Conducting employee surveys is one thing. Doing something with the results is what really counts. Don´t assume, for instance, that just because a company invests in a dialogue with its people means it will examine what´s being said. That´s the hard part. For the survey to have meaning you need to abandon the idea that asking for feedback once in a blue moon is sufficient. People change, projects morph into bigger projects (we hope), trends come and go and for those reasons and more we shouldn´t rely on the results of a snapshot.
So what´s so important about employee feedback anyway? Well, for one, when you ask people for their opinions they (for the most part) feel valuable. And I´ve said this before and I´ll say it again (I sound like Popeye): when people feel valued they tend to deliver their company message more effectively, which often results in a bigger and better bottom line. So it has something to do with money. Too many people have labeled this area of business as soft, but as soon as you associate this "touch-feely" (not) exercise with a company´s bottom line people look up from their desks and are more prone to listen. There are really two things going on here. First, as I said (have I mentioned the importance of making employees feel valued?) by conducting a survey you´re signaling to your employees that their thoughts count and who better to offer insights into the company than the people who make it run from day to day? Second, you´re giving yourself a golden opportunity to address areas that, if modified, could improve the bottom line. What´s not to like about this?
Yes, it´s time-consuming to turn employee survey results into new strategies and ways of doing business, but many big changes like the way a product is reviewed, for example, before its launch date can mean bigger bucks. Think of a movie screening. If the producers show a movie and it bombs in the screening process, presumably they go back to the director (attention film aficionados: I am totally guessing at this, so please be kind as you craft your email about my lack of knowledge of the film biz-just trying to make a little point here . . . ) and say, "We got a problem with the last scene . . . " and some changes are made. Folks, it´s about the money.
Whether it´s a high turnover you´re trying to reverse or internal communication you´re attempting to improve gauging employees´ opinions about such matters can be the first step toward making tangible, affect-the-bottom-line changes.