What are the biggest mistakes to avoid when conducting an employee survey?

One of the most prevalent mistakes people make when designing an employee survey is creating questions that skew the results. Using absolute words such as “always” or “never” will skew responses to the negative. Also, including multiple concepts in a single question, called a double-barrel, is a frequent issue for inexperienced survey designers. Double-barrel questions produce useless data.

Without an in-depth knowledge of survey techniques, people don’t know when a sample size is large enough to statistically represent the entire population or sub-sets of the population that may be of interest. They may base their conclusions on an inadequate sample, resulting in faulty results.

With an improperly designed employee survey, the results are not actionable or they may cause the survey team to take the wrong actions. This can cause deterioration in employee morale, satisfaction, and engagement and potentially worsen any underlying issues.

The biggest mistake people make with employee surveys is to try to do it on their own. Without the experience to design a survey properly, the survey may be valueless and possibly even causes more harm than good. An employee survey also benefits from industrial benchmarking, the interpretation of an experienced team of psychologists and statisticians who help improve understanding of the results, and professional assistance with action planning to help improve organizational performance.