Companies like Intel, IBM, and Twitter are searching for ways to draw more meaningful conclusions from their employees’ feedback in the hopes of increasing retention. As Richard Taylor, Senior Vice President and Director of Human Resources for Intel stated in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “We’ve gotten to a point where we have a hell of a lot of data and not necessarily that much knowledge.” The solution? Allow employees the ability to give honest feedback through open-ended survey questions, and then analyze answers for common themes to focus on. It’s working: through this method, all three companies uncovered previously unknown pain points.
How To Survey Your Team's Engagement
- Send surveys weekly or monthly. When you only gather employee feedback once or twice a year, you’re either missing opportunities to gain insights, or overwhelmed with so much feedback it slows down change.
- Ask specific questions. Take short, frequent pulses of the workplace. Employees get bored answering endless multiple-choice questions, so instead, focus on gaining deep insight into one topic per questionnaire.
- Leave room for open-ended responses. Allow employees to direct the spotlight. Often, feedback surveys ask only about the problems leadership already knows exist. With open-ended questions, employees can illuminate new issues.
- Share findings with the team. Reduce turnover by truly listening. Heard employees are happy employees. Get creative with the way you measure and react to feedback so that employees feel valued, and can give honest answers that go beyond strongly agreeing or disagreeing.
Takeaway: Employee satisfaction surveys are nothing new, and big data means larger than-ever-quantities of information. However, when employees grow tired of answering multiple-choice questions, or don’t feel the questions represent their concerns, there is little increase in the quality of knowledge gained from them. Changing how you gauge employee engagement can make for a better workplace for everyone.