Staff surveys

Following good practice

by Peter Knowles

Staff surveys of employee opinions can improve attendance, enhance customer relations, and increase profitability.

Staff surveys carried out independently can tell you what your employees really think about your company, and whether they are motivated.

Many companies believe their greatest asset is their workforce, but not all employers fully understand the attitudes and perceptions of their staff. Conducting regular staff surveys to understand these attitudes and perceptions is critical if performance is to be maximized.

Why undertake staff surveys?

Staff surveys that provide a thorough understanding of staff attitudes and perceptions are the first essential step in developing strategies that really can improve staff motivation, reduce staff turnover, increase innovation, and lead to better customer retention - all of which will increase productivity, reduce costs and improve profitability.

By commissioning staff surveys employers are sending a positive signal to their employees that they are listening organizations, but this must be matched by a commitment to follow-up on the findings.

Staff Surveys expert: Peter Knowles
Staff surveys expert
Peter Knowles

Peter Knowles is Managing Director of Heawood Research Limited, the company behind Staffprobe®, an employee opinion research system designed to capture attitudes in key performance areas such as team-work, management style, communication, recognition, commitment, training & development, and pay & conditions.

Contact Peter Knowles

Key principles of good staff surveys

The key requirements are: For this reason we suggest that all questionnaires should be returned directly to an independent agency and not to the employer. This ensures greater confidence on the part of respondents and will lead to greater honesty in answering the questions, and to a higher response rate.

Marketing of surveys

Higher response rates can also be achieved through effective in-company marketing of surveys - organizations that communicate through as many media channels as possible will achieve higher response rates. Try using channels such as:

We advocate using on-line surveys for as many employees as possible. This has a number of benefits:

Not everyone is online, so some organizations will require both on-line surveys and paper questionnaires for different groups of employees.

What should surveys include?

Whilst each business is different and tailor-made solutions can be designed, the UK's Investor In People Award Scheme provides a good structure fore measurement. We make IIP's 'Good Practice' principles and the supporting indicators central to all surveys.

The IIP's 'Good Practice' Principles are:

The extent to which employees believe their organization rates on the following indicators can be measured and tracked over time:

Commitment to:

Ensuring that: Producing and communicating: Subject to Market Research Society Guidelines restricting the analysis to workgroups of not less than 10 individuals, measurement (in surveys) can be assessed by a range of different criteria to help organizations understand where the root of any issues lie such as: department, staff grade, length of employment, gender, site or other relevant classification.

For more information, you can contact Peter Knowles

©2004 Peter Knowles.

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