Happy employees are engaged employees. It’s the HR holy grail. So gaining a measure of employee happiness in your business makes good sense. But all employee happiness surveys are not created equal. An employee happiness survey is only as good as the questions you ask and how you follow through on the responses.

2016-10 - Make sure your employee happiness survey ticks all the right boxes

Happy to go the extra mile

Engaged employees really care about your company and what they’re working on. They don’t have to be pushed, and they happily go the extra mile. They believe in you and your company vision.

Employees tend to be happier if they are in jobs or roles that match both their interests and their skills, and feel that they are making a meaningful contribution to their employer and even society as a whole. Importantly, engaged employees are appropriately recognised and rewarded for the contribution they make.

Bottom line benefit

As a business owner or manager, you can see the benefit of happy, engaged employees on your bottom line. According to Gallup, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share. Engagement also influences other HR areas such as retention, performance, and employer branding.

Yet despite the huge impetus to get employee engagement right, Gallup research also shows as many as 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged.

Follow through really matters

While the employee happiness survey is a critical component in benchmarking the level of employee satisfaction from year to year. It, in itself, is not the end game.

An employee survey has no hope in influencing employee engagement if you do not act on the results.

Here are our five tips to help make your employee happiness surveys really count.

1. Don’t ask too many questions. Ask the right ones.

As a rule, a short survey, is a good survey. How many questions you ask, depends on your company and what you do. But you should focus questions around key areas such as:

  • Management and leadership
  • Manager-employee-co-worker interaction
  • Alignment of individual goals with business goals
  • Recognition

You need to ask enough questions to get a good handle on employee sentiment and morale, but you don’t want to the survey to be too onerous for employees to complete.

2. Ask a number of open-ended questions

It’s important to encourage your employees to express their true feelings and opinions without repercussions. So, anonymity is crucial. Asking open-ended questions in your employee happiness survey allows you to draw out golden nuggets of information that you just can’t elicit with a standard ratings question.

3. Communicate the value for employees

Your employees may think that completing the survey is a chore, and a bit of a time waste of time, if they see no perceived value. For your employees to see value, they need to believe that you’ll action the responses and bring about positive change where necessary.

4. Report the survey results and your plan of action

Announce the results of your employee happiness survey to your employee and be sure to let them know how you plan to respond to that feedback and what changes are going to be made. More importantly still, make sure to follow through on it and regularly communicate the progress.

5. Conduct surveys frequently

There is no doctrine that stipulates you can only survey your employees once a year. In fact, you really should measure culture at least once a quarter. As long as you’re only asking a few questions, you publish the results, you act on the feedback, and there’s clear value to your employees, you can conduct surveys more frequently.

Act on your employee survey responses

Far too many businesses simply focus on measuring engagement without acting on the responses. Remember, the worst thing you can do with your employee happiness survey is to ask for feedback and then do absolutely nothing with it.

Ben Thompson Employment Hero

Employment Hero is a partnership with leading employment lawyers, payroll legends and HR specialists.