Employee Survey? Yes, Just Do It!

Employee surveys used to be complicated and expensive to implement. Not anymore.

Because it was expensive, if a company implemented a survey they would often ask many questions – hoping to gather as much info as they could for their financial investment. With such an investment, writing the questions was often a long, drawn-out and political chore… and responding to them was equally unpleasant.

Times have changed – thankfully.

I just received a 2-question survey from my grocery chain. Did I answer it? Absolutely – without much thought. I didn’t even hesitate at the 10 second commitment.

 PC Plus Survey Final

While my graphic isn’t an employee survey, it is a great example of how surveys can be simplified and encourage participation.

Implementing employee surveys today is much more affordable. And, there are a number of reliable software service providers which provide flexible  branding and result collection options. Thankfully this has made surveys more accessible and organizations are being more targeted with their research.

Today the difficult part remains writing strategic, relevant survey questions. This is where the time and financial investment still needs to be applied which for organizations means getting the assistance of third parties (e.g., BMC). Like with most things, knowing what you want to achieve is your best first step.

What Do You Want To Achieve?

Employee surveys are wonderfully flexible and can be used to measure a variety of things in a workplace. As an example do you want to:

  • Get feedback on a new procedure.
  • Explore creative ideas your sales or front-line employees have.
  • Conduct a management-level 360 review.
  • Help employees be reflective of their behaviour – good and not so good.
  • Get employees ‘in the mood’ for the training you are going to do.
  • Remind employees of the training they’ve had.

While surveys are versatile, be careful to keep your objective simple – and if you can, keep your surveys to one topic.

I recently wrote and launched an pre-training employee survey for a workshop I was hired to design and facilitate. Because the survey results were only seen by me, the employees were very confident to answer honestly.

The results from the pre-training employee survey gave me valuable insight on how to position the professional development training; I was able to customize the training to meet specific needs. During the training workshops I was able to knowingly ‘lean into’ certain areas where I knew they would benefit the most. The results also helped me congratulate them (positive reinforcement works), on behaviour they were doing. It also meant I didn’t bore them by hammering home best practices that they were already doing.

Position Employee Surveys As Save Valuable Opportunities

Employee surveys can have huge benefit.

Be up-front with staff about how important the survey is. When you conduct a survey in the workplace, you are sending a message to employees that you value their suggestions, ideas and creativity. Don’t assume employees know this – be sure you say it. Explain you are genuinely interested in getting their input to improve them and/or the organization. Ask them to be open and honest – and if they might feel at risk in answering (which is normal), make sure the survey is anonymous.

Anonymous surveys often help gain honest feedback.

Employee surveys have the advantage of building employee morale. Employees will see first-hand they have a say in the training they receive, how the business operates, and even some of the policies moving forward; this often leads to increased loyalty and decreased turnover.

For Best Results

Be up-front with staff about how important the survey is to you. If they have one – work with the HR department. Explain to your audience that you are genuinely interested in getting their input. Ask them to be candid in their feedback and assure them that responses are anonymous (suggestion).

Finally, commit to putting the survey results to work. Employees will embrace change that they feel they have contributed to.


Surveys are great. If you are going to use one consider the need for the following three things:

  1. Know what your response deadline is. Whether it is the date you cut-off additional responses or the date you push / encourage your audience to respond by. Manage everyone’s expectations including your own and share your response deadline.
  2. Know who’s responding. If you are doing an employee survey it is often helpful to get a sense of the experience level with the company and/or position of the person responding. Often that can be achieved by adding one question for each.
  3. One advantage of an anonymous survey is that you can get honest and insightful feedback about topics employees might not be comfortable bringing to you in person.

Uncovering challenges employees are experiencing may keep valuable employees from looking work elsewhere – like your competitors – an expensive loss from many different angles.

Happy communicating and survey design.

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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