For several years I worked in the corporate environment in huge organizations. These organizations had substantial Human Resource and Information Technology departments. It was natural that they should use these huge resources when it came to running an employee survey. Response rates to worker surveys were less than 25%. These response rates were thought of as the norm and aside from some comments lamenting the low response rate, nobody paid attention.
I am on the opposite side of the fence, now. I've worked with clients for the past nine years supplying a variety of sorts of employee surveys. I had the chance of talking with HR staff from many organizations. These organizations scoured the net to collect questions so that they could create their own employee survey. They were planning on running their own survey procedure in-house once they constructed these questions.
At first blush this doesn't sound like an approach that is unreasonable. But, I asked the HR staff to take into account the following.
Privacy and Confidentiality
Among the most significant issues from an employee’s perspective regarding employee surveys is privacy and confidentiality. It has been our experience that most employees have a low comfort level knowing that their answers to a survey are contained in their firm computers. Despite a firm’s efforts to ensure that unauthorized access to the survey data is protected, the fact remains that it is company staff that are currently working together with the information and conducting the analyses. Confidentiality has been breached. There are opportunities for abuses.
Entec was faced with a situation where the company president stated that he was ready to move with an employee survey but because he was paying for the survey we were going to prepare. We had no choice but to walk away from this project. We could not provide unequivocal assurances that their privacy and confidentiality could be protected.
These concerns can be significantly minimized when employees are advised that the survey procedure will be run by a party. From the communications, for example, Entec advises employees that there is a firewall between Entec Corporation and the organization. No worker can access our computers. No business or worker official will see or have access. Any requests by anybody at the company or managers is rejected. This has happened a couple times. Confidentiality and privacy are issues and they cannot be compromised. Employee surveys are a two edged sword. On the one hand employees welcome a chance to provide feedback. On the other hand they will not participate if they feel in the slightest that their privacy can be compromised, or they will not provide answers.
A high response will raise the statistical validity of their results. A database that is large is generated by A response rate. A large database can be used to prepare information cuts that drill into the business providing meaningful results. A database can be used to prepare a analysis that will not be able to point to specific improvements that have to take place. Therefore obtaining a high response rate is critically important in any worker survey. By way of example, the Entec survey procedure has resulted in response rates between 82 percent-95%. This is well above average and it allows for analysis. Data shows that company-run employee surveys garner a response rate of 30 percent or lower.
Creating the questions and coordinating the questions are all components of creating an employee questionnaire. At Entec we followed the principle that question organization drives the efficacy of the analyses phase. The questions had to be organized in a way that reflects the outcome we sought, therefore when we wanted the analyses phase to lead to recommendations for follow up execution. This thinking was responsible for the worker engagement modeling that Entec ran in the questionnaire design procedure as a first step. The survey questions were put inside the appropriate areas of the model after the modeling was completed. The section on Reliability and Validity below describes this process in detail. The fact remains that there is a particular. This pushes the analysis which in turn allows us to provide clear recommendations for follow up execution.
The nature of the survey analyses is equally as important as the questions that are asked. The survey analysis is the supply of percentages. The analysis must give an interpretation of the data. By way of example, how do the answers from one question or set of questions relate to a different question or set of questions' answers? Some questions are way more significant than questions as they relate to performance and employee motivation.
By way of example, in one company, the statement “There is little to no office politics and gossip” mathematically connected with the following leadership statements: “Takes appropriate action with people who under perform”, “Resolves conflicts fairly and appropriately” and “Leads by example and action”. This sort of analysis identified leadership behaviors that appeared over and over again as being behaviors that were important to the culture of this organization. The analysis led to identifying priority leadership behaviors that had the best effect on practices. Thus the HR department had a concise set. The survey report also provided an evaluation of how those from the firm with responsibility rated against those behaviors.
These statements and the behaviors in all organizations do not necessarily link. They vary depending upon the company. Taking into consideration the example of office politics, research has indicated that a high level of office gossip is associated with a toxic workplace. In this example, this sort of analysis gives the company the knowledge and comfort they're pursuing the proper actions to minimize gossip and so improve performance.
Reliability and Validity
Everyone can gather questions and create a survey. However this raises a question. How can you know that the questions are valid and reliable? To put it differently, if an organization do they have the internal skills, creates its own survey and are they ready to conduct validity testing and the essential reliability to ensure meaning benefits will be produced by the survey.
Entec Corporation spent one developing a set of surveys. The process involved a number of steps. The first step was building an eclectic group of professionals comprising expertise in strategic management, organizational leadership development, psychiatry and behavioural psychology. This group developed questions and versions based on these versions. These were tested with focus groups in many business sectors and than pilot tested. Analyses were conducted. Principle component analyses have been conducted. The many surveys were pilot tested and analyzed again and the surveys amended. This iterative process continued and continues to this day in order to ensure surveys that will produce the best possible results are received by the customers.
If a person are in pain feels sick and are running a fever they could do one of two things. They could take their temperature or they could go to the physician. If they take their temperature their intervention options for regaining good health are limited because they don't have enough information. If they undergo a battery of tests and go to the doctor they will receive an intervention plan and valuable information .
Conducting an employee survey is the same. Organizations are complex systems that are human. Using an untested employee survey, analysis and untested survey procedure will produce results that are similar to taking the temperature. Taking the temperature severally restricts your ability to identify activities that are certain for performance improvement. This in turn acts as a de-motivator. Employee surveys raise employee expectations. When the procedure fails to show any meaningful movement, employee cynicism sets in and productivity drops.
If you decide to conduct a survey run diagnostic will render. The information it needs to achieve its objectives and to proceed will be received by the organization. The survey structure the survey questions, the survey process, and the survey analyses and interpretation are key factors in generating meaningful results. Workers ’ perceptions and expectations' character limit a company’s ability to effectively apply the necessary steps they need to follow in order to conduct a successful employee survey all