Q. We’re planning to do our first employee survey this year. Are there any best practices? — H.P., North Carolina
A. It all begins with establishing the purpose. “We want to find out what people are thinking” is just too vague. What is the specific problem you’re trying to solve? Keep an employee survey as short as possible, its contents confined to a single web form or page with no excessive clicking. Mere multiple choice responses are too restrictive; give staff plenty of room to expand on their opinions. Use language that workers actually use around the office, not corporate jargon.
When it comes to guaranteeing anonymity, the staff will always be doubtful. Try not to ask a question that would likely make it obvious who’s replying. Mention the steps your IT department is taking to provide as much anonymity as possible.