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Why Conduct Employee Surveys?

From postcards on the table at your favorite restaurant to surveys tucked in with your prescriptions after a brief hospital stay, surveys represent the most effective way to secure an honest answer to: How did we do? Surveys also provide a method of gauging employee engagement at the office.

Spending 40 hours or more every week with the same people, there’s no question what type of outlook you want employees to have. A positive employee with a can-do attitude takes the prize every time, and not just because of how pleasant it makes things in the workplace. Happy employees create a more efficient office, primarily by sticking around.

Toby Velte, former CEO of FireSummit, Inc., knew the way to his employees’ hearts, and it wasn’t increased pay. He recognized that his employees were after more than just compensation; they wanted to be happy while they were at the office. He obliged by supplying a game room, free soda, and network video game sessions.

“We paid 15 percent less than other companies,” said Velte. “but never had one person quit.” Knowing what his employees wanted gave Velte a leg up in limiting turnover, one of the worst sieves of company profits. With estimates of turnover costs at 150% of the employees’ yearly salary (more for newer employees or management), it makes sense to make an effort to find out what makes your company culture tick, and how to open the lines of communication with employees. In the end, it means keeping the customers happy, which starts with employees excited to be at the office.

Clients, after all, have an uncanny ability to know the general manner of everyone they come in contact with. Be it the smile in the employees’ voice, the relaxed way in which the employee deals with the customer, or just a bit of a sixth sense, that attitude flows through and affects the overall relationship. Surveys have shown that customers who feel a kinship with the company will remain loyal customers, and it follows that maintaining that connection stems from creating a positive work environment.

Surveying employees about their impressions of their employer is the best indicator of the overall culture in a company. This culture will permeate every aspect of the organization affecting co-workers and clients alike. But just surveying a company’s employees isn’t enough.

Velte made sure that he knew where he stood compared to his competitors as well as what his employees expected in the workplace. Competition is fierce in today’s market, and companies who pay attention have an edge over those working in a void. With headhunters cold calling lists of employees in every industry these days, knowing what’s offered by the competition can go a long way toward heading off expensive employee turnover.

The cost of employee dissatisfaction can be huge, and many companies try to prevent the loss of employees by throwing money at them. While it may work for a little while, the undermining factors will go unnoticed, resulting in throwing more money at the problem. With employee surveys, however, it can be easier to see where the money should be going, and often companies find that their costs go down significantly.

Employee surveys are one of the necessary steps in identifying problems and opportunities for improvement. Then, using the survey results and a reliable benchmarking database, a company can determine what the trends are for their industry, and where they stand compared to their competitors.

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