Blog: HR’s role in strategizing employee climate surveys

Employee Relations

HR’s role in strategizing employee climate surveys

Employee climate surveys at workplaces are only worth when the implemented surveys are communicated back to employees with apt analysis, key findings, and probable plan of action.
HR’s role in strategizing employee climate surveys

The health of the organization is largely dependent on the internal customers of the business that is employees. It turns out to be an organization’s responsibility to assess employee feelings towards the working environment and culture. Employee climate surveys not only intents to study employee perception, which has a direct impact on employee behavior towards organization but also serves as an assessment tool to measure and manage employee engagement, employee productivity, employee retention, and career progression opportunities. Conducting climate surveys demonstrates to employees that management is dedicated to addressing employee needs and concerns at the workplace. It stands as an implicit commitment to the employees to do something with the data. Employee climate surveys at workplaces are only worth when the implemented surveys are communicated back to employees with apt analysis, key findings, and probable plan of action. Human Resource plays an important role to strategize and implement climate surveys to mark this for business use.

HR’s Role

HR for businesses have to be fully committed in the development and deployment of employee climate surveys once the management is sold on the idea. Strategic framing and indirect questions, careful communication plan, help employees overcome natural hesitation about recording their feedback, logical interpretation, and usage of data generated is expected from a systematic and scientific process. Regardless of this approach, HR should heavily get involved in –

Time and Frequency of employee climate survey

Time and frequency of the climate survey has a huge impact on the value organizations create to register candid feedback from the employees. Normally organizations elect annual/bi-annual surveys to gather data to sense the perception of the work environment. A climate survey can normally to administered during an organization's historically slow periods, wherein employees can devote apt time to think, feel, and register their feedback. The organization can avoid conducting surveys during period which may skew results positively or negatively, like surveys after appraisal cycle, bonus season, high stressed seasonal sales cycle etc, which may give an unrealistic picture of the data gathered. Climate surveys can end up doing more harm than good, if conducted during business slumps, massive layoffs, mergers and acquisitions, economic slowdown and any other business condition considered in favourable for the employee.

Structure and design of employee climate survey

Its always a good thought to peep into historical surveys and results they were generated, before going for finalization of survey structure and design. This can act as a driving force and gives you more insights on how to strategically run the entire survey cycle. Before finalizing the structure base questions like intent on the survey, what is to be measured, and what is to be communicated need to filtered. The design and structure of the climate survey have to be in a way that clearly isolates the problem and helps management to reach to the pulse of the organization. The design of the climate survey should Ensure anonymity and confidentiality of responses. Organizations prefer a committee of multilevel cross-functional teams to design the climate survey and gives accurate outcomes for the ecosystem prevalent, within the organization.  

Employee communication strategies and usage of technology

A prior intimation about the rationale of climate surveys and expectations of timely communication to service level heads, leadership and managerial roles would be great idea to get accurate and candid climate survey results. Communication must be done in a manner which would boost employee morale, yet direct to fill for legal issues, political issues, issues relating to company policies and practices. Data sets generated from employee feedback mechanisms like climate surveys are real gifts that deserve attention. Thus, the use of sophisticated tools to analyze the data generated from their employee climate surveys like applications and questionnaire tools would have considerate value, which makes having the results available electronically even more valuable. Using an electronic medium would encourage higher participation rates.

Interpretation of the data sets

Interpretation of the data analyzed should not be used in the face value. A positive score often indicates that business is really doing well or are not holding the employee accountable for the job. Often poorly or overly framed questions in climate surveys can deviate the data. HR can use data discussions to coach senior leaders to see the results as an opportunity for organizational insights and improvement. 

Beyond Surveys

In addition, the survey data can also be used to initiate a strategic conversation with a focus group or employee/s to explore key concerns in depth. Climate surveys have the power to create surveys within themselves. For critical issues, the data sets can be used to initiate dialogues that can make employees feel valued as compared to administering a survey again.

Employee climate surveys identify critical areas of concern and help build people plus a business-driven strategy to create great place to work. Thus, employee climate surveys build a framework to serve the healthy organizations and prevalent ecosystem within the organization. 


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Topics: Employee Relations, #GuestArticle

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