An employee satisfaction survey should be a positive experience, giving employees a chance to talk about the things they like, and space to report any issues they may be experiencing in their working life. It is therefore important to carefully consider both the content and the wording of the questions in order to keep things pleasant for all involved.
Here are a few no-no’s to bear in mind when designing your employee satisfaction survey:
1. Questions about the employee’s personal life
Even though working atmospheres have generally become more informal, the border between working and personal life should still be respected. As an employer, you have no interest whatsoever in your employee’s personal life, unless they are engaging in activities that damage your firm. Even if this is the case, the satisfaction survey is not the place to address this issue.
2. Specific questions about the employee’s work
Monitoring and progress reports are topics for a one-on-one review between the employee and supervisor. Asking an employee about their work in a satisfaction survey may make them start to question the true purpose of the survey and destroy their motivation to give honest answers.
3. Discriminatory language
The language of any survey should be inclusive and gender neutral. For example, avoid referring in general terms to managers as “he” or receptionists as “she”. This is particularly important for surveys that aim at younger employees who have grown up in a more politically correct environment and who may be offended by the use of discriminatory language.
4. Negatively phrased questions
Although an employee satisfaction survey is a chance for an employee to be honest about their experiences, it should be an overall positive experience for all involved and not simply an opportunity to grouse. Avoid creating a bad atmosphere, by eliminating negative language. Positively worded questions are more likely to generate a positive response.
5. Impossible ideas
As with any aspect of the employer-worker relationship, it is important to build and maintain trust. Employees must feel that they are being taken seriously and that they have a voice. Therefore, while your survey should invite comments and ideas from employees, try to keep this within the framework of your current company culture and avoid open-ended questions which could create expectations that are not possible to fulfil and lead to damaged trust.
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