Employee Surveys Part 1 - How To Set Up Your Survey

Your employees are one of the most important parts of your business, and keeping them happy is one of your most critical jobs. As much as you invite employee feedback, the truth is that they may still not be comfortable sharing their true feelings. Conducting employee surveys can be a great way to get feedback from your employees in a setting that they feel is safe to be open and honest, while being able to trust that their voice is heard.

Unfortunately, conducting an employee survey isn’t as simple as writing a few questions and emailing them to your staff. To get the most value from a survey, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. In our next few blog posts, we’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of conducting an employee survey. Our first set of tips below will help you figure out how to set up your employee survey so your employees are responsive and engaged, and so that you get responses that are meaningful and actionable for your business.

Keep It Anonymous

The best way to keep your restaurant running efficiently and pleasantly is to make sure everyone feels comfortable. Having an open workplace, one where employees feel they can come to you with issues or questions, is one of the best ways to make sure you’re staying on track.

In previous posts, we’ve outlined some ways to make sure you’re fostering a culture that’s open and honest. But the truth is, even if you follow all of these steps, there will always be situations where someone isn’t comfortable coming directly to you for guidance. Often times this is because they don’t want to be associated with the issue themselves. While you can’t implement an employee survey for every situation like this, surveys can be a helpful way to give employees a real chance to voice these concerns.Keeping all survey responses anonymous - and making sure employees know that they won’t be named - is a key factor in setting up your survey. Doing this will ensure that your employees feel they’re responding in a safe, supportive environment, and this means they’ll be more open in their answers. At the end of the day, it’s a great way to communicate that surveys are done for the good of the team, and not to single out any individual.

Make it easy

Your employees have dozens of tasks to tackle every day, and even those who love their job more than anything have a breaking point. If you want your survey to have a good response rate and to help you gather some real, valuable insights, it has to be easy for employees to complete.

Many employers make the mistake of asking the survey to do too much, asking difficult, layered questions and expecting employees to invest hours of time and thought into their responses. But after a long day in the kitchen or waiting tables, your employees simply won’t be able to give thoughtful responses to a survey that demands too much. Keep your questions simple and straightforward, and make the completion and turn-in process easy, and you’ll see greater success.

Complicated log-ins to online surveys are a hurdle for busy employees: use a simple email or web based survey features to make it easier. Be sure you give employees plenty of time to complete their survey so they don’t feel rushed. And when it comes to questions, make sure you have a good mix of simple, short-form answers and opportunities for employees to give more feedback.

Include open ended questions

When you’re in charge of writing the survey, it’s easy to lean on yes/no questions as a simple framework. But the truth is, you’ll get much more in-depth and valuable responses if you offer your employees a chance to explain more about their responses and opinions.

Think carefully about which questions are most critical to your insight-gathering, and make sure you include leading phrases like “explain more” or “tell us why.” This will cue your employees to spend a little more time thinking about their responses rather than running through the survey quickly to get it done.

When you get your surveys back, you’ll be thankful you invested the extra time in designing open ended questions. There are few things more valuable than hearing your employees’ thoughts and opinions in their own words.

In part 2 of our survey series, we’ll cover how to discover business issues through your surveys.