Newsletter: August 5, 2022


Why run an employee survey? Is it just to find the problems? It is important for managers and leaders to find and recognize great performance.

Listening is one of the most powerful tools we have for building meaningful and lasting connections with others. 

Interestingly, we assume that we measure the employee experience to fix all the problems, but a key part of the process is to understand what is going well and to reward and recognize those that are engaged and contributing.  

Find your strengths, and then build upon those. Nourish the good ones.  

Voice of the employee data is a vital way we can avoid cookie-cutter solutions and responses.

Brilliant in the Basics: The Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

A few years ago, the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) was a topic of considerable attention. Conferences, speakers, panelists, and thought leaders were touting the importance of understanding and building the right EVP for your organization. Since then, the discussion has waned a bit, but the need for a well-articulated EVP remains. Your Employee Value Proposition is vital to your organization’s larger brand. 

Today’s brilliant in the basics will focus on core concepts that should be evaluated when building and designing an Employee Value Proposition. In sum, your EVP is the key messaging you use to help attract and retain the best employees. Underlying this key branding are the following components: 

  • Your organization’s mission, purpose, and values 
  • Pay and benefits 
  • Location and its associated pluses or minuses (e.g., access to surfing beaches or crowded freeways) 
  • Organizational culture 
  • Working arrangements such as flexibility, scheduling, and working styles 
  • Technology and hardware that may be important to employees 
  • Growth and development pathways 
  • Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance positions (ESG) 
  • Social missions and other cause-based initiatives 
  • Perks 
  • Physical environments such as office space, breakrooms, cafeterias, etc. 

Your EVP needs to be a strategic part of your larger branding strategy. It should represent everything of value you offer to attract and retain the best talent possible.  

When was the last time you thought about your EVP? Have things changed since COVID and the proliferation of work from home? What should you tweak to improve your EVP?  

Pro Tip: Contemplate running an Employee Value Proposition survey to help you better understand your current EVP and the extent to which you are addressing the concepts listed above.

This newsletter started with this question: Do employee surveys even work? The answer, of course, is it depends. It depends on what you ask, how often you seek employee feedback, and certainly whether you will do anything to address concerns that surface because of the survey.  

To save time, we can do a TLDR right now. If you do not plan to take action after the survey or are worried that senior leadership will be reluctant to take the process seriously, don’t run a survey! Here is a fundamental law of the universe: It’s better to never ask than to ask and then ignore. 

If you have never conducted an employee survey, you can harvest so much goodwill by simply taking the time to ask your employees what they believe, think, and feel about working at your organization. Simply administering a survey, however, won’t cut it.  

Here is a checklist of important variables to be considered.  

Variable Category #1: Logistics 

  • Who will take the survey? 
  • How will they take it (paper, email link, kiosk, etc.)? 
  • How will it work for my deskless workers? Do my employees even have a company email? 
  • How long will the survey process take? 
  • When is the right time to administer the survey (during a busy time, at year-end, or right after raises are announced)? 
  • How long should it take to complete the survey?  
  • How much burden should this process place on my organization?  
  • Will there be a need to conduct a follow-up pulse survey?  

Variable Category #2: Process 

  • What type of a system should I use (SurveyMonkey, Google forms, a specialist provider)? 
  • Should I ask participants to report their own demographics, or can I get that information from our HRIS? Hint: Self-reported demographics are much less reliable.  
  • What about privacy and security? 
  • What about GDPR for EU operations and state information privacy laws in the United States?  
  • What other data issues are there? Do you need a lot of help from your information technology/security teams?  
  • What is the right cadence for running surveys? 
  • How do I create buy-in and maximize participation?  

Variable Category #3: Survey Design and Science 

  • What is the right length of the survey and how many questions should it have?  
  • What type of questions should I use (ranking questions, single answer, open text)?  
  • Will my questions be statistically valid and reliable? 
  • Should I ask about compensation? Hint: No matter what your compensation package looks like, the answer will always be – not enough.  
  • What about other topics, such as safety, DEI, red flag issues? 
  • Should I use indexes, themes, or other ways to group my data? 

Variable Category #4: Analyzing and Using the Results 

  • Who will see the results? 
  • How will we share our findings with our employees?  
  • How will the findings be organized (by org chart, by reporting structures, by department)? 
  • What demographics should be considered? Do we care about differences between employee sentiment that differs by age, tenure, location, gender, etc.?  
  • Will leaders be accountable for what the survey uncovers? 
  • What buy-in do I need from senior leaders? 
  • How will I distribute results (slide decks, dashboards, presentations)? 
  • How will we take action based on the results? 
  • How fast can we take action in my organization? 
  • Who handles administering the survey? What resources will this person/team be given? 
  • Who will communicate what will happen, what are the next steps, and what did the organization do because of the survey?  
  • Who is the “face” of the survey? 

Of course, there are many more variables than just these, and I do not share these to overwhelm or intimidate. There is, however, a correlation that matters. The extent to which you consider and manage most of these variables, the likelihood of success increases significantly.  

In summary, don’t be overwhelmed! The goal is to start small and make the process work. This is a long-term strategy, and your aim is to build a virtuous feedback cycle that will help your leaders regularly listen, understand, and then act. As you conduct more employee listening campaigns, your ability to manage the complexity will increase, and the resulting benefits will be significant.  

If HR wants a seat at the table, supplying important employee experience data to operational leaders is a great way to earn one.  

What’s Happening at DecisionWise


Understanding employee engagement is critical to any organization, and listening to your employees is key to this understanding. However, knowing what you need to ask them can be a challenge.



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