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Take Employees’ Pulse With Low-Cost Online Surveys

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in HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Issue: Web-based surveys let you collect employee feedback on everything from benefits to where to hold the holiday party.

Benefit: Online surveys are cheaper and easy to administer. They let you tell the CEO more definitively what employees want.

Action: Here are some of the best online survey sites, plus tips on crafting your survey to obtain the best response.

Employers of all sizes use Web-based surveys to gain instant feedback from customers about products and services. But HR can use those same tools to take the pulse of employees about benefit desires, retention issues and more.

Online survey vendors are popping up all over the Web. How they work: You simply open an account at a vendor's Web site, pay by credit card and create the survey. You can send employees the survey via e-mail or direct them (via an e-mail or memo) to a unique Web site that contains the survey. No need to buy or install software.

Examples: SurveyMonkey.com charges $20 a month for up to 1,000 responses. Its free service limits you to 100 responses per survey. Zoomerang.com charges $600 a year (or $50 per month) for unlimited surveys.

To collect the most (and best) information from your survey, and improve response rates, follow these five tips:

  1. Clearly define what you want to learn. The more focused the topic, the better.
  2. Don't use jargon or long sentences. Limit surveys to a few questions.
  3. Steer clear of open-ended questions. Answer options should be yes, no or multiple choice. (Add room for comments.)
  4. Test the survey on a small group of people. Ask how questions can be clarified.
  5. Include a deadline. Follow up with a reminder a few days before the cutoff date.

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