When done well, employee surveys offer valuable information about a company’s workforce as well as possible insight into ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency. Done poorly, employee surveys can damage morale and send a company spinning off in the wrong direction.
The arguments over the pros and cons of employee surveys in a recent Society for Human Resource Management article can offer hints into how to make them more effective.1
Pro: A company’s worth can be determined by the quality of its people, so it is imperative to stay tuned in to what they need and where they see the company going. Employees are also often the best resource for spotting problems early and creating solutions.
Con: Employee surveys offer a snapshot of a moment that has already passed, putting companies in the position of reacting to the past rather than preparing for the future.
Pro: An employee survey can provide insight into what your team needs and wants. When it comes to employee retention, this can be crucial. Retention not only keeps the best and brightest under your roof, but it also saves companies from losing time and money training new workers.
Con: Employee surveys can provide too much information, particularly for larger organizations with elaborate surveys. With so much feedback to wade through, those interpreting the survey results could be in danger of latching on to the wrong things.
Pro: Employee surveys show that a company values worker input and gives them a positive outlet to air frustrations and grievances. It can make workers feel like they are being heard.
Con: Employee surveys, not properly handled, can actually increase employee mistrust. If employees don’t see some sort of result or at least acknowledgement of their answers, they could end up feeling less valued by their employers—the opposite of one of the intended results.
Considering some of the pros and cons of employee surveys can help your organization decide if it’s the best mechanism for obtaining feedback.
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