Traditional employee surveys tend to focus on the wrong things—such as satisfaction, quality of work life, and other employee-centric elements—or they fail to explicitly link what is assessed in the survey to business needs, says Dr Neal Knight-Turvey in the latest Employment Today.
Knight-Turvey, research director of workplace survey specialists JRA and managing director of JRA Australia, says he never ceases to be amazed by the number of blank stares he gets when he asks: “What elements of your business strategy do we need to include in your staff survey?”
For almost a century now, organisations have carried out surveys that only assess one side of the employer-employee exchange, he says. “They reveal what the employee gets from the employment relationship, but they fail to inform the employer what they get in return.”
This is neither strategic nor likely to improve organisational functioning. Rather, says Knight-Turvey, an employee survey should measure the things that actually make a difference to organisational performance, such as how well employees understand and believe in the organisation’s vision and purpose.
“A key component of any survey should be measures of employee perceptions of important workplace attributes such as communication, teamwork, supervision, job conditions, and performance management,” he says.
“By measuring these features (known as organisation climate) the organisation has at its fingertips a barometer of what seems to be working well and what needs attention within an organisation in terms of its operating functions.”
To find out more about the role that measuring employee attitude and opinion can play in driving your organisation’s success, and how to go about it, click to read a PDF of the entire Employment Today Survey article.