Have you ever watched the show Undercover Boss, where the CEO of a large corporation masquerades as a front line worker in order to explore the issues faced at the front line? The ‘Ivory Tower’ dilemma in company management is a very real one … they made a ‘reality’ show about it after all! If you find that there are altogether too many knowing glances going on in staff meetings, too many conversations that hush up as soon as senior management walk into the staff room, and too many unexplained dips in performance, morale or profits, then it’s probably time to do an employee satisfaction survey. Today we detail 5 of the most important reasons why you should take the time to get inside your employees’ heads. It’d be a lot easier than masquerading undercover as one of them, for a start.
1. As a Business ‘Health Check-up’
Each of us knows that we’re supposed to get a full once-over from our doctor every 12 to 24 months. Similarly, any business that ‘gets’ that its staff are its most important assets are aware that they should be surveying their employees regularly to try to pinpoint workplace issues before they spiral into bigger issues. And yet, how often do we see the case that surveys are only thought of after a problem rears its ugly head?
Employee satisfaction surveys have to be very long. Create a set of standard ‘checkup’ or set of ‘pulse’ questions that allow you to broadly gauge how your staff members feel about their job, their co-workers, their managers, the way the company runs, etc. It’s worth thinking about when you run the survey too – for example, in the second or third month of the new year (when everyone is back at work from holidays), or just after the financial year, so you have actionable data to analyse and implement the changes suggested by the satisfaction survey results with the energy of a new year.
2. To Get New Ideas and Find Untapped Wells of Talent
Employee satisfaction surveys can be used for to help grow the business and/or identify hidden talent. Your employees probably have a wealth of ideas about how the business could run better … but might not want to speak up for fear of being shot down. Often it’s simply a case of no body bothering to ask. Additionally, you might find that your employees have ideas outside of their core role, which you could use in innovative ways.
3. To Encourage Airing of Problems, And Suggestions To Resolve
If you feel that the business is lagging behind in engaging employee’s ideas regarding what it could be doing better, an employee satisfaction survey or opinion survey can help pinpoint the reasons. People will often not take their concerns to management because they are fearful of negative repercussions. Anonymity in an opinion survey can give people the security they need to express their real feelings.
So if you find that conversations abruptly end when managers enter the room, or that there is far too much ‘non-verbal’ communication going on in staff meetings, it’s time to get things out in the open. Don’t forget too that some of the best ideas to improve an organisation’s operations and reduce costs will come from those staff on the front line.
4. To Determine Intervention Effectiveness
Once you’ve designed new workplace programs around the results of your employee satisfaction survey, in order to discover whether the interventions were perceived to be effective you’ll have to go back to the same judgment panel! It’s a good idea to run the satisfaction survey on a set regular cycle (eg. 6 monthly or annually) to see if your programs and initiatives are actually working.
5. To Improve Staff Retention
Research by Mercer (2004) reveals that it costs around 12-18 months salary for an organisation to replace an employee once all direct and indirect costs are considered. However, a quicksand employee base is not only an immediate problem of added costs. It also makes it difficult to achieve optimum productivity, to achieve a stable workplace culture, to instil confidence in staff, or indeed to achieve almost any worthy organisational goal. If you’ve got the Employment Classifieds manager of your local newspaper or job board on speed dial, it is definitely time to do an opinion survey with your employees.
Remember, if you don’t truly know how your employees feel about working, you’re making assumptions. And when you assume … you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’! Contact us today if you want to find out more about what your staff are thinking through a customisedPeoplePulse employee satisfaction survey.