Overcome the challenges of an employee survey

Published 9th November 2017 by Marketing Department

Surveys have become an essential tool for driving employee engagement and performance. New technologies have provided us with improved ways to design, deliver and interpret employee survey data. An employee survey, executed properly, is about opening up a dialogue to listen, respond and improve. As Thomas Bale, Product & Marketing Director at Investors in People says, “Surveys are a great format because they enable you to pass feedback through the business so that change can happen.”

We’ve had web based employee surveys for a number of years, with the latest HR technologies allowing us to make our approach much more human. In turn, the result much more meaningful. By leveraging mobile technology, big-data benchmarking and sharper driver analysis, we can ensure that surveys become tools for improvement rather than an annual waste of time.

So what are the lessons learnt so far?


Deliver great employee surveys with our top tips.

What’s in a question? Ensure a strong, clear survey design.

There is such a thing as a bad question. Your survey design – how you phrase your survey questions – is a vital to ensuring success. If you really want to listen and respond to employee feedback, a good survey should provide actionable data – not just interesting results. It should be clear – without bias – and align statistically with the driver you’re looking to explore. By leveraging big-data, technology now allows us to improve question selection and phrasing, to ensure that bias and user confusion are eliminated.

At Investors in People we test our survey questions with over 250,000 employees a year. Our methodology is developed in partnership with some of the world’s leading practitioners, businesses and academics. We continually monitor for bias and statistical correlation, to ensure that our set is comprehensive and delivers actionable insight. Whether we are exploring leadership, engagement, trust or values, we use the community of 14,000 accredited organisations worldwide to ensure that that every question is clear and delivers insight that is statistically valid.


If your survey doesn’t work on mobile – it doesn’t work. Engage your staff with a platform that works for them.

Advances in technology have allowed for employee feedback surveys to be a much more human experience. Who wants to sit in front a PC and answer a 60 question annual survey? Instead, meet your employees where they are most comfortable and open; on the bus or over lunch. It allows for shorter and quicker engagements that provide real-time insight. We’ve seen massive improvements in participation rate since supporting mobile and tablet users first.

When we worked with a major UK retailer, with over 150,000 employees, many didn’t have access to desktop PCs or store internet. But almost every member of staff had a personal smartphone capable of responding to our survey. We increased response rate by over 50% by allowing many more employees to have their say when it suited them.


Lots of data, but not much insight? Benchmark the results to explore further.

It’s relatively easy to collect a lot of data. Yet how that data is structured, benchmarked and presented is hugely important to the outcome of a survey. Technology is changing the benchmarking landscape rapidly. One of the biggest advancements in the survey market is the availability of real-time global, industry and driver-led benchmarks.

So why is externally benchmarking results important?

If, for example, 80% of employees said they felt committed to the aims of the organisation, is that good or bad? It sounds quite good. But when you consider that 20% of employees aren’t committed to the aims of the business, the picture looks slightly worse. The only real way to drive actionable insight, and interpret results consistently, is to draw on the largest possible benchmarking data sets. How does this 80% compare to organisations similar to you? Or even businesses that you look up to?

At Investors in People, we survey over 7,000 organisations and 250,000 employees a year. From that data we build detailed benchmarks at industry, sector and an engagement level, so that our accredited organisations can compare themselves quickly, easily and meaningfully.

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Thank you so much :) Mel, Product Manager