New Year, New Opportunities: Using Employee Surveys to Plan for a Prosperous 2022
Use surveys to hear from your employees on what worked well this year and what needs improving for 2022.
As a particularly challenging year winds down, you take time to assess what worked well in the past 12 months and what needs adjustment for the coming year. Your employees may also be reflecting on the past year, many with ideas and solutions that can help make 2022 even more prosperous for everyone.
Employee input should be a key component as businesses assess and plan. To tap into the wealth of information from your frontline to C-suite employees, leverage engagement survey tools. Engagement surveys help business take a pulse of employee sentiment, resolve issues of the past, and plan for success in the future.
When employees are engaged, success is achievable. When they’re not, the ripple-effect of indifference and discontent is felt by coworkers, management, and customers. Building an engaged workforce requires actively listening to staff members. Employees know what works and what doesn’t — and they want their employees to ask for their thoughts and hear them. Their feedback is not only key to evaluate problems and build on accomplishments, it provides staff with ownership of their work and a stake in the company’s success.
Happy people work harder: miserable people spread dissatisfaction. Engaged employees execute their work with energy and enthusiasm, building relationships within the company and with customers. Disengaged employees do the very least they have to do to get by, bringing down their colleagues and providing less-than-stellar service.
Productivity for highly engaged teams is 14% higher than those with the lowest engagement.
In a recent survey, Gallup found only 36% of employees are engaged in their work and workplace: while 15% are actively disengaged. Actively disengaged employees report they’re poorly managed and have “miserable work experiences.” Their research shows productivity for highly engaged teams is 14% higher than those with the lowest engagement. For those not engaged, they found businesses are wasting the equivalent of 18% of these employee’s salary per year. Key to employee engagement is ownership: key to ownership is having a voice.
Surveys uncover problems and provide solutions
Some organizations use employee engagement surveys annually; others more frequently to gage employee satisfaction and provide an open line of communication with management. Surveys are critical to understand employee well-being and contentment and to target problem areas that need resolution. They can be anonymous, allowing employees who might otherwise not bring an issue forward the opportunity to speak candidly about concerns.
Surveys can provide a roadmap to problem resolution, but they also provide guidance to build on successes. What aspects of the role, the culture, or the company provide professional satisfaction? Where does the employee see themselves growing within the company? When you create engagement surveys, you open the door to conversations with employees that may not have happened organically. The survey itself can help employees reflect on their commitment to the work and the company, helping them build engagement individually. Engagement surveys are a low to no-cost way to encourage discussion, improve workflow and systems, and build employee loyalty and ownership.
Creating engagement surveys
Business leaders can create their own engagement surveys, targeting areas specific to their systems and procedures. They should also include questions that ask the employee to reflect on their role within the organization. An end-of-the-year survey stirs introspection and provides an opportunity to make decisive plans for success in the coming year.
Here are some overarching questions Zenefits’ internal subject matter experts suggest could be helpful to include in an end-of-year survey:
- How well do you feel you performed personally this year?
- How well do you feel your manager performed this year?
- Where do you feel our company is strongest?
- Where do you feel our company is weakest?
- What do you think our customers love most about our product?
- What level of confidence do you have that you will have your job in 5 years?
- How much do you support the vision of our leadership team?
- How inclusive do you feel your team is?
- Can we be better as a team? How?
- How can you be better as an individual contributor?
These questions can be a jumping off point, revealing how much ownership employees have in their role and with the organization. They can also uncover areas business leaders will want to focus on for growth and development. Add questions specific to your organization to this list: remove those that might not be a good fit. The object is to open lines of communication between leadership and staff. Once the door is open to discussion, you can easily plan for change, development, and growth.
The benefits of surveys
Surveys help organizations monitor employee ownership and participation. They inform business planning and decision-making. From the most basic tasks to complex interactions, surveys uncover areas that are highly rewarding or consistently frustrating. Armed with that information, planning for the coming year (and beyond) is results-driven. Target and grow areas of satisfaction: resolve issues that you uncover.
When there are areas for improvement, surveys often provide direct guidance on what the problem is, how it’s affecting workers, and how they’d like it resolved. When they uncover areas where employees show high satisfaction, surveys can guide business leaders to build on and capitalize on those successes. The most basic survey questions often reveal actionable solutions: to uncover them, you have to ask.
Companies that use surveys also remind employees how crucially important their input is to the organization. For those who don’t have the confidence to voice their concerns in person, they provide an avenue to communicate and be heard. A survey is a first step to boost engagement; next is acting the data the survey reveals.
Companies that use surveys also remind employees how crucially important their input is to the organization.
Another type of engagement survey is the pulse survey. These short-burst surveys include 1 to 5 questions, typically targeted to a specific subject. They are used more frequently — sometimes every month or quarter — or as needs arise. An example might be to follow up on reactions and usability of a new procedure or protocol. The questions would be direct: how did it work; is it improving productivity; where can it improve; etc.
Pulse surveys are an important tool for companies looking to get real-time feedback for milestones, events, or changes. Employers can use them to determine whether employees understand and utilize new benefits — and find them advantageous. They can be used as periodic snapshots of employee engagement or company culture. Your company can tailor pulse surveys to fit any need: they’re a quick way to get real-time feedback on employee sentiment.
Planning for prosperous new year means working hard to understand your customers and what they want. You listen to their concerns, respond to their requests and make adjustments based on what you’ve learned. A prosperous new year means working just as hard to understand staff and what they want.
End-of-the-year surveys help business uncover employee concerns and requests, so you can make adjustments based on what you learn. The result can be an engaged workforce that helps your organization be even more successful in the coming year (and beyond).