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Employee Opinion Survey

Employee Opinion Survey

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I am intending to conduct an employee opinion survey across a few of our businesses here in Australia. I was wondering if anyone had put together their own employee opinion survey and would be happy to share that with me.

Thank you

Rosemary
Rosemary Wilson

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By LiamD
21st Feb 2006 10:19

Rosemary
It depends on what you want to achieve and how you intend to administer it.

Before setting up my own training consultancy, I had to do a similiar task with the company I worked for. We had over 24,000 workers with 80% seasonal- so we had to use a blend of online and paper to administer. This obviously impacts the design and the amount of questions.

The actual questions need a lot of work as well. I am (still) amazed as to how many major organisations ask questions such as "are you happy with your benefits package?". ONLY ask questions that you can do something about.

Harvard Business have done a lot of research on surveys and the questions to ask. Indeed, some questions they recommend can be tracked back to profitability improvement (or not) if the survey is to be run annually.

A word of caution, and it relates to why do you want the opinions? The more you can "prove" the survey is confidential, anonymous, quick and then publish the results to EVERYONE followed by WHAT YOU ARE DOING WITH THE RESULTS the better. Don't allow keep the results secret- you have asked for the feedback, have the honour to respond.

In summary: keep the survey short (no more than 50 questions) and keep the questions focused. Consider how you can administer the report- online is usually cheaper (from £3.50 a head) but bespoke projects can cost £10k +. Keep it confidential but publish the results and the action plan. Engage!

I have some sample questions- feel free to get in touch.

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By RowWilson
23rd Feb 2006 00:47

Again Liam and David, thank you both very much for your comments/feedback. You have both given me quite a bit to think about and I would like to run some of your proposals by my HR Director. I also think it is a good idea to ask people if they think conducting a survey would be a good way to get feedback. I also think having focus groups is another great idea. Definitely appreciate your comments and will follow some of your suggestions.

Regards

Rosemary Wilson

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By LiamD
22nd Feb 2006 10:45

Hi Rosemary

Be wary of asking, via a survey, questions regarding retention. Inevitably, those questions will be “how long do you intend to stay” etc.

Your business has gone through a period of change. Friends and colleagues have been dismissed and the bosses are new. What you are experiencing is people coping and living in change. The role of the managers now is not to “assess retention” but to steer those people left in the organisation through a difficult period. Think about it:

“Company X makes 10 people redundant. New management. Staff in various states of dismay and not sure of future. HR send out questionnaire asking “are you going to leave”?!”

Let the dust settle, but you should be holding regular discussion groups about the “new regime”. Ask the staff if a survey would be a good idea to allow them to feedback. Having been in similar situations, I implore you don’t hide behind the survey- it will only tell you what you know anyway- but get out there and get face to face anecdotal evidence.

Let me know if you want anything on change… but a few sample questions are below.

CONFIDENCE
1. I am confident about my organisation’s long term future.
2. I feel that my organisation is well-managed.
3. I understand what my organisation is trying to achieve as an organisation.
4. I would value more information on my organisation’s long-term future.

RESPECT
5. My team leader / immediate manager shows respect for me.
6. I respect my team leader / immediate manager.
7. I find my team leader / immediate manager approachable.
8. I find my team shows respect for other people and departments that they work with.

TEAM WORKING
9. My team is free from issues / conflicts that affect its performance.
10. My team leader / immediate manager can successfully handle conflict situations if they occur.
11. Team building is considered essential within my organisation.
12. I am able to freely express my opinions in the team.
13. I find team meetings very useful.
14. It is easy to get things done in my team.
15. I feel that my team works well with other teams.
16. I have the opportunity to influence / improve how my work is carried out.
17. My team leader / immediate manager consults me when decisions affecting my work need to be made.
18. My team leader / immediate manager effectively delegates work.

Some of the questions above have been proven to track to business performance. I will email this with the questions underlined as I cannot do so here.

Liam

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By dfaik
21st Feb 2006 13:31

Hi Rosemary,

The approach I will suggest requires an understanding of the business drivers in your company and talking to your leaders, not copying other companies’ survey questions. As a general I think we need to do more of this in HR!

I used to work for a company that sold /delivered employee surveys. I was personally involved in running surveys at a major mobile phone company, computer chip designer, pharmaceutical company and motor manufacturer. I've seen how dozen's of other companies have got this right and wrong.

The biggest mistake companies make is thinking that research will bring out issues that will grab the attention of the board. "If we ask XYZ RESEARCH LIMITED'S 20/30/40 MAGIC questions we'll get insightful reports that will make the issues come alive and everyone spring to action. The staff will feel good because we listen. Press the button on the magic questionnaire to make it happen."

You need to have your own research reasons. (N.B. – Satisfaction or engagement levels aren't reasons, just fashionable excuses!). Some examples of reasons:

"We need to outsource 20% of our business but keep the other 80% bought in"

"We need to make serious changes to the pension provisions for our employees, which will be less generous, and need to gauge how this will impact on staff morale and as such productivity"

"We need to reorganise our business. Doing this with the staff bought in will take half the time of doing it with the staff fighting it. In fact staff resistance could derail the project. How can we get our employees bought in?"

"Best practice" ... is not a reason! However, if “best practice” got you the survey budget, try to approach things the other way around: get research to support key initiatives that your business leaders are already trying to make happen.

If your research topics grab the CEO’s attention and help him / her make important decisions, it means employees’ views were acted on. Employees will see the survey was a good investment of time. The CEO will see the survey as a good investment!

If you post some of the reasons for wanting to conduct your employee research I will gladly suggest the kind of things you might ask.

Hope that you find this constructive.

Regards,

David - [email protected]

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By dfaik
22nd Feb 2006 13:40

Stage one is to agree topics management will deal with. Have some too hot to handle in the mix, to establish boundaries. Some examples:

1. The Way We Downsized
Unless you are a business miracle your downsizing process will not have been perfect! You will have bruised and broken “moral contracts” with many employees. This doesn't mean you couldn't have done it better or learn from the experience.

Would leaders invite comments on the way downsizing was run? Suggested improvements? (Careful communication about future plans!) Could downsizing have been communicated better? Was selection fair and equitable? Did employees have any say in selection? Agreeing a consultation process ahead of emergencies is a good thing. Links between how staff received & trusted communications and their productivity generate clear arguments about better consultation processes and communications. What cost change that makes the whole business freeze like a rabbit in headlights? Links to a leaving question adds regretted turnover costs to the ROI case.

I'd strongly suggest to leaders that they grasp the nettle and talk about the downsizing, as this is clearly what's driving the research. In the today's world we all know redundancy is a part of working life!

2. Why We Downsized
Why were certain senior managers axed and not others? Was the process seen as fair and equitable? Did staff get the objective? What is the impact if they don’t? (i.e. - ROI case leaders will buy!) How do staff like to learn about company strategy?

3. Our Future Vision
Are management communicating the future vision of the company (N.B. - be very unambiguous about which layer or who you are refering to in all research)? What is in it for employees left? (You need to get at benefits AND risks) What would motivate the remaining employees more? Is pay in scope? Do employees think new managers will make the company’s prospect better? Do employees trust the leadership? Would they buy shares?

Pre-empt to see how open leaders will be about outcomes: if the workforce doesn’t trust you, will you publish it?

Stage two: Run employee focus groups to get their views on the topics. Turning employee statements into survey questions is a great way to get the language right. Getting a third party to run these off site might be good if trust is low (as you imply).

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By RowWilson
21st Feb 2006 23:03

Hi David and Liam and thank you for your comments.

I have run a couple of employee surveys before which was targetted at employee satisfaction. This time however, it's going to be more targetted to employee retention and morale. We have recently had some downsizing and change of senior management. We have the support of the senior management to conduct this survey, I guess I was looking more for other HR Managers' experience in what not to ask than just copying another company's survey. I also agree with you Liam that it's silly to ask questions you can do nothing about. Any feedback would be most welcome and I would appreciate your sample questions Liam. My email address is [email protected]
Thanks again.

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