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Voluntary employee survey

Voluntary employee survey

As you all know, I’m an expert on the subject of voluntary employee surveys. One sentence I have been reading over and over again: “A survey should be voluntary.” I respectfully disagree. Or, to be more precise: I see this in a more differentiated way. First of all, a survey wouldn’t be necessary at all, if all employees talked with their bosses regularly, thus sharing their worries, fears, and successes.

But be honest: where is this actually the case? Is this the case in YOUR company? Fact is: even in a company run by the nicest and friendliest boss in the world, good communication is hardly ever a given. Even if you as a boss pride yourself with always being prepared to listen to your employees, very few of them will actually come to you to discuss sensitive matters close to their hearts.

Sometimes, your employees may expect you to see what’s going on with them. You just have to see that there’s storm clouds brewing on the horizon. Maybe true, but: We all know what assumptions are! And by letting your employees assume and by not inviting them to talk, possible volatile information gets lost. Unfortunately, existing problems among your employees do not get lost.

Employee survey – anonymous and binding!

So, let’s assume that even the world’s best boss doesn’t receive all the information that is vital for his company’s success and survival. Consequently, this means that the boss can’t act on issues that are there, but which aren’t aired and, therefore, can’t be dealt with. This “lost” and omitted information can be the cause for a situation to escalate. Topics that need dealing with asap are:

  • Addiction problems of your employees, which they use to compensate their workload
  • Sabotage inside the team and, thus, the company, which can lead to insolvency
  • Bullying and the continuous exclusion of specific/certain team members
  • Burn out of individual employees due to an excessive workload

If you’re not aware of these things, this loss of information will ultimately be your (personal) loss. Also, these issues won’t just disappear over time. Instead, they will gain momentum and might turn into something akin to an internal war. Consultants call these issues “hot conflicts”, as opposed to “cold conflicts”. No matter, if hot or cold – immediate and effective action is required and mandatory!

It’s also the employees who suffer from situations and issues they haven’t addressed and communicated to the boss. Both the working atmosphere and the employees’ satisfaction will ultimately reach an all-time low. Even if you’re aware of that, your hands might be tied – because you don’t have the time to deal with the situation, more likely, because you’re afraid to deal with itSurveys for employees – do all you can for your company!

Surveys for employees – do all you can for your company!

You know both from my blogs and my personal consultations my personal mantra: “What’s good for the company at this precise moment in time?” ALL my clients and their teams have to answer this question. The reason: if they should reach a decision point in their company, they will have to implement temporary solutions that aren’t dictated by their personal feelings and emotions:

  • You’re getting out of the “problem loop” and start to ask important questions, such as
  • What should I do first in this situation and how should I deal with the problem?
  • So, instead of being “situation-oriented”, be “action-oriented”!
  • And look for a sensible solution that fits your company

In “our” case, the worries and needs of the employees are the problem. As a boss, it is your task to evaluate these worries and needs your employees are currently facing. There are several ways to get to the bottom of the problem – including personal one-on-one interviews, which may not be the most effective tool at your disposal. So, let’s get back to my initial question:

Should a survey be voluntary?

In general, the voluntary nature of an anonymous employee survey is demanded, if not even required – at least, when you follow the advice of various networks and authors. Their reasoning: the employee doesn’t want to be forced into expressing himself. He is afraid that – should the survey conducted on paper – his name and data will be passed on to you as his boss. Furthermore:

  • He fears unpleasant consequences, such as a dismissal from the company
  • If the questions are too complicated/difficult, the employee feels stupid
  • He want to express himself, but needs to be sure of 100% anonymity
  • He might fear that the required information is too complicated

Ask yourself the following question: if such a survey was guaranteed to be 100% anonymous, would our employees be willing to participate? Would they do it, if they knew that you wouldn’t be able to get hold of sensitive information? Guess what: all employees of companies I have consulted have confirmed that in this case, they’d be more than happy to take part in an employee survey.

Besides, the company’s employees are just as interested in helping the company both in the short and in the long run. They want to achieve this by disclosing grievances, so that these can be remedied in a concerted manner and effort. After all, it is not only about team and company peace, but also about the workplace, in which they spend a lot of time.

Sense and nonsense of a voluntary implementation

Generally speaking, if issues are successfully addressed and remedied, the company comes out stronger. This is vitally important in “good times” as well as in “bad times” (and I’m not only talking about the ongoing Corona crises, which forces many of us into home office and confronts us with economic challenges). Surveys are to strengthen the interests of the entire company.

Therefore, let us note that a voluntary participation in an employee survey is not mandatory. However, participating in it is in the personal and corporate interests of all parties involved!

In principle, I believe that the determination of the employees’ point of view – if there is no fear of personal consequences – is certainly one of the most important aspects of a company. Therefore, it’s an important tool for corporate management. For this reason, I suggest that the survey should be carried out during your employees’ working hours.

So, work with me to ensure that your employees’ trust is not abused! Also, guarantee that the collected results and insights and their consequent evaluation will be published in your company! It is just as important that conclusions are being drawn from the results – namely the “red lights” – and that solutions are implemented!

Do you manage a company? Have you had the feeling that your team of employees is dealing with unaddressed issues? You can’t put your finger on the real problem, you don’t know where the fly in the ointment is? Are you afraid to address the issues because you feel that you’ll be overwhelmed by them?

Don’t worry – I have the perfect tool for you to address and eliminate all your company’s issues! Call me today for your free initial interview for your voluntary employee survey, which is 100% anonymous: +49 (04) 80 90 31 9016. Also, you can 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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