Using employee opinion surveys to guide HR policies

February 8, 2007 at 1:26 pm Leave a comment

In a previous post Glenn wrote that evaluation is frustrating when no changes result.

Quite so. I have seen many an employee survey gather dust or been quietly forgotten.
Why should employees bother? Often the survey will avoid touchy issues- “The elephant in the room”.  There is often a huge delay in making the survey results public. And nothing changes anyway.

Well, here’s a little case history to cast a ray of hope.

A Benchpoint client in the City of London’s financial sector (often characterised by macho management cultures) wanted to run an anonymous poll of employee attitudes on just about everything relating to the job and the relationship with the employer.

The company had very enlightened HR policies by traditional City standards. A “listening culture”, personal development goals, work/life balance, continuous personal feedback etc. But were the policies working? What needed to change?

More than “just a survey”, The Benchpoint poll enabled important decisions to be taken quickly with the benefit of employee input. The company announced operational changes just 5 days after the survey closed, and immediately after a presentation of the results to all employees.

Employee response and feedback was positive; just one employee was unable to take part. For the first time they had an opportunity to voice their true opinions anonymously and confidentially. And they were impressed by the speed of their management’s reaction.

For management, this was a relatively low-cost exercise, and was particularly economic of senior people’s time. It was also an excellent way of “walking the talk” and demonstrating that HR policies regarding inclusivity, development and teamwork were real.

The data collected provided an insight into the behaviour drivers of groups of employees, and a dynamic tool for future goal setting and benchmarking.


  • Don’t do a survey unless you are prepared to communicate the results and make changes.
  • Don’t make organisation or operational changes unless you have surveyed and understood the real issues.
  • Do it quickly, share the results quickly and make your announcements quickly.
  • Don’t assume that everything is OK in your organisation. Measure intelligently to find out what the real issues are.


Entry filed under: Evaluation tools (surveys, interviews..), General.

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