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careersOver the years, employee surveys have gained a solid reputation for helping Line Managers make better decisions regarding their employees, thus improving business results. After all, we listen attentively to what our customers are saying, and keep a close eye on competitor activity. So then, it is only natural for us to listen to the all-important voice of our employees.

When they started out, employee surveys were paper-based and were tedious to complete and compile. The frequency of administering this activity was every two years at best. With the advent of online surveys, the process is much quicker, allowing for it to become an annual activity.

If you are a Line Manager looking to implement employee surveys, factor in the following:

Ownership must be with the Line. While it is easy to ‘outsource’ the activity to HR, this will not give you optimum results. Each Line Manager and their staff should be involved in designing and implementing surveys, analysing feedback and devising solutions based on the results.Create excitement. Ensure that employees are happy to participate in the exercise as opposed to viewing it as ‘just another management exercise’ that wastes their time. You will not be able to create excitement or establish credibility of the surveys in your organisation unless employees see their feedback translating into policy changes.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Before, during and after – it is crucial to keep employees informed about when the survey will be scheduled, detailing its administration, and most importantly, assuring them that their confidentiality will be maintained; this will encourage employees to be honest and forthcoming.

Interpret results. For effective interpretation, organise and colour-code answers into three categories: positive, negative and neutral. Although addressing the ‘negatives’ should take priority, do not ignore ‘neutral’ responses as they are often the precursors to serious underlying problems that need to be addressed.

– Leon Menezes
The writer is a senior HR practitioner, professor-of-practice and an executive coach.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on January 25, 2015.