As a small business owner, your employees are the lifeblood of your business and key to your success. For your business to survive and thrive under even the most challenging circumstances, it’s important to create a workplace environment that promotes productivity, innovation, job satisfaction, and retention. And getting it right starts with listening. 

When employees feel listened to, respected, and appreciated, performance improves and commitment levels rise. When people know you care about their needs and input, they want to show up for you and give their best effort. 

Conducting employee surveys to collect critical information is a great first step. Surveys are an excellent way to keep your finger on the pulse of important issues that affect your business and can help you remain proactive in addressing concerns that may arise. A survey provides a specific channel for employees to express how they feel and what matters to them, and it also offers a specific mechanism for you to ensure they are heard.

On the other hand, when you don’t actively survey your employees it sends a clear message that you don’t value their input or opinions. 

Surveys also serve as helpful predictors of behavior as well as vehicles for influencing behavior. If you want to know what employees will do or what they plan to do, ask them in a survey. You may discover how long they will stay with the company, what will affect their decision to leave or motivate them to do better, how they plan to use their PTO for the year, what charitable organizations they want to support, or their thoughts on diversity in the workplace. When you ask about a topic, the act of getting employees to think about it and answer the question can motivate them to learn more or make a commitment to change. 

It’s important to remember that employees appreciate the opportunity to have their say, even if they don’t get their way. Contributing to the conversion and knowing they are being taken seriously is what matters most. 

With the help of technology, conducting real-time surveys to get up-to-date and relevant information from your employees is easier than ever. Here are some of the ways you can use surveys to benefit your small business.

New Hire Surveys

During the hiring and onboarding process, your company has the opportunity to make a stellar first impression or a poor one that will come back to bite you. As you work to attract the right talent and bring new people onto your team, you want to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward and taking the right steps to set them up for success from the start. 

Conducting hew hire surveys will allow you to see how your new recruits are settling in and get their feedback on the hiring process. Not only will you be able to use this information to fine-tune your processes and address any problems, but it lets the new employee know their new employer values their input. 

Annual Satisfaction Surveys

Think of an annual satisfaction survey as a temperature gauge to check on overall company morale and a proactive measure to uncover problems before they escalate. Although the annual performance review should be a two-way conversation, employees may not always feel safe or comfortable bringing up issues with their manager. A survey provides an anonymous avenue to bring specific problems to light that may otherwise go unnoticed. 

Project/Team Surveys

We’ve all seen companies conduct customer satisfaction surveys immediately following a purchase or customer service interaction while the experience is fresh. You should be doing something similar for your employees when you want to measure effectiveness, satisfaction, success, or determine how something could have been handled better. 

It could be following an event, such as a workshop or the rollout of a new program or policy. It could be following the wrapup of a project, such as a product launch or special sale. You may also want to conduct a survey after losing a client or after gaining a big account.

Conducting post-event or post-project surveys helps to identify and analyze workflows, team cohesion, and more.

Exit Surveys

When an employee leaves a company, they take with them a wealth of useful information, including feedback about their job satisfaction, company policies and procedures, management, and the overall work environment. And as they are leaving, they are more likely to provide an honest and sincere assessment of their experience. 

Exit surveys are designed to help you as an employer build a more attractive company culture that will help employees feel more engaged, appreciated, and stay with your company longer. 

Check-in Surveys

A survey can be a helpful tool in gathering information about specific issues you’ve identified as creating challenges in the workplace — whether it’s related to an internal concern or it’s an issue that ties into events outside of the workplace. 

For example, to address concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace, HRAnswers is conducting bi-weekly surveys for some of our clients, asking employees how they are feeling physically and emotionally so the company’s leaders have an idea of how everyone is coping. This way, the client is able to use the information to adjust work schedules, deadlines, and plan interventions if needed.

How to Use Employee Survey Data

While surveys are an effective tool for your business, always keep in mind that gathering the information is only the first step. You merely have raw data. Once you’ve conducted a survey, you’ve signaled that you’re interested in hearing from employees and in turn displayed some goodwill, but only so far as employees are assured that you are truly listening. The next steps are equally, if not more, essential.

After you’ve conducted an employee survey, you will want to dive into the data further so you can make use of it in ways that move your business forward and create a better work environment. With surveys as a starting point, you can create focus groups, round tables, or employee interviews to dig deeper into the data, uncover more information, and gain a better understanding of how you can adapt and improve.

Once you have a better grasp on critical information about your business with the help of employee input, you have a solid foundation to develop action plans based on what you’ve learned. As a leader, you’ll need to know how to use the information gathered during the survey process to improve your workplace, better communicate expectations, and artfully lead and manage your workforce. 

Overall, having up-to-date, relevant information related to your employees’ attitudes and satisfaction on the job is a key measurement for human resources success in any organization. Employee surveys serve as indispensable tools for the employees, managers, and decision-makers that make up your small business team. 

Working with an independent third party, like HRAnswers, can help you collect unbiased information that you can use to create action plans that improve your employees’ work experience and help you build a workplace culture to optimize your success. 

Do you want help conducting employee surveys in your small business? Contact us for a free consultation today. We love this stuff!