Include in your survey questions that require limited tick-the-box responses, such as Yes/No and Strongly Agree/Agree/Disagree/Strongly Disagree. Including these questions will allow you to perform quantitative analyses that you can use to compare results between different demographics and to use as a benchmark for future surveys.
However, just as importantly, allow provision for free form comments. Everything that people will want to say will not fit into your pre-packaged boxes. A good idea is to run Focus Groups with a random sample of respondents after the survey forms have been collected and analyzed. These discussion groups are invaluable in performing a sanity check on your results so far and in teasing out issues that have surfaced in the written survey.
Guarantee absolute anonymity for the people completing the survey and make this clear in the survey instructions. Some employees will either not complete the survey or give sanitized answers if they believe that their identity will be disclosed with their answers and comments.
Should you survey the whole organization/department or a select group? Preferably, survey all employees as this gives everyone a sense of being listened to. If the organization/department is excessively large or budget is tight, draw a random sample from each of the demographic groups that you will be reporting on.
If your selection is not random, the communication survey results will not be representative and you will lose credibility with your client managers and employees. If a demographic group comprises 50 people or less, you will need to survey 100 percent of the people within that group.
Mode of delivery
If the people completing the survey are small in number and at the one location, then hardcopy distribution will not be a problem. As the number of respondents increase and the locations become more dispersed, more consideration will need to be given to electronic distribution. Think about putting the survey on a local intranet or internet web server.
To make filling out the employee survey form easy for people, have it so that the form can be completed online. If this is not possible, either send the form by email or put it on an accessible server from which people can download it. If your survey respondents are not comfortable with technology, then be wary of online options and provide plenty of employee support if you decide to go down that road.
Inducements and Reminders
Survey participation rates are typically ten percent or less. You can dramatically improve on this completion rate by conducting some simple follow up. As you get closer to the communication survey cut-off date (of course, you will have publicized that date with your survey), send out an email reminder or have someone call the respondents personally. Advertising a prize to go to the first to complete the surveys will also increase the participation rate.
Once the employee feedback results are in and analyzed, distribute your findings first to your client managers and then to employees. Withholding results from employees will only breed cynicism and distrust and make your next survey all that more difficult to get a satisfactory response rate.
Break down your results into meaningful groups, such as by department or by region. The reporting groupings need to be small enough that people can identify with the group enough for a meaningful action plan to be developed.
Be prepared for some kickback from defensive managers. Frank employee feedback is both confronting and jarring, especially for those managers not used to it. Use your best facilitation skills to deliver the key messages, or use a professional facilitator to perform this sensitive task.
Follow up and Rewards
A survey conducted with no plan for action is not only a waste of resources but will leave employees asking why they bothered to give feedback to managers on how they felt. Work with each manager to construct an action plan that they agree with. Remember, it is the manager that will be implementing the communication plan, not you. Get back with each manager three or six months later to review how they are progressing with their communication plan and report the results to the organization. As you see communication practices improve across the organization, make sure that managers get rewarded.
I have more information on my workplace communication web page at http://www.businessperform.com/html/...on_survey.html
I hope this helps.
Business Performance P/L - HR and Training Tools
14th May 2008 From Australia, Glen Waverley