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Top Ten Employee Complaints - Why Employee Surveys are Critical

clock September 18, 2009 12:33 by author Administrator
Are you interested in discovering your employees’ most serious complaints? Knowing what makes employees unhappy is half the battle when you think about employee work satisfaction, morale, positive motivation, and retention. Listen to employees and provide opportunities for them to communicate with company managers. If employees feel safe, they will tell you what’s on their minds. Your work culture must foster trust for successful two-way communication. HR Solutions, Inc., a Chicago-based management consulting firm specializing in employee engagement surveys, analyzed recurring themes in employee surveys and compiled the following top ten list. These are the items employees consistently complain about on surveys and in interviews. How many are true in your workplace?
  1. Higher salaries: pay is the number one area in which employees seek change. You can foster a work environment in which employees feel comfortable asking for a raise.
  2. Internal pay equity: employees are concerned particularly with pay compression, the differential in pay between new and longer term employees. In organizations, with the average annual pay increase for employees around 4%, employees perceive that newcomers are better paid – and, often, they are. 
  3. Benefits programs, particularly health and dental insurance, retirement, and Paid Time Off / vacation days: specifically, many employees feel that their health insurance costs too much, especially prescription drug programs, when employers pass part of their rising costs to employees.
  4. Over-management: Employees often defined by interviewees as: “Too many chiefs, not enough Indians.” Workplaces that foster employee empowerment, employee enablement, and broader spans of control by managers, will see fewer complaints. A popular word, micromanaging, expresses this sentiment, too.
  5. Pay increase guidelines for merit: Employees believe the compensation system should place greater emphasis on merit and contribution. Employees find pay systems in which all employees receive the same pay increase annually, demoralizing. Such pay systems hit the motivation and commitment of your best employees hardest as they may begin asking what’s in this for me?  As you adopt a merit pay system, one component is education so that employees know what behaviors and contributions merit additional compensation. Employees who did not must be informed by their manager about how their performance needs to change to merit a larger pay increase.
  6. Human Resources department response to employees: The Human Resource department needs to be more responsive to employee questions and concerns. In many companies, the HR department is perceived as the policy making, policing arm of management. In fact, in forward thinking HR departments, responsiveness to employee needs is one of the cornerstones.
  7. Favoritism: Employees want the perception that each employee is treated equivalently with other employees. If there are policies, behavioral guidelines, methods for requesting time off, valued assignments, opportunities for development, frequent communication, and just about any other work related decisions you can think of, employees want fair treatment.
  8. Communication and availability: Let’s face it. Employees want face-to-face communication time with both their supervisors and executive management. This communication helps them feel recognized and important. And, yes, your time is full because you have a job, too. But, a manager’s main job is to support the success of all his or her reporting employees. That’s how the manager magnifies their own success.
  9. Workloads are too heavy: Departments are understaffed and employees feel as if their workloads are too heavy and their time is spread too thinly. I see this complaint becoming worse as layoffs; the economy; your ability to find educated, skilled, experienced staff; and your business demands grow. To combat this, each company should help employees participate in continuous improvement activities.
  10. Facility cleanliness: Employees want a clean, organized work environment in which they have the necessary equipment to perform well.
The job satisfaction study included over 2.2 million respondents with 2,100 organizations representing various industries, all surveyed by HR Solutions, Inc.

How To Write A Good Survey

clock September 8, 2009 15:23 by author Administrator
  • Words are often used in different ways by different people; your goal is to write questions that each person will interpret in the same way.
  • A good question should be short and straightforward.
  • A questionnaire should not be too long, use plain English and the question shouldn't be difficult to answer.
  • Only through careful writing, editing, review, and rewriting can you make a good questionnaire.
  • Survey items have two separate parts: the question and the answer. The distinction is important. A good question not only asks for information clearly, but elicits useful responses.
The following provides you with guidelines for conducting your surveys: Remember your survey's purpose All other rules and guidelines are based on this one. There was a reason you decided to spend your time and money to do your survey, and you should ensure that every question you ask supports that reason. If you start to get lost while writing your questions, refer back to this rule. Write a short questionnaire... Above all, your questionnaire should be as short as possible. When drafting your questionnaire, make a mental distinction between what is essential to know, what would be useful to know and what would be unnecessary. Retain the former, keep the useful to a minimum and discard the rest. If the question is not important enough to include in your report, it probably should be eliminated. If in doubt, throw it out This is another way of stating the first rule, but it is important enough to repeat. A question should never be included in a survey because you can't think of a good reason to discard it. If you cannot come up with a concrete research benefit that will result from the question, don't use it. Use simple words... Survey recipients may have a variety of backgrounds so use simple language. For example, "What is the frequency of your automotive travel to your parents' residents in the last 30 days?" is better understood as, "About how many times in the last 30 days have you driven to your parent's home?" Stay focused - avoid vague issues If you ask "When did you last see a movie?" you might get answers that refer to the last time your respondent rented a video, when you are really interested in the last time the respondent went out to a movie theater. Consider too, "Please rate your satisfaction with the service you have received from this company." This is a fine general question, but will not likely lead to any specific action steps. Particular elements of service must be probed if responses are to result in specific recommendations. If a question can be misinterpreted, it will be "What time do you normally eat dinner?" will be answered differently by people living in different regions; "dinner" can refer to either the midday or the evening meal. Be clear, concise, always beware of imprecise language and avoid double negatives. Identify even commonly used abbreviations to be certain that everyone understands. Start with interesting questions... Start the survey with questions that are likely to sound interesting and attract the respondents' attention. Save the questions that might be difficult or threatening for later. Voicing questions in the third person can be less threatening than questions voiced in the second question. For example, ask: "How do your colleagues feel about management?" rather than "How do you feel about management?" Include only one topic per question (avoid "double-barreled" questions) How would you interpret the responses to "Please rate your satisfaction with the amount and kind of care you received while in the hospital." or, a question asking about speed and accuracy? If you want to be able to come up with specific recommended actions, you need specific questions. Make sure the respondent has enough information Asking respondents "How effective has this company's new distribution program been?" may not be as effective as "Recently, we implemented a new, centralized distribution system. Did you know this?" Followed by "Have you seen any positive benefits resulting from this change?" It can be beneficial to break down questions that require background information into two parts: a screening item describing the situation which asks if the respondent knows about it, and a follow-up question addressing attitudes the respondent has about the topic. Avoid leading questions It is easy, and incorrect, to write a question that the respondent believes has a "right" answer. "Most doctors believe that exercise is good for you. Do you agree?" is an example of a leading question. Even the most well-meaning researcher can slant results by including extraneous information in a question. Leading questions can be used to prejudice results. Leading questions demand a specific response. For example: the question "Which day of the month is best for the newly established company-wide monthly meeting?" leads respondents to pick a date without first determining if they even want another meeting.