The Top 11 Myths About Employee Surveys

Think you know everything about Employee Surveys? Think again.


1.We already know what our employees will say

You may feel strongly that you already have your finger on the pulse of your staff, so there is no point in surveying them. Well, we don’t mean to startle you, but your perception may not be r. Employees can feel too afraid to be candid with their managers. Or they may think you don’t really care what they have to say. A good way to get to the heart of engagement is by conducting an anonymous employee survey based on a proven process.

2. Only cranky employees will respond

If you think the goal of surveys is to give disgruntled employees a chance to vent about everything from their managers to the quality of toilet paper in the washrooms, think again. Most employees want to help make things better (a better workplace is a direct benefit to them, both professionally and personally) and want to share their opinions and provide useful insights that you can use. A survey is the perfect opportunity to collect that feedback.

3. Employees just want more money

Contrary to popular belief, money does not make the world go ‘round. While salary matters, it’s certainly not the most important factor that drives engagement. What about job satisfaction? Being creative and innovative? Making a difference? Interacting with smart people? Learning from mentors? Being part of new and exciting projects?

4. Executive team doesn’t believe in surveys

You may be concerned that getting management to buy into a survey project will be impossible. But senior leaders believe in getting staff members to perform their best, and they will be interested in tools that can help them figure out how to do that and how to make the workplace, and bottom line, better.

5. The timing is not good

Your organization is likely a busy place, and some days you may even find taking a few minutes for lunch is difficult. Senior leaders have many priorities and now does not seem like the right time to add one more to their plates. But we ask you, when isn’t it a good time to improve?? Does a bad time exist for getting employees excited and involved in their work and, as a result, making the organization perform better and be more competitive? Competing priorities will always exist, and no time is ever perfect. By deciding to commit to a survey, your organization is committing to improvement, and there’s always time for that.

6. We can do the survey ourselves

Before taking the DIY approach to your employee survey, consider the survey initiative seriously: it involves far more than writing up a few questions and passing around paper copies so staff can tick off the little boxes. We’re not saying that you can’t do a survey without the support of a survey partner. But we are saying that tapping into the expertise of a company such as TalentMap will save your organization time and money and ensure you get the most out of the entire survey process – from concept to analysis to follow-through.

7. Professional surveys are too expensive

Particularly in today’s economy, organizations need to be budget conscious and spend all funds wisely. But if your organization does choose to conduct an employee survey, it will spend more in time, money, and resources reinventing the wheel. We really understand employee opinion research – it’s our passion. You actually save money by partnering with a company like TalentMap that already has proven, valid, and reliable questionnaires and systematic processes for surveying, so you get it right the first time.

8. Surveys raise employee expectations

Are you concerned that conducting an employee survey will send the signal to staff that every single issue will be resolved? There is no basis for that fear if you ensure that you are clear to employees from the beginning. Communicate to them that they are providing valuable input into executive decision making and that the improvements and action plans the organization acts on will be based on available resources, complexity of implementation, and how improvements align with other organizational initiatives. Explain to employees that they can expect to see some action as a result of the employee survey, but that the executive team’s role is to identify priorities for specifics and the timing of the actions. Our process includes providing advice and assistance with these communication requirements.

9. Engagement surveys don’t drive business outcomes

Engagement surveys may not drive business outcomes directly, but engagement definitely does – and surveying is crucial if you want to make cost-effective improvement of your engagement levels. Many studies by academics, consultancies, and organizations confirm the impact of high levels of engagement on the organization’s business outcomes. This research goes across a wide range of industries and suggests there really are strong links between employee engagement and positive business outcomes and performance. In particular, a number of studies of both private and public sector organizations show that organizations with higher levels of employee engagement perform better financially and that high levels of engagement are associated with better outcomes.

10. Acting on survey findings just costs time and money

While making certain changes at your organization can cost money, investing in employee engagement is a smart and strategic choice. Just remember that acting on the findings does not mean giving everyone a 25 percent raise. The real value of a survey is that it will likely tell you that some changes are relatively easy, simple, and quick to make, and they will go a long way to engaging your workforce.

11. Online surveys are not anonymous

Confidentiality and anonymity are essential to the survey process if you want employees to be completely honest. We know that by assuring respondents that managers or other staff can’t access their answers, they’ll provide the true, solid feedback you need. TalentMap collects all the survey information outside of your organization through a secure Internet connection.  And we promise that at no time will individual responses be divulged to anyone at the organization.

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