness, whilst reducing employee turnover.

Remember: At the end of the day, feedback is what makes us better — better learners, better communicators, and better at our jobs.

How can employee surveys help you?

When it comes to surveying your team, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Surveys are a simple and effective way to collect feedback, and best of all, they can be free if your budget is limited.

Employee surveys can help guide improvement within your business. Whether you’re looking to improve your culture, engagement or performance, asking for feedback from your team is one of the easiest and most effective ways to gain honest insights. Once you’ve designed your surveys and collated response, you can begin to take action to make your employees’ world at work better.

Let’s take a look at this scenario:

You’ve noticed the general workplace ‘buzz’ has decreased over the past few months. With no obvious reason coming to mind, you decide to take a closer look into why this has happened so you can turn things around, pronto.

You begin designing an employee engagement survey to understand how your employees’ are feeling. The survey includes 10 different questions and allows for general feedback to be submitted anonymously. You make it anonymous as you want your team to be completely honest with their responses.

From here, you collate the responses and find that there’s a recurring theme. Your team feels undervalued because great work is going unrecognised. There has also been no recent celebrations together as a team. The results from the survey show that this has greatly impacted workplace culture and people feel disconnected from their team. Eek!

You take a look back and realise that your employees’ workload has increased significantly since this time last year as you have taken on more clients. But have you increased headcount? Nope — and you didn’t even consider it until you received this feedback. You also notice that there has been no team celebration for almost one year.

It’s no surprise that your team is feeling disengaged.

Based on the responses, you can begin strategising ways to boost employee engagement and improve your workplace culture. You come up with a few different ways to address the situation at hand such as:

  • Introducing peer to peer recognition within the business (Like Employment Hero Shout Outs feature)
  • Committing to organising quarterly celebrations for the team
  • Reviewing workload and the need for additional headcount
  • Implementing a culture of recognition and attach a monetary reward for great work when employees go above and beyond in their role (Recognition in Employment Hero can help you do this)
The result?

Three months after you’ve implemented these strategies, you send around the same employee survey asking for feedback to compare against the previous benchmark. You find that feelings have changed and employees are feeling more engaged and happier in their roles. Win-win!

Remember: Annonymous surveys help you understand why something is happening when your team may not be comfortable to speak up or put their name next to something.

How to design your employee surveys with Employment Hero

With Employment Hero, we have two in-built features that can help you effectively gain feedback from your team; Custom Surveys and the Happiness Score.

Custom Surveys

Employment Hero’s Custom Surveys feature allows you to send and collect survey results from all employees. Admins will be able to create and send them to employees and easily access, collate, track and analyse the feedback.

They allow you to easily identify any factors impacting your business so you can make improvements within your people strategy. On the other hand, employees can easily provide their employers with the feedback they need to improve their workplace experience, be more engaged and productive or any other answers their employers are looking for.

Based on your subscription level, you can have access to different types of functionality including:

  • Standard HR: Send and collect surveys to all employees using Employment Hero’s templates.
  • Premium HR: Create custom surveys, download results via CSV, schedule recurring surveys and choose the start and end times of surveys.
  • Platinum HR: Send surveys to different teams, individuals or locations.

Stuck on ideas? We’ve got you. Employment Hero has a range of templates you can send to your employees, or you can completely customise it to suit your survey needs.

Happiness Score

We all know that happy employees are more engaged and productive than unhappy employees. And when your employees are happy, they’re more likely to be engaged in their roles, produce better work and contribute positively to the company culture.

But how can you tell if your employees are really happy at work? Would they (a.) tell it to your face if they weren’t or (b.) slowly begin to disengage and eventually jump ship? Yikes. That’s where the Employment Hero Happiness Score can help.

The Happiness Score is an aggregate score based on the responses to an anonymous and recurring survey. Employees rate their happiness at work on a scale of 1-10 and can elaborate further using the comments section. Simples!

Winning gif - employee surveys

Different types of employee surveys

When you’re stuck on what type of questions to ask your employees, we suggest going back to basics with the employee lifecycle. The employee lifecycle allows you to identify the stages where you believe your team will provide the most beneficial feedback for improvement. This can allow you to ask the right questions at the right times.

Employee onboarding survey

When it comes to your onboarding program, you want to make the experience as positive as you can for your new hire(s). You should ask a range of questions that allow you to find out their thoughts on the onboarding experience.

Their feedback and suggestions can help you design your onboarding process. This can help you create a seamless and enjoyable experience as they are welcomed into the business.

Hint: Don’t make your onboarding surveys anonymous. You want to use the responses to find out how you can improve the process. This may involve you following up with a longer conversation with your new hire for greater insight.

Employee wellbeing survey

Is your team feeling stressed, overworked or burnt out? An employee wellbeing survey can help you identify how your team is feeling so you can offer assistance. The purpose of employee wellbeing surveys is to understand and support the health and wellbeing of your team.

From here, you can implement strategies to support physical, mental, financial wellbeing in the workplace. Some examples of creating a healthy workplace include offering an employee assistance program (EAP), healthy snacks in the office, personal training or guided meditation sessions to help unwind after stressful periods.

Did you know? According to a recent study, businesses with effective programs that support employee wellbeing report 11% higher revenue per employee and 1.8 fewer days absence per employee, per year.

Employee happiness surveys

We all know that happy employees are more engaged and productive than their unhappy counterparts. But how do you know if your employees are happy or not?

If it’s the latter, would they tell you to your face? Or would they slowly disengage, day by day, until they decide it’s time to look for greener pastures? That’s why it’s so important to survey your employees on how happy they are at work, or you could feel blindsided when they choose to jump ship.

This is where Employment Hero’s Happiness Score can help. Like we mentioned above, the Happiness Score is an aggregate score based on the responses to an anonymous and recurring survey. It’s a great way to guide your people and culture strategy.

Workplace culture survey

When you take a look at your workplace culture, do you think your team thinks about your workplace positively? Do they enjoy coming to work to see their co-workers? Do they enjoy catching up with others in the lunchroom or attending work events? If the answer is no, you need to find out why.

A workplace culture survey can help you identify how people are feeling about their work environment. From here, you can introduce strategies to help improve it so that your employees enjoy coming to work. At the end of the day, if you have employees who don’t enjoy coming to work, you’ll see turnover skyrocket – a costly experience for any business.

Employee exit survey

Exit surveys are arguably one of the most important surveys to consider, but more often than not get brushed off. You want to understand the reasons why someone is leaving your workplace, where they are going and what their experience at your company was like.

They are leaving your business for a reason, so it’s important to find out why so you can improve the experience for others and minimise the expenses associated with high turnover. The feedback you receive from an exit survey can help you address issues that may have gone undetected. This can help you avoid them from happening again.

The wrap up

Asking the right questions, to the right people, at the right time can help take your business to the next level. Whether it’s gaining feedback during the onboarding process or finding out why employee happiness has dropped, surveys can help you identify areas for improvement.

After all of that, let’s go back to the beginning and answer that one age-old question…Are employee surveys worth the hype? Absolutely! Now start planning your employee surveys.

Want to learn more about Employment Hero?

If you want to find out more information about Employment Hero, get in touch with one of our small business specialists. They will show you how you can use our Happiness Score and Custom Survey features to help you get the right feedback from your team so you can keep your employees happy and engaged.


Want more? Here’s some suggested reading

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Alex Hattingh
Chief People Officer - Employment Hero
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