How 2 Companies Use Employee Survey Tools To Support Unique Business Strategies

By Mark Gonzales - August 27, 2019

A fundamental principle we at Perceptyx stress with our clients is that survey strategies are not one-size-fits-all solutions. While there are employee survey companies that promote narrow programs of frequent engagement pulses or other out-of-the-box solutions, it’s important to understand that these programs are a reflection of the capabilities of the provider’s technology, not necessarily the needs of the client.

The challenge isn’t that these solutions can’t provide some good insights—it’s that they are limited in the number and quality of insights they can produce, and perhaps even more importantly, the relevance of those insights to a business. To use an analogy, while it is possible to drive in a nail using the handle of a screwdriver, a hammer is better suited to the purpose and will produce a better result. The screwdriver is a good tool for the function it is designed to perform, but it’s not the best tool for every job. By the same token, different employee survey tools and listening strategies are better suited to some situations than others.

To illustrate, in this article we’ll examine the employee survey tools that two iconic companies—Gap and FedEx—use to address the unique needs of their businesses. While each has access to the same set of tools, the employee survey programs the companies have developed—and their use of the tools available—vary according to each company’s business strategy and organizational needs.

Wondering how to design an employee survey strategy? Our free guide, Continuous Listening: Developing The Right Strategy For Your Organization, will get you started.

What The Companies’ Employee Survey Programs Have In Common

Gap and FedEx are both major players in their respective industries, but beyond that, they have little in common. What the retailer and shipper do share are employee survey strategies aligned to their businesses. (Tweet this!)

Each of the companies developed their employee survey program by first taking inventory of the following:

  • Company culture
  • Business strategy
  • Business goals
  • Pain or friction points

Filling in the details on these dimensions allowed each company to define the current state of their organization. Knowing the current state and defining the desired future state enabled them to formulate strategies to get from one point to the other.

How The Companies’ Employee Survey Programs Differ

Both companies used the same overarching strategy of aligning their employee survey programs to their business needs—but because each operates in a different sphere of business with different challenges, their priorities and program designs are very different.

Gap, Inc.

Gap, Inc. along with its various brands - Gap, Athleta, Banana Republic and others - has a keen interest in understanding the employee experience and how that experience influences individual performance and business results. Recently announced organizational changes offer further opportunities to assess perceptions of team members and how that may influence individual performance.

Gap was interested in understanding the employee experience—from both the standpoint of being an employee of one of the subsidiaries, and an employee of Gap, Inc. Gap was interested in not only the experience across the brands, but also in opportunities for sharing positives from different brands across the entire organization. The company needed a highly configurable survey platform to manage this dual purpose.

For this reason, the survey framework considered a range of demographics across Gap’s organizational structure. The employee survey was administered with each of the subsidiary companies, including specific questions related to key initiatives within specific brands or functions. Among these initiatives were improving culture and leadership. Another survey gathered feedback on individual managers and the experience of their team members. These responses were analyzed to gain insights on productivity, performance, and ability to meet business goals.

Gap’s employee opinion survey (EOS) was administered across the entire organization and all demographics. This census survey was supplemented with onboarding and exit surveys to follow the employee life cycle from interview through exit. Data from these life cycle surveys was linked back to responses on the EOS to look for connections. How did the employee’s early experience relate to their later scores and perceptions? How do exit surveys correlate to responses on the EOS? Are there EOS predictors of attrition or disengagement?

By linking all surveys, Gap was able to integrate the data and get insights they couldn’t get from any one type of standalone survey.


FedEx’s business strategy is to compete collectively and operate independently. The FedEx Corporation has six operating subunits: FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, FedEx Services, FedEx Logistics, and FedEx Office. Unlike Gap, FedEx does not do an overall census survey for all employees of the corporation, because each of its operating companies is very discrete in function, to the extent that they are really more like separate companies.

FedEx companies’ employee survey programs include separate annual census and life cycle surveys for each unit. In addition, each company does surveys relevant to its own business, including special surveys such as one for aviation safety. This strategy lets FedEx address distinct needs within the various operating units, which allows them to get very specific with their questions and the data they collect.

Because FedEx is a fast-paced business, speed is important when it comes to reporting survey results. They literally want their managers to have access to results overnight. The Perceptyx platform allows for fast reporting, so leaders and managers can identify hot spots and opportunities quickly and provide the support needed for fast action.

Need help designing a survey strategy for your organization?

While each of the companies above use similar employee survey tools, their use of the data and its integration looks vastly different. What is most compelling is the fact that these tools can be used differently because of the way Perceptyx configures the technology to meet each company’s unique needs. Though the tools themselves may be the same, each of the individual types of surveys can be adapted to work within each company’s unique strategy.

Just as the Perceptyx platform made it possible for these companies’ strategies to come together in a way that is uniquely meaningful and appropriate, it can do the same for you. Our analytics platform has the capability to support all types of listening strategies—we can help you zero in on the one that’s right for your company. Get in touch and see how a customized survey strategy can help your company attain its business objectives.

Download Now: Continuous Listening: A Guide To Developing The Right Listening Strategy For Your Organization


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