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Employee Surveys That Work: Improving Design, Use, and Organizational Impact

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Today it is easier than ever to conduct employee surveys, and they are widely accepted for gathering organizational intelligence. If anything, the pendulum may have swung too far: fatigue is often cited against fielding yet another survey. Surveys play a central role anytime large numbers of people are included in a sensing initiative. If the organization is changing, an employee survey can provide critical insights into change effectiveness. Surveys can be an effective tool for understanding the drivers of employee motivation and engagement. They can measure key organizational processes from the perspective of the employees most informed about them--those who implement the processes daily.

Despite the prevalence of employee surveys, a number of common survey practices are less than optimal. There are three general areas where survey practices can be improved: (a) strategy, goals, and objectives, (b) design and delivery, and (c) analysis, interpretation, and action taking from the results. EMPLOYEE SURVEYS THAT WORK addresses each of these areas and offers advice for improvement. Guidance is provided on who to include in the survey, the issues to focus on, and balancing the tradeoffs involved.

The intended audience for the book includes both people who are responsible for designing and implementing employee surveys, and those who use them, including HR leaders and practitioners, OD practitioners, and organizational leaders who oversee or use survey results. To keep the content accessible to as broad an audience as possible, a balance was struck between comprehensiveness and length, and between more- and less-technical topics. This means that sometimes a topic is discussed in brief and, where appropriate, sources for additional information are provided.

The book is laid out in order of how surveys are usually designed, conducted and analyzed, with survey strategy and design coming first. Each chapter stands alone and can be read separately. However, if you would like to get the full benefit of the content, it is advisable to read all chapters before embarking on your survey effort. Though the later chapters address analysis, interpretation, and action taking, some of the points covered there have implications for survey strategy and design--especially if your goal is to maximize the usefulness and impact of your employee survey.

Table of Contents

Part I: Strategy, Goals and Objectives
Chapter 1. Goals: Define a Clear Survey Purpose
Chapter 2. Objectives: The Pros and Cons of Focusing on Employee Engagement
Chapter 3. Methods: Match the Measurement to the Processes, Roles, and Teams
Part II: Design and Delivery
Chapter 4. Good Survey Practices: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Chapter 5. Anonymity vs. Insights: Confidentiality and Organizational Data Matching
Part III: Analysis, Interpretation, and Action Taking
Chapter 6. KISS: The Power and Pitfalls of Simplicity
Chapter 7. The Big Picture: What, How, Why, and Who of Statistical Modeling
Chapter 8. Reaching Conclusions: Benchmarking and Statistical vs. Meaningful Differences
Chapter 9. Moving Forward: Reporting and Taking Action

About the Author

Alec Levenson, PhD, is senior research scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California. His research and consulting work with companies optimizes job and organization performance and HR systems through the application of organization design, job design, human capital analytics, and strategic talent management. Levenson has trained HR professionals in a broad range of Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies. His research has been published in numerous academic and business publications, and featured in major media outlets including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, CNN, Associated Press, U.S. News and World Report, National Public Radio, USA Today, Marketplace, and Fox News.

Additional Info

Name Employee Surveys That Work: Improving Design, Use, and Organizational Impact
SKU 61.13512
Year published 2014
Page count No
Publisher SHRM/Berrett-Koehler
ISBN 9781626561199
Author Alec Levenson
Format Paperback