Successfully Launching an Employee Survey (A Project Manager Perspective)
Perceptyx has successfully launched surveys for many of the world’s largest companies, across every major industry, and on almost every continent (if you’re in Antarctica, let’s talk!). Since our founding in 2003, our team of survey professionals have found that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for Engagement, Onboarding, Exit, Candidate, Pulse, or other employee surveys—the best organizations tailor their program to their unique business challenges and culture. Although Perceptyx works with every client to make sure their survey program is matched to their needs, we also encourage our clients to keep these standard best practices for building successful programs in mind:
Get Early Buy-in From the Top
We all know how hard it can be in our everyday work to get a project moving without initial support from our leader. Employee listening programs are no different: getting buy-in from the top has to be the first step for any successful employee survey. More than just being aware of a survey program, leaders and managers need to understand and support the goals and objectives of the survey program. Leaders must commit to sharing results and taking action on survey feedback. This is critical to building trust within the organization, as well as encouraging participation, and establishing a credible survey program. The most effective survey programs have the direct support of the CEO, which helps to make follow-up action a priority for all senior leaders.
Don’t Have Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
There are two key areas when considering the decision-making process: survey design and selecting the core survey team. First, in terms of survey design, clearly define the purpose and scope of the survey. Focus on gaining input and consensus from stakeholders who will be the primary users of the data. The more opportunities given to leaders to create their own questions, the more separation we see when it comes to reporting and goals. Second, focus on selecting members of the core survey team who are trusted to make decisions on behalf of the company. The core team will compile suggestions and content into a draft survey to present to the appropriate stakeholders for the final approval.
Communicate, Communicate, and then Communicate
Having a comprehensive internal communications plan is a key element of a successful survey project. Pre-survey communication helps people understand why you are conducting a survey, when it will take place, who will be asked to participate, and what will be done with the results. Communication during survey administration reminds employees about the importance of responding. These steps will help your company achieve a high response rate. After the survey, it’s important to share survey results and next steps. This is essential for training and goal setting. Having the internal resources required to execute the communication plan in its entirety is key. For example, if all internal communications need to go through the Communications/Marketing department, find out who you need to work with and stay in contact with that person throughout the survey process.
Keep it Simple
It’s easy to get caught up in the look and feel of a survey, whether this involves different colors, multiple pictures, lots of questions, or lengthy definitions. But remember: if the survey isn’t quick and easy, most employees will not complete it. Would you want to scroll through 100 survey questions on your mobile device or wait for a large image to load on your screen before you can answer the survey questions? Probably not.
Don’t Drag Your Feet
Businesses must be able to adapt quickly in today’s fast-paced environment. As a result, long implementations are becoming less common. Project timelines can be shortened by creating smaller teams, focusing on faster approvals, and providing effective communication. Implementations that used to take 3-6 months can be shortened to 2-3 months by making slight modifications that benefit everyone involved.
Hold Leaders Accountable for Action Planning
The only way to get actual results is to take action on survey feedback. Our most successful clients not only ask managers to take action, but they expect it and even require it. The evidence is in the data! Managers with action plans consistently have higher engagement scores within their teams compared to managers who did not action plan. Perceptyx research also shows that 74% of organizations that implemented continuous listening and also tracked action plans over the course of three years improved, compared to only 8% of organizations that continuously surveyed but did not take consistent action. If employees are continually asked for their feedback but never see a change, the employees will be much less likely to participate in future survey programs.