Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Boosting Employee Morale With Employee Surveys

Do you know exactly how your employees feel when Monday morning approaches?
Are they eager to get back to a satisfying workplace and to perform important tasks?
Or, do they sit home Sunday night dreading another week of unimportant work performed for an ogre of a boss?
The truth is probably somewhere in between; but without actual knowledge of the facts, it’s hard to improve anything.
The ideal workplace provides employees with empowerment and direction when needed, but shies away from unnecessary micro-management. Employees feel they are contributing to meaningful goals in a significant way.
The ideal workplace offers compensation and benefits that meet the needs of employees and cause them to remain loyal to an organization for the long term.
If you don't know where your employees’ morale level stands, you can't make life better or productivity higher. Better morale means greater productivity which translates into an improved bottom line.
Unhappy employees miss more work and produce inferior work.
By measuring your employee morale level through an Employee Satisfaction Survey, you can learn how your employees feel – provided your employees believe that their honest input will result in appropriate change where needed.
The danger of conducting Employee Satisfaction Surveys, of course, is that if you do not allow change where change is needed, you may well cause employee morale to drop even lower.
Suppose, for instance, that one result of a survey is that your employees feel your management style inhibits effective production of quality work. Would you be willing to alter your management style and more proactively empower employees?
If you’re not willing to change, you will likely be wasting time and money by performing surveys.
If you’re willing to keep an open mind, surveys can lead your organization to greater heights and result in decisive morale increases.
Some questions that can reveal a great deal about employee satisfaction include:
(1) Do you feel that management listens to your ideas on how to best accomplish tasks?
(2) Is there a recognizable tie between how well you perform your job and your monetary compensation?
(3) Do you often feel you could do a better job if management would only get out of the way?
(4) Do you feel, once assigned a task, that you are empowered to perform that task?
(5) Do you feel that innovative thinking or "outside the box" thinking is encouraged and rewarded?
(6) Are there enough recognition programs for recognizing outstanding accomplishments on the part of employees?
An effective Employee Satisfaction Survey should not be too lengthy; 20 to 40 questions ought to reveal what you need to know about your employees. Whether you select yes/no questions or choose a 1 to 5 scale (where 5 means complete agreement and 1 means complete disagreement with a survey statement), you should, upon survey completion, compile the results using a database that will let you to analyze the results and convert them into bar charts or other graphics which make them easier to understand.
Once you’ve analyzed the survey results, feedback to the employees is crucial. Otherwise, they will likely conclude that what they have to say doesn't matter, resulting in an additional hit to morale.
Hopefully, some of your survey results will indicate areas of high employee morale. Those areas are not likely to need significant attention.
The areas where employee morale gets low scores offer the greatest potential for improvement. Develop an action plan and implement that plan with full knowledge of employees.
Better yet, involve employees directly. Employee involvement in the development of the action plan and its implementation can lead to positive outcomes and creative solutions to identified challenges.
Most importantly, be aware that you can only fix what you know is broken. Once you’ve identified areas of low employee morale, you can zero in on those weak spots and achieve measurable increases in employee morale, productivity, attendance and loyalty on the part of your employees.