Surveys have become an invaluable tool used by many companies as a way to gage their business. As you leave many retail chains or restaurants they now have surveys to rate and provide feedback on services, rendered directly on your receipt.
My first experience with surveys was when I worked for a chain store; it was a big home improvement chain that had decided to partner with a group to receive customer service feedback.
I have to say that I believe surveys are a great tool to show your strengths and weaknesses; however, they are based on an individual’s perception of their experience and everyone has different personalities, standards and expectations.
When I started my career as a nurse I thought surveys were behind me, but boy was I wrong.
As a Nurse we have several different surveys we worry about, including a big one called “Gallup.” This is a survey that nurses take to evaluate their satisfaction with their facility. It is based off a series of inquiries, including questions like asking if you have a best friend at work, or if you have the necessary resources to do your job. These questions are graded on a scale of 0-5 with every hospital hoping to receive a 5.
The problem is that to answer these surveys honestly you run the risk of getting your middle management in trouble and there is still no change made from it.
I come to work everyday and love my coworkers but I have to say asking a question like “Do you have a best friend at work?” does not demonstrate whether or not my employer is doing well or not.
Some people read this question for face value and they don’t have and best friend at work. That doesn’t mean they aren’t friendly with co-workers, maybe they just consider their best friend to be someone they don’t work with.
This question should be restated to say “Do you have coworkers that you value, and that make you feel valuable?”
People have different ways of interpreting these questions.
“Do you have the resources to do your job?” Well yes, most of the time we do, of course there will be days when we might be lacking something. But does that mean we should receive a lower score because we had a day where we were missing something small?
What do you think will happen when an employee is angry over not getting a promotion or time off? The angry employee will respond to a survey with lower scores out of spite.
So what happens with these surveys? Well, in theory the information should lead to improved working conditions.
Instead, the result is meetings where management attempts to find ways to improve conditions. This often leads to awkward moments where staff members try to explain their reasoning, while management searches for ways to prove that they were meeting requirements all along.
So again, why are hospital administrations putting so much weight on these surveys? Maybe it’s just me but all surveys are subjective and surveys should be used as a tool to improve situations, not as a definitive marker like some would like to think they are.
So, when it comes to employee engagement surveys, make sure you understand the questions and the ramifications of answering them in a negative way.