3 Types of Employee Surveys

ipad-magic-self-assessment Today most organizations focus on measuring employee engagement as part of their annual survey process.  But sometimes the employee survey looks more like a satisfaction or culture audit than a true engagement survey.  Each type of employee survey serves a distinct need in the organization. As each of these may be important to the strategy of the organization, it’s important to use the right type of survey for what you’re trying to measure.  Here is a guide to identify which types of employee surveys are most appropriate for your organization.

1. Employee Satisfaction Survey

(a.k.a. employee survey, employee opinion survey, or employee morale survey)
The purpose of this type of survey is to provide general feedback to management and HR to evaluate items that relate to some, or all, of the following:

  • Satisfaction with Job
  • Perception of HR
  • Perception of Pay/Compensation/Benefits
  • Causes of Turnover or Retention
  • Perception of Policies
  • Perception of Diversity
  • Opportunities for Promotion /Career Advancement
  • Intent to Stay/Leave

Because of the number of topics addressed, surveys like this tend to be longer – often 65-120 questions. The results are analyzed and an interpretive summary is prepared and presented to senior management. Summary results are presented to all employees, but generally little action planning is done by employees based on the results. This survey is best used as a tool to better understand issues that contribute to retention and attracting new talent.
Download: Employee Satisfaction Survey

2. Organization Culture Survey

(a.k.a. culture survey, cultural alignment survey, climate survey)
This type of survey is usually driven by the business need to change or align with a new vision. They are helpful to measure employee perceptions after a merger, change in management, or a change in the structure of the organization. They are useful indicators of how well employees know and are committed to the values of the organization. These surveys usually measure one or more of the following:

  • Vision/Mission
  • Cultural differences between groups (for mergers or acquisitions)
  • Perception of Pay/Compensation/Benefits
  • Perception of Business Results
  • Innovation
  • Teamwork
  • Perceptions of Managers

These surveys vary in length from 20-70 questions depending on how targeted the questions are and how many areas need to be evaluated. The results are analyzed, and an interpretive summary is typically delivered to a broad level of management.  The results may or may not be used for action planning for managers.

3. Employee Engagement Survey

This type of survey measures the components most important to employee performance in the organization. It is best used as a tool to promote organizational change and increased performance. The survey items measure the components of engagement and what makes an employee passionate about their job. These surveys usually measure the following factors of engagement:

  • Resources/Workload perceptions
  • Job-Person Fit/Connection
  • Meaning and Purpose
  • Manager Relationship
  • Impact/Recognition
  • Autonomy/Empowerment/Accountability
  • Cross-Dept. Cooperation
  • Opportunities for Growth

These surveys are usually between 35-50 questions, and work best when they are customized to the organization. Results are rolled out to all managers and action planning sessions are held by all work groups in the organization. The focus of the process is on organizational change and improvement.
We often find that organizations mix the surveys together and lose focus on what is actually being measured.  Try not to clutter your employee engagement survey with a long list of questions about every benefit offered by the company.  It is possible to use questions that measure all three areas, but be sure to break out the results the right way to get a clear picture of satisfaction, culture, and engagement in your organization.
Employee Engagement Survey Sample Download
Related Content: Sample Employee Engagement Survey
Related Webinar: Employee Satisfaction is not Employee Engagement

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