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How should I conduct an employee survey?

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in Human Resources,The HR Specialist Forum

I would like to do a survey of our employees to find out what they think of our benefits and how HR could be more valuable to them. I have a couple questions.
  1. What’s the best way to get lots of people to complete the survey? I’m leaning toward an online survey, but I’ve never done one before. Do they work? Which online survey tools have you used?
  2. Should I conduct separate surveys of line employees and managers/execs? It seems like the perspectives would be pretty different.
  3. What kinds of questions should I ask? I’m thinking about asking them to rate different benefits on a 1 – 5 scale from “not valued” to “highly valued.” Any advice on how to do that best?
-- David B., Conn.

See responses below

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa July 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm

If you offer different beneftis packages, I would divide the survey by those packages. If not, then I don’t see how their job description will make a difference. (Although, maybe you want to specific exepmt/non exempt). Definitely make it anonymous.

We use LimeSurvey ( It’s flexible, open source, and free. The 1-5 scale works well. Ask for comments — they can be the richest source of information. If your workforce isn’t all online at work, print the survey and distribute with payroll and then make sure there are collection bins or something for people to turn them in. I would do online OR print, but not both.


John July 13, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Here’s a link for Survey Monkey:


Linda July 13, 2010 at 4:51 pm

We used Survey Monkey which was very easy to design but we only did it for our managerial staff, who had internet access. We used the 1-5 scale which was sufficient, and the tool tallys your results for you. This was very quick and easy and worked well for management.
In the past, with the front line employees, we gave them a printed survey, but we had them fill it out in a proctored session, to ensure you were getting only their answers and not a group answer. Their survey went right into an envelope, sealed in front of them, and tally’d by a disinterested third party so that it was anonymous. That made the employees feel like they had a voice but that there would be no retaliation.


Elizabeth July 13, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I would suggest the following:

*If you choose to do an online survey, you will probably get quick responses; but only from those who work at a computer with internet access. To get a response from a wider employee base, consider distributing a printed copy with payroll.

*Keep it anonymous, but ask the question “Are you a (Executive/Manager/Support Staff/Production Employee)?”

*1 – 5 seems to work pretty well, that’s why you see it so often.


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