2015-03-26

Do you really know what your people think?

Drake Editorial Team

Because employees have a huge impact on the bottom line, companies need to ensure their workforce is engaged and committed. Numerous studies have linked employee loyalty, customer loyalty, and financial results with one another. Employee dissatisfaction leads to lower productivity and higher turnover, having a significant impact on organizational performance. Therefore, anything that can reduce the investment of time and money currently channeled into sourcing, hiring, and training new employees is beneficial.


Enterprise surveys enable business leaders to find out what their employees really think and what issues need to be addressed. Through the survey, the organization can communicate to employees that their opinions matter and so increase employee morale, understand key organizational issues, and build an engaged workforce. Carrying out a well-orchestrated survey — and listening, consulting, and acting on the results over time — will have a positive effect on a company’s bottom line.


An enterprise survey is a structured process in which staff can openly discuss their opinions of the organization without fear of reprisal. They can review key areas that the organization has deemed important (e.g., culture, company strategy, career development, reward systems, training, onboarding, orientation, and customer service) and provide input and ideas on what is working well and what is not. The aim is to present staff with a method that encourages them to give honest answers on a variety of topics in a manner that they find comfortable.


Why conduct an enterprise surveyWould you like to uncover key organizational issues that would lead to demonstrable improvements? Do you want your workforce to provide feedback and suggestions on how to improve and feel more engaged and committed to your company?


Employee engagement is a central goal of a smart company that understands that is only as good as its employees and that there is great value in knowing their opinions, drivers, and behaviours. Numerous studies have established that a moderate increase in employee engagement can garner huge returns for a company. Being aware of what employees are saying about their work experience provides insight into a company’s key issues and makes available crucial information that can be positively applied to the future.


An organization can reap many benefits from conducting an enterprise survey:

  • It’s a strategic organizational tool to identify important issues.
  • It provides an assessment of current organizational culture and gauges the level of employee engagement.
  • It allows employees to communicate views and concerns.
  • It isolates the root causes of such continuing problems as high turnover or low productivity.
  • It enables companies to find solutions to issues that will lead to profitable improvements.
  • It fosters stronger employee relations by creating an environment of openness and trust.
  • Empowered employees lead to higher retention rates, lower absenteeism, improved productivity, better customer service, improved morale, and measurable savings.


How to conduct an enterprise surveyTo implement an enterprise survey, you must plan — to create governance policy, clarify objectives, establish timelines, allocate resources, identify topics, and define a reporting structure. Once you have dealt with these elements, you need to develop survey items with the input of key constituents. You must also address administrative details, including who will receive the survey, communication, and timing, and then create your plan of action to analyze and identify priorities. Over time, you implement and monitor key recommendations, ensuring that you provide regular updates and communicate progress.


Your organization must keep your employees informed through all phases of the survey, including preparation, data collection, action planning, and implementation. You need to develop a communication plan to get out the key messages — objectives and rationale, timeframe, importance of participation, how results will be reported, and action priorities identified add implemented. Be sure to allow for two-way communication.


Explain suggestions that cannot be implemented in a timely manner and tie changes that are made back to the survey. Communicating effectively throughout the process establishes a solid foundation for future surveys.


When employees see the changes that take place as a result of their feedback, they will understand the connection between that and their response, leading to an improvement in future survey scores.


Timing the enterprise surveyIf you conduct a survey only once, you lose the survey's value in monitoring progress over time and uncovering new or developing issues. If you conduct surveys too often, fatigue can occur. To be effective, you should schedule the survey process so that any initiatives that come out of it can be incorporated into the business planning cycle.


Once it has been distributed, allow enough time for staff to consider their responses before completing the survey. Providing the opportunity to fill it out while at work will increases response rates.


Once collected and compiled, release the data to all employees without delay to signal that the information collected matters and that management has given it high priority.


Action planning and implementing resultsThere is little point in conducting enterprise surveys unless the information is going to be used to make your company more effective. Without action and follow through, there is no value.


The results need to be analyzed and presented in an efficient and cost-effective manner. How do you keep on top of the volume of information without letting the process weigh you down? How do you respect privacy issues? Effective evaluation of enterprise survey outcomes requires you to identify trends and patterns of key issues perceived by the workforce. Benchmarking the results from one period to the next enables you to compare valid data and opens the opportunity to monitor progress.


OutsourcingMany dedicated HR departments do not have the time or skill to gather or analyze the data or implement the recommendations they reveal. Outsourcing an enterprise survey frees up the time of internal resources by enabling a third-party provider to oversee the design, facilitate planning, provide guidance, and implement and coordinate the survey in a way that minimizes demands on employees and their managers.


As well, employees who are not fully engaged will not provide honest input unless an external advisor assists in prioritizing results based on objective, statistically reliable data. To ensure that your organization capitalizes on the potential rooted within the results, a third-party provider is ideal.


ResultsA well-designed and implemented process will guarantee that the concerns identified by your enterprise survey are the right ones. Equipped with this crucial information, your company will be in a position to address key issues, which will result in greater employee engagement.


By managing it properly, using the right resources, asking the right questions, processing and responding to the answers, and using the information to create necessary change, you can convert enterprise surveys into one of the most valuable management tools your company has.


Drake International’s Enterprise Survey solution makes the design and development of survey questions efficient, effective, and specific for your company. The enterprise survey solution goes beyond the needs analysis and technology to include the proven expertise of Drake’s project management experience. Once a Drake Enterprise Survey is established for your company, it can be easily deployed in the following years without incurring the initial set-up cost.Visit www.drakeintl.com to read this entire Drake Whitepaper and others on a variety of talent management solutions.

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