How to manage employee surveys well

How to manage employee surveys well

Many organizations send employee engagement surveys with a desire to improve employee engagement and retention; unfortunately, they often damage both in the process.

There are some pitfalls of the employee engagement survey that fortunately are easy to avoid.

Here are three practices to follow when submitting employee engagement surveys:

  1. Shorter is better. I hate to say it, but nobody wants to fill out your employee engagement survey. It takes a long time, employees doubt that the survey will produce results, and employees fear their feedback isn’t truly confidential.

Make your employee engagement survey easy to fill out by making it short. And in short, I mean 10 questions or less. You will get a better response rate on a survey of 10 questions than a survey of 65.

  1. Quickly provide employees with survey results. Most organizations ask for too much information. Leaders are overwhelmed by the survey information, so they spend months and months reviewing it, while employees comment on yet another employee survey without any communication.

Send a succinct communication by sharing the first few lessons – the good and the bad – within a few weeks of sending the survey. It is not necessary to act at the same time. Simply keep employees updated by communicating a quick summary of what you have learned. If you wait too long to share feedback, it often never gets communicated. And the next time you send out a survey, employees will remember the lack of information and be willing to fill it out.

  1. Within 90 days, tell employees what you want and won’t change, based on the survey feedback, and tell them why. Employees don’t need or expect all of their inputs to be used. Often it is enough to close the loop with clear communication about what you are and are not changing and why.

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About Shari Harley

Shari Harley is the founder and president of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training company that is bringing back candor to the workplace by making it easier to give feedback on the job. Shari is the author of the book on corporate communication How to Tell Anyone Anything: A Guide to Building Business Relationships That Really Work. He is a keynote speaker at conferences and does training in the United States. Learn more about Shari Harley’s training programs and Candid Culture at

Tags: be the best place to work, honest questions, employee engagement, employee engagement surveys, employee satisfaction surveys, employee surveys, leadership questions