Tips for Conducting Successful Staff Surveys

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With staff attrition costs often cited as one of the major expenses of any business, pity the organisation that ignores the need to listen to their staff and collect regular staff feedback.

When managed well, staff surveys can assist in increasing staff retention rates, lowering absenteeism, improving productivity, enhancing customer relations, and increasing profitability. When staff survey results are acted on by Management, it can reinforce to employees that their input is valued by the organisation and help improve morale and loyalty – All valuable outcomes in today’s candidate-short market.

With this in mind, why is it that so many HR Managers and Directors do not conduct staff surveys on a regular basis?

The staff survey process often presents a number of challenges; high costs, a time consuming process, poor response rates, and administrative challenges around producing quality reports and charts. So how does one overcome these hurdles to implement an effective employee feedback program?

Thankfully, many of these challenges can be overcome by conducting employee surveys online rather than by taking the traditional paper approach. Online surveys are more efficient and economical to administer as they can be delivered at a significantly reduced cost, whilst the time involved in the administrative aspect of implementing the survey is reduced as time-consuming data entry tasks and deciphering of illegible handwriting is eliminated online.

In short, there are a number of tips you can easily implement to help ensure the success of your online staff survey. These include:

1. Market the survey – create awareness. Employees need to be given plenty of notice about an upcoming survey. Use any medium(s) available, such as email, notice boards, company meetings, etc. You will need to emphasise the importance of employees responding and how valuable their opinion is to the organisation in order to make necessary improvements. You also need to advise upfront what process you have in place to review and then action results.

2. Clearly state survey objectives in the invite – communicate what the purpose of the survey is, why the organisation is conducting it, where and when employees will be able to access it, and how the results will be used.

3. Preserve anonymity – Employees are more likely to provide honest feedback if the surveys are conducted anonymously. Reassure employees that their responses will be strictly confidential and will not be linked to them as individuals, but rather viewed in a cumulative format. Often involvement in the process by a 3rd party to manage the process can help reinforce the integrity of the survey.

4. Consider incentives for completed responses within the given timeframe – our research shows that incentives can help increase response rates by 10-15%. They are especially useful in a longer survey, and can be anything that will appeal to the employee demographic, from department store vouchers to wine, electronic goods or movie passes, depending on budget. For example: “The first 100 completed responses received will go into the draw to win …”

5. Send reminders – usually sent to people that haven’t yet started the survey (make sure your survey tool can tell you this), survey reminders can increase your responses by another 10-15% by providing an additional prompt to employees to complete the survey 7-10 days after the initial invite was sent.

6. Share results – communicate a summary of the key findings with your employees in a timely manner after the survey close date. This will provide assurance that time and effort spent on completing the survey was worthwhile and acted on, and will help ensure high response rates continue for any future staff surveys you conduct.

7. Take action on findings – It is imperative that the organisation is committed to making appropriate changes for improvement based on the findings of the survey. If no action is taken (or seen to be taken), the survey could potentially have an adverse effect within the organisation, promoting distrust in employees and often reinforcing some of the concerns raised in their feedback. The appointment of a ‘Survey response working party’ assigned the task of interpreting and actioning survey results can be an effective way to reinforce your organisation’s commitment to the survey process.


When designed and implemented correctly, employee surveys can help improve staff loyalty and productivity, hence making them an invaluable tool for any HR leader. By using a good online survey provider, the survey process can often be completed within 3-4 weeks from start to finish, and can arm the organisation with invaluable information to help drive their HR strategy in the impending 12 months and beyond.

Why not have a look at PeoplePulse today?

If you are interested in a demonstration of full featured online survey software offered by a full service provider, please request a demo.

Alternatively contact PeoplePulse on ph +61 2 9232 0172 to discuss how we may be able to help you

Next Article:

Controlling Staff Attrition through Attachment 

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