Employee Opinion Survey: A Case Study

Heather Shockey Heather Shockey, Outsourced Consulting Services

Many members who have done employee opinion surveys have found them to be extremely beneficial, others are not sure when such a survey would be useful. I thought it might be helpful to provide a case study so that you can be the judge.

The Concern:
A worried member called because they were hearing incomplete information about dissatisfaction in the workplace. It was difficult to get to the heart of the matter. Rumors were not consistent, and there was no employee with a broad enough perspective to explain the dissatisfaction to leadership.

The Approach:
This member called our Custom Opinion Survey staff for help. We met with the member to understand what was troubling them. After gathering the information, staff developed a custom opinion survey that had two types of questions. The first type of question was the kind we ask all employees in organizations who have us conduct opinion surveys. Asking the same set of questions allows organizations to compare how they do against other members of MSEC. This is valuable because there are categories where lower scores are to be expected. As an example, compensation generally receives a low ranking by employees. Who among us is paid what they are truly worth? The second type of question was specific to the organization, based upon their concerns about the information that was coming from the “grapevine.”

The Outcome:
The information from the survey helped the employer in two important ways. It helped the employer find out what was going well. As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” By knowing where employees were satisfied, the member could maintain those policies and practices, making sure they were not lost or changed unnecessarily (and highlighted for greater exposure).

The information also pinpointed the source of employee dissatisfaction. By having a clearer picture of what was giving rise to employee unhappiness, the leadership of the organization could determine what was possible to change, and how to make those changes. As is often the case, one frustration was the lack of communication from leadership. This was an easy problem to work on, by communicating on a recurring schedule and in a variety of ways: short small-group meetings, interactive conversations, and weekly company-wide emails on the progress of certain important projects.

Prior to conducting a survey, members must think strategically about how they will respond to the information gathered. While the lack of communication was easy to identify, leadership must be committed to fixing the problem, and investing time and energy into communicating in a variety of ways.

If you are considering a custom opinion survey, call me. I can talk to you about when – and when not – to do a survey. Contact me at 800.884.1328.