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Employee survey companies

Employee surveys companies

Every head of a company needs to know his team’s issues. More precisely he must know about the following: is there bullying in my company? Do my employees have addiction problems? Do they suffer from burnout, possibly even from mental stress disorders/psychological strains? These topics affect you where it really hurts – and thus, if they occur, they need to be dealt with asap.

Ask yourself the following question: in the long term, would your life be easier if you didn’t know if and where these issues occur? Maybe yes, if you want to put your head in the sand, but probably not even then. The reason: these topics won’t just vanish into thin air – they will fester. And they won’t be addressed even in the most open team – neither among each other, nor with you.

So, what is the solution to this entrepreneur’s “pickle”? What to do to not only detect bullying, but to stop it? I’ll tell you: an employee survey. You can create one of these yourself, it can be carried out online. The most important thing in either scenario: it has to be and has to remain 100% anonymous! If there is even an 0.1% risk of it not being anonymous, you might as well not bother conducting it.

None of your employees will be open and honest, none of them will tell you what bothers him/her in the company. Is there bullying? You won’t find out. Does anyone suffer from burnout or has addiction problems? Well, who knows?! Ensuring anonymity therefore is one of the first rules you have to follow when you’re interviewing your team. Your reward: a targeted and invaluable 360-degree feedback.

Employee satisfaction – nothing works without it

You run a small or medium-sized enterprise. The turnover is good, the customers are satisfied, and the employees do their jobs to your satisfaction. Nevertheless, you can’t shake the feeling that something’s not quite right. Meaning, your employees aren’t putting their heart and soul into their work, your products and services. In short: they’re not really satisfied with their jobs and the company.

If that’s what your gut tells you, you should listen to it and conduct a survey pretty much immediately. That way, you can find out what your employees’ morale is really like. On the other hand, your employees have the chance to honestly say what they do and don’t like about their job. What isn’t great and therefore in need of improvement? Here, you can ask the following questions:

  • I am afraid for my job
  • To my, my job is just a job
  • Our products & services are no good
  • I would definitely not recommend our products

In this case, a “positive” answer (I completely agree) is exactly the opposite – and my traffic light system in the questionnaire would jump to dark red every time! In other words: there is an acute need for action since these answers will become a serious problem a lot faster, than you’d like them to. By the way: abstentions aren’t a good sign, either – they mean the employee doesn’t care about the company.

Employee motivation – the magic word for your success

The employee(s) do not see what sense and purpose their work has for you and the company at all. The solution is to work with your team to remedy this fact. Develop ideas on how to improve your products and services! Involve your employees in decisions! This way, you can increase their motivation and their (job) satisfaction!

I also recommend that you conduct an employee survey on a regular basis, at least twice a year. Why? This is the only way you can see whether the measures implemented after the first survey have been effective. You will also see where adjustments still need to be made. Plus: a regular and anonymous survey has these additional advantages:

  • The communication between the employees and you does not falter
  • Issues like dissatisfaction and e.g. bullying can be prevented
  • Your employees are more inclined to come to work again
  • Surveys can contribute to an “open door policy”

Imagine that the next survey is answered with “vote fully in favour” as follows:

  • I can combine job and family well
  • To us, burnout is a foreign concept
  • There is no bullying in our company
  • I like coming to work, I really enjoy my job!

Employee surveys: voluntary or involuntary?

On this question, opinions differ. While many believe that a survey should be voluntary, I take the opposite view. I think anonymous online surveys of staff should be mandatory and a part of their daily work. Why do I think that? Is a survey voluntary, it may not be taken and the following information might get lost to you and the company:

  • Sabotage takes place in the company, which can lead to insolvency
  • Certain team members are being bullied and systematically excluded
  • Some employees suffer from burnout because they have too much work
  • Some employees suffer from addictions, which they use to compensate for the workload

These issues are very rarely addressed without a survey. The fear of losing one’s job is too great, and nobody wants to be a tattle tale, even if the colleague in question is a bully or is belittling another colleague. These “hot conflicts” can damage your company over time – both financially and in terms of reputation. Action must be taken now!

After all, such issues also reduce your employees’ motivation. For you as a boss, there are of course better things to do than to deal with bullying, addictions and psychological stress. However, do not sweep these issues under your company carpet! Instead, seek external help that will support and accompany you professionally in eliminating these issues.

Anonymous online employee surveys – benefits for the company

You are certainly (still) wondering how you can benefit from a survey among your employees – apart from the points already mentioned above. What good is their feedback for you? Benefit #1: creating a survey and then having it conducted as part of the job is frighteningly simple – and effective! The reason: the employee can use the survey as an anonymous “agony aunt”.

As mentioned above, the top priority is that the survey isn’t to reveal who said what on a certain topic and how. Thus, I’d rule out an analogous survey – you might recognize the “tattle tale’s” handwriting, which in turn might cost him his job. Also, such a survey might only scratch the surface without addressing the real and relevant issues in your company:

  • The employee is afraid that the boss will see how he answered
  • The critical results end up in your personal “poison cabinet”
  • The survey is poorly done and/or tendentious
  • The survey misses the actual topic

As a consequence, the results of the survey are virtually obsolete. The reason: in many cases, a problem analysis and a solution based simply on them doesn’t take place due to incorrectly asked questions. This means: there isn’t any optimization of the company and/or communication, either. Therefore, the company is back to square one.

Obtaining information through employee surveys

So, do it right from the start – commission an external third party to carry out the employee surveys. Your advantage: the questions will go for the jugular, thus providing you with the information you need to identify problems and potentials alike and to help optimize processes. You will gain insights into the working atmosphere and:

  • Insights that bring your business forward
  • Effective measures based on the survey results
  • You can start change processes in your company
  • Personnel processes can be stimulated and optimized

You won’t experience all these things if you don’t use this simple method of getting (in)valuable feedback. Fact: skilled employee retention, employee motivation and employee satisfaction are decisive factors for the success of your company. If these factors aren’t present, products, services, customers, and, finally, your company will suffer.

Rely on anonymous feedback from your team and an employee evaluation instead. And by that, I don’t mean the employees’ evaluation, but the evaluation your employees credit certain things and issues. These include bullying, workload, personnel work, communication, political tendencies and their feelings on the management.

Regular employee survey – sample surveys

When setting up an employee survey, experts are at odds with each other as much as with the content of the questions asked. If the questions merely scratch the surface, there won’t be any valuable insights. This is why I have relied on the help of a systemic organisational consultant when setting up my survey. The result: 65 psychologically valuable questions, answered in only 20 minutes.

By the way: in times of Corona, you can also conduct such a survey as part of your employees’ remote work/home office. It is precisely this enforced absence from the workplace that continues to pose new challenges for many companies, businesses, and employees. Thus, they bring to light issues that might not have been so blatantly obvious in the company.

If you’re interested in such an anonymous employee survey, give me a call at +49 (0)40 80 9031 9016 or leave a message here

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Über den Autor

Kerk Behrens

Mit über 30 Jahren Erfahrung & Expertise in der Gründung und Beratung von KMUs, ist Kerk Behrens Ihr Unternehmensberater. In seinen Blogs stellt er Ihnen Themen & Tipps rund um das Unternehmertum vor.

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