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Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Employee Surveys

An employee survey is a way for businesses to discover their employees' opinions, feelings, and experiences. It is a great way to get a pulse on the company culture, identify areas that need improvement, and provide feedback on the job.

Employee surveys are often used alongside other methods of gathering employee feedback, such as focus groups or interviews. They can also be used as a part of an exit interview process when an employee leaves the business.

What is an employee survey?

An employee survey is a way for an employer to get feedback from their employees on how they feel about their workplace. You can use surveys to gather information about what employees think of their company, its culture, management, leadership, and any other issues they have.

Why are employee surveys important?

Employee surveys are important because they help you:

  • To evaluate your performance as a manager or supervisor.
  • To assess the effectiveness of an organizational change or initiative.
  • To improve performance, reduce turnover, and increase employee engagement.
  • To determine if there is a need to improve company benefits or employee training programs.

How effective are employee surveys?

Employee surveys can be very effective if used properly. But the results will only be beneficial if the survey questions are well-designed and you have an action plan for following up on the findings.

One of the most important things to remember is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to employee surveys. Designing your survey will depend on what you want to learn and what kind of feedback you hope to get from it.

Should you be honest in employee surveys?

The answer is yes. The reason is that surveys are an opportunity to build trust and establish a culture of transparency. The best approach is to be as honest as possible in your responses.

It's common to feel hesitant about expressing negative thoughts or opinions. You may worry that you'll hurt someone's feelings or that you may come across as ungrateful or disloyal. But the truth is that most people want to hear what you have to say — and they appreciate honesty more than anything else.

What are the types of employee surveys?

The most common types of employee surveys are:

  • Employee opinion surveys: These surveys ask employees to rate their satisfaction with different aspects of the workplace on a scale from one to 10. 
  • Employee satisfaction surveys: These surveys ask employees about the overall quality of their work environment, management style, learning opportunities, workplace culture, and more—essentially all aspects of their experience at work that affect job satisfaction (or lack thereof).
  • Employee engagement surveys: These are a great way to measure employees' passion for their jobs by asking questions about how motivated they are at work each day and whether they feel like they're contributing to something bigger than themselves in their roles at their companies.
  • Employee retention surveys: These surveys help identify why employees are leaving so that you can fix the problem before it costs you valuable talent.
  • Employee compensation surveys: These surveys help ensure that employees are paid fairly based on their skills and experience levels.

Pro Tip

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How to analyze employee survey results?

Here are four simple steps for analyzing employee survey results:

  • Step 1: Review the results for each question.
  • Step 2: Look for themes in the data.
  • Step 3: Create actionable insights from the data.
  • Step 4: Create an action plan based on those insights.

Are employee surveys really anonymous?

The idea of anonymity is a common theme in employee surveys. Many organizations use this approach in the hope that employees will be more honest and open with their opinions. However, even if you think your survey is anonymous, there are ways to identify the participants.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

How to conduct an employee survey?

Here are some tips to help you design and conduct a survey that will yield useful results:

  • Ensure you have all the necessary information before designing your survey. If you don't know what kind of data you want, you won't be able to create the right questions.
  • Don't make it too long. An effective employee survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. It is crucial that employees feel comfortable answering these questions, so keep it short and sweet!
  • Make sure your survey is anonymous by using double-blind surveys (where respondents don't know who is asking them) or single-blind surveys (where respondents know who's asking them).

How to create an employee survey?

If you're looking for some inspiration to create an employee survey, here are the steps to note.

  • Define the purpose of your survey. Make sure you ask questions that reflect the topic. If you want to see how they feel about their Salary and benefits, then ensure these topics are covered in your survey.
  • Create a draft survey and test it by sending it out to some of your employees and asking them for feedback on what they thought about it. This will help you determine whether or not you need to change anything.
  • Make sure to keep the survey anonymous, so employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you.
  • Make it easy for employees to respond by providing an online form or email address where they can submit their responses.
  • Analyze your survey results and take action on any areas that need improvement.

How to improve employee survey results?

Here are some ways you can improve your employee surveys:

  • Choose the right questions.
  • Select the right survey tool for the job.
  • Choose the right time to conduct the survey.
  • Ensure everyone understands what they are being asked.
  • Offer rewards or incentives for participation (e.g., gift cards)
  • Make sure every employee gets a chance to participate.

How to increase employee survey participation?

If your company's survey participation rate is low, here are some tips for increasing it:

  • Make sure your survey is well-designed. 
  • Let people know their response is anonymous or confidential.
  • Ask questions that are relevant and interesting. Don't keep them too long.
  • Include an incentive. Employees are more likely to take a survey when it's easy and worth their time. 
  • Make sure your survey is easy and quick to complete. The more time it takes employees to complete a survey, the less likely they are to complete it.
  • Assign a deadline for taking the survey, so people don't forget about it by accident or neglect it.

How to answer employee surveys?

Here are some tips on how to answer employee surveys:

  • Answer honestly. If you don't give a fair representation of the company, it could negatively impact your coworkers' opinions and yours.
  • Don't make assumptions about what people think or how they feel when answering questions.
  • Don't be afraid of being honest about negative experiences or concerns, but keep them constructive! Don't just say, "This place sucks." Instead, ask questions like "Why are we doing this?" or "What would be a better way to handle this situation?"
  • Identify the purpose of the survey and ask yourself if it's what you think it is. If there's any ambiguity about the questions being asked, ask for clarification from your manager or HR before responding to a survey.

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