Biz Tips: Learn From the Fortune 100’s Best Practices For Employee Surveys

Biz Tips: Learn From the Fortune 100’s Best Practices For Employee Surveys

Biz Tip:

Learn From the Fortune 100’s Best Practices For Employee Surveys

Learn From The Fortune 100’s Best Practices For Employee Surveys

Perceptyx currently partners with over 30% of the Fortune 100; in my role as Director of Research & Insights for Perceptyx, I’ve personally worked with over a dozen of these companies over the years to improve their employee survey programs. While some of the practices they’ve adopted are necessities for global companies with tens to hundreds of thousands of employees, the most important ones, listed below, are adaptable to organizations of all sizes.

The 8 Most Important Employee Survey Strategies Used By The Fortune 100

While most of the Fortune 100 companies are larger and more complex than other organizations, their employee survey programs are stronger and more useful as a result of implementing the following practices:

  1. They align their surveys to business needs, strategy, and culture to ensure they are relevant and effective. These companies don’t settle for off-the-shelf solutions.
  2. They pay close attention to survey design. They understand that the questions they ask—and how they ask them—have a big impact on the quality of feedback they get from their employees.
  3. They have a central survey team. They consolidate survey teams responsible for onboarding surveys, employee experience surveys, strategic pulses, and exit surveys. One aligned team with access to all the data is more agile in providing valuable insights to the business than numerous teams; this strategy also avoids trapping information in different silos.
  4. They move beyond reporting and engage in insightful analytics. The companies that get the most from surveys—especially the larger, more complex businesses—conduct cross-survey analyses to understand trends, group differences, and connections between the quantitative and qualitative survey data. These comparisons of responses to questions on two or more surveys can also offer predictive capabilities for organizational and people challenges such as voluntary attrition, low performance, or low engagement.
  5. They use flexible action planning models, and focus on the one or two most important things. They prefer to make meaningful progress by focusing on one or two things versus trying to “boil the ocean” and action plan on many issues. They know that if they are too broad, nothing will change—but if they work to eliminate frustration or waste in one or two areas, employees will experience the change, come to anticipate more improvements, and the changes will yield secondary benefits across the organization.
  6. They make the link between survey feedback and resulting actions explicit to employees. Communication is critical. It can come in many forms, but it helps employees connect the dots between their feedback and the organization taking action. One client made stickers with the survey’s brand/logo and put them on new equipment and tools that were acquired as a result of survey feedback. This type of communication helps remind employees that the organization is listening to their feedback and taking action to address employee concerns.
  7. They intentionally work to understand the employee experience and life cycle. More and more we see Fortune 100 clients supplementing their annual census surveys with strategic measures focused on issues like the integration experience following mergers and acquisitions, onboarding for new hires, exit surveys for attrition, and pulses for business units preparing for or going through change. They are intentional about measuring and communicating through the moments that matter. They know that they are not just collecting data, they are also sending an important message and facilitating ongoing conversations.
  8. They use engagement data to reduce turnover by identifying attrition risks, predicting voluntary attrition, and using post hoc analysis of attrition data to formulate retention strategies.

These are the core strategies the Fortune 100 have incorporated into their survey programs—and they are adaptable to organizations of all types and sizes.

Additional Fortune 100 Employee Survey Strategies

Fortune 100 companies also employ a number of survey strategies that are good practice for organizations of their size, but may not be applicable to smaller or less complex organizations. These include:

  • Asking a consistent core of questions with branched or special topic questions, to allow different operating companies or units to collect feedback relevant to their divisions.
  • Phrasing of survey questions to accurately reflect employee identity. In organizations with multiple operating companies or business units, employees tend to identify more with their division rather than the parent company. The text of questions should reflect the employees’ connection to their brand, unit, or company.
  • Using automated analysis and reporting to provide specific insights for the organization and its subunits.
  • Using surveys as strategic communication tools to reinforce what leaders want employees to internalize about the organization. In many Fortune 100 companies, the survey is branded and has its own identity within the business.
  • Using attributed demographic data from human resource information systems to ensure data confidence while minimizing response times and rater fatigue.
  • Communicating inclusivity by translating the survey into multiple languages, and using in-country reviewers to ensure clarity of translations. The Fortune 100 also consistently provide accessibility features in their data collection for employees with visual or other limitations.
  • Using permission-based access to survey data. Fortune 100 companies are complex organizations; data permissions based on organizational structure and/or hierarchy are critical. To promote employee confidence in the security of the data, leaders and managers have access to only the data they need.

Several of these features—such as automated analysis and reporting, use of attributed demographic data, and using surveys for strategic communication—can be useful for smaller companies—but they are critically important for managing effective survey programs in large, complex organizations.

While your company may lack the size or geographic reach of the top-ranking global companies, it can benefit by following the same core strategies they use for their employee surveys, and adopting some of their additional strategies where appropriate. When it comes to designing an effective employee survey program, the most important takeaway from the biggest brands is this: one size does not fit all. Your survey program should reflect your company—its strategic goals, culture, and challenges—and focus on delivering insights relevant to your unique circumstances.

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