boards ask employees to complete a portion of the management
evaluation, they send a confused and confusing about management
accountability. Employee attitude surveys are a superior alternative,
providing a comprehensive overview of the way the workplace
is being managed -- rather than an evaluation of an individual
When evaluating management performance, a board wants to know
that all employees are fairly treated and that good employees
are retained. At the same time, a board wants to avoid making
the management evaluation a popularity poll, raising unrealistic
expectations among staff about their role in assessing or
guiding management performance. Indeed, when boards ask employees
to complete a portion of the management evaluation, they send
a confused and confusing message to employees and to management
about management accountability. Employee attitude surveys
are a superior alternative. They collect the same type of
input while providing a more neutral, objective and comprehensive
overview of the way the workplace is being managed -- rather
than an evaluation of an individual manager.
employee attitude surveys can also be an invaluable tool to
boards and management in short and long-range planning. By
identifying areas of employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction,
problems can be identified before they become crises; communication,
morale and productivity can be measured and improved. In looking
toward the future, an employee survey can provide important
data on the health and well-being of the workplace as well
as identify areas for improvement.
of an employee attitude survey will, of course, be influenced
by its primary objective. If this information is to be used
as a part of planning, the survey should be conducted two
to three months before the beginning of planning discussions.
If the survey results will be used primarily as input on the
board's evaluation of management, the survey should happen
at the end of the fiscal year. The results of the employee
attitude survey can then be considered, as board members review
management performance, along with the year-end financial
statements and accomplishment of objectives and goals from
The most important factor contributing to the success of an
employee attitude survey is that employees feel free to answer
the questions frankly and openly. Without the confidence of
employees, even the best designed survey will be ineffective.
Therefore, the primary consideration in designing an employee
attitude survey will be to ensure employee anonymity.
many large companies sometimes have their own internal staff
(typically the Personnel Department) conduct an employee attitude
survey, smaller companies more commonly use a third party
-- an outside consultant or personnel professional. The reasons
for using a third party are compelling. To begin with, survey
design and interpretation require skill, expertise and experience
rarely available among a small staff. Additionally, surveys
can be easily compromised by the agendas (conscious or otherwise)
of those who design and conduct them. Finally, of course,
having co-op staff conduct a survey could cause employees
to mistrust the promise of anonymity and make confidentiality
more difficult. However, there can be many benefits to having
co-op staff and directors help tailor questions to fit the
issues facing the co-op and its workforce.
attitude survey is just as important an activity as a marketing
or expansion project. As such, it must be carefully planned,
starting with clarifying the goals of the survey followed
by preparation of the questions to be asked. Typically such
surveys address the following topic areas: job satisfaction;
competence and fairness of supervision; effectiveness of on-the-job
training; satisfaction with pay and benefits; opportunities
to grow and develop new skills; quality of the work environment
(working conditions, personnel policies, relations with co-workers,
etc.); operational efficiency; confidence in management; and
effectiveness of organizational communications.
100% employee participation is highly desirable, the survey
methods used are very important. Surveys that are mailed to
employees or handed out at work generally get poor response
rates. Far more preferable is to set aside some time for employees
to be scheduled to complete the survey. And, by having a third
party on hand to explain the survey and collect forms, employees
generally have more confidence in the confidentiality and
anonymity of their responses.
attitude surveys ask employees to respond to questions using
a rating scale and ask very few open-ended questions. However,
open-ended questions have some advantages; as smaller employers
(i.e., under 100 employees), most co-ops can get the best
of both worlds. Nevertheless, questions should be designed
to avoid making compilation and collation of the data too
Communications is critical to the success of an employee attitude
survey. While that communication starts before the survey
-- informing employees of a survey, its purpose and how the
results will be used -- it's even more critical for employees
to receive feedback afterwards. A memo should be sent to all
employees after their surveys have been received letting them
know that their candid and thoughtful participation in the
survey was appreciated, that management and/or the board has
received a report, and that further feedback will be forthcoming.
Again, it's valuable to emphasize that all surveys were handled
confidentially and with complete anonymity.
two or three weeks, an objective summary of the survey findings
should be available to employees. Such a summary should highlight
both the positive and negative areas identified by the survey.
Employees will appreciate the maturity and earnestness of
a management that is willing to share results that identify
where its weaknesses and failings may be. One of the greatest
pitfalls of employee attitude surveys is the perception among
staff that nothing happens as a result of their input. This
can lead to cynicism and reduced participation in future surveys.
depending on the goals of an attitude survey, the appropriate
group (management team, board, etc.) should review the survey
results, categorize and prioritize areas for follow-up, and
develop or approve action plans for follow-up. When the survey
is being conducted at the directive of or for the board, directors
will want to ensure that management's goals for the future
entail both the appropriate areas identified from the survey
and followup communication with employees. Finally, another
survey can be conducted 12 to 24 months later that will provide
even more valuable findings in comparison to the first.
attitude survey results reflect the unique nature of each
organization -- each company's particular strengths and weaknesses.
As such, attitude surveys are an invaluable tool to boards
and management alike in assessing the health and status of
the human resource climate. When conducted in preparation
for a management evaluation, such a survey will ensure that
all employees provide valuable input on the way the workplace
is being managed. When conducted as a part of the planning
process, it will help identify areas where management attention
is needed for the future.
attitude surveys are excellent diagnostic tools by which boards
and management can learn about important job-related perceptions
of employees -- perceptions that can significantly affect
both individual and organizational effectiveness. By conducting
an employee attitude survey, the board communicates that its
ongoing concern for management of the co-op's resources covers
both human and financial resources. A survey by a third party
can objectively help a co-op focus on problems and solutions
and build a stronger, more effective organization.
is an Australian-built online survey tool that is currently
used by over 200 Australian and New Zealand based organisations
of all sizes to conduct online employee surveys. The tool
can be used by HR to conduct cost effective employee climate
surveys, training needs analysis surveys, exit surveys, and
'new starter' feedback surveys ... to name a few popular uses.
complete the form below to arrange your FREE custom-branded
employee survey software demonstration and a PeoplePulse
pricing and information sheet.
completing the form below, a PeoplePulse representative
will contact you to discuss your needs and current situation.
From there we will set up your demo and arrange a suitable
time to show the system to you:
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above demonstration request form was powered by PeoplePulse.
written By Carolee Colter and Karen Zimbelman