Why Employee Opinion Surveys Can Be Problematic
As the world becomes increasingly values-centered, more and more companies are trying to incorporate their values into their mission statements. However, many companies struggle with the practical implementation of their values. In this article, we will discuss the potential issues with employee opinion surveys, one of the commonly practiced methods of uncovering problems and improving employee morale.
The Role of Value Alignment in Business
Value alignment is crucial for companies that seek to maintain a positive reputation in their respective industries. In order to effectively align their values with their mission statement, many companies opt to create value statements. However, it is not enough to have a value statement written on paper if it is not reflected in the company’s operations and work processes. To ensure value alignment, companies must consistently practice what they preach.
The Role of Employee Opinion Surveys
One of the methods many companies use to gauge their employees’ opinions is the employee opinion survey. This survey is often anonymous and seeks to uncover issues employees may be facing in the workplace. While there are benefits to using these surveys, such as identifying areas of improvement, such surveys also have their drawbacks.
The Limitations of Employee Opinion Surveys
One of the main problems with employee opinion surveys is that they are often one-way communication. Anonymous feedback is not substantiated, lacks clarification, and is therefore not entirely honest. This means that it takes reading between the lines to see what issues are really present. Feedback often lacks context and substantiation as to where and why a particular issue exists, thus leading to incomplete, or worse, erroneous feedback.
Surveys Also Lack Follow-Up
Another problem with surveys is that there is no follow-up process to ensure that employees have a deeper understanding of their issues and how best to address them. Follow-up processes could include regular meetings with management, trainings, and real-time feedback. Employers must take the initiative to continually engage with employees to understand how things are progressing and what issues need to be addressed.
Constructing Better Employee Opinion Surveys
If companies do intend to use employee opinion surveys, it is crucial that it is construed carefully to ensure that the survey is comprehensive and covers appropriate questions. In designing the survey, it is essential to make sure it seeks to educate and interrogate understanding on the company’s values, mission, and strategic objectives. Questions that focus on work performance or management should be avoided as they could lead to witch hunts and or comparisons and have less to do with obtaining feedback on company values. Survey submitters should also provide ideas on how to better serve customers. This goes beyond mere comments and instead asks survey-takers to be part of the solution when providing feedback.
While it is natural for companies to want to improve employee morale and increase engagement, it is not always necessary to use employee opinion surveys. Ideally, employers should build a culture that promotes healthy communication, rather than relying on anonymous feedback. Such a culture should include regular discussions and training opportunities that require follow-up processes to ensure that employee sentiment is addressed appropriately. In cases where anonymous feedback is necessary, employers must construct better surveys that help them gain a better understanding of employee sentiment while ensuring that employees have the support and resources to take corrective action.