MENU
Every opinion counts

Employee survey – measuring the mood

© iStock

01 August 2017

The preparations are still in full swing, but the really important phase will happen at the end of the year: this is when the more than 10,000 employees at TÜV NORD should give their honest opinion about the organisation as a whole, the strategy, their supervisors and managers and working conditions. This is a good reason for #explore to talk to Jens Ballendowitsch from market research company GfK about employee questionnaires, uncertain times and the different communication needs of different generations.

#explore: Why does an organisation need an employee survey?
Jens Ballendowitsch: The question “why” still always fascinates me, although I have been working in this field for quite a long time. Nobody would ask why companies carry out customer surveys. No enterprise can exist without knowing the opinions and needs of its customers. And on the other hand, how can an organisation be successful if it is blind and deaf to the views of the people who work there? For in the end it is the employees who produce the assets, products and services.

#explore: Do you have to convince organisations of the importance of employee surveys?
Jens Ballendowitsch: Not really. Nowadays most companies carry out employee surveys as a matter of course. The real work to convince them of the importance of the surveys was done in the 1980s and 1990s. In my view, medium-size and large enterprises no longer have any doubt about the value of employee surveys. On the contrary, the advantages are now self-evident and I think will become even more so in future.

„How can an organisation be successful if it is blind and deaf to the views of the people who work there?“

Jens Ballendowitsch

#explore: Why is that?
Jens Ballendowitsch: We live and work in an era which, as a result of digitisation, is characterised by insecurity, transformation, uncertainty and a lack of structure. Everything is happening faster, companies disappear and new ones come into being. We no longer live in such stable times as perhaps 20 or 30 years ago, when everything was relatively predictable.

#explore: What does that mean in real terms?
Jens Ballendowitsch: It means that companies have to face and adapt to these new challenges. Because the customers the companies have to serve are also changing. Not least because of the many possibilities now available through the Internet, for example. If an organisation is to react flexibly, the right framework conditions have to be created so that each and every employee can also adapt to the changes. A comprehensive employee survey can reveal, for example, whether the team understands and is committed to any possible changes in company strategy.

#explore: Are these surveys well accepted by the employees?
Jens Ballendowitsch: In general, the response rate for employee surveys in Germany is between 60 and 70 per cent. Many employees now also expect to take part in a survey, because it offers the opportunity to give structured feedback. This applies particularly to the younger generation who use the internet and social media a lot. It is easy to see on Facebook, Xing, Linkedin or Kununu what people think about their employers. And this means there is a great willingness to give feedback.

#explore: Are these surveys well accepted by the employees?
Jens Ballendowitsch: In general, the response rate for employee surveys in Germany is between 60 and 70 per cent. Many employees now also expect to take part in a survey, because it offers the opportunity to give structured feedback. This applies particularly to the younger generation who use the internet and social media a lot. It is easy to see on Facebook, Xing, Linkedin or Kununu what people think about their employers. And this means there is a great willingness to give feedback.

#explore: How much time passes between the development of the questionnaire and the evaluation?
Jens Ballendowitsch: That always depends on the size of the organisation. In the case of TÜV NORD, we started the planning phase at the end of 2016 and the results will be available at the beginning of 2018. But the end of the survey is then still a long way off. You can really only say that the survey process is complete when the next one begins. Because the process of change is continual and ongoing.

#explore: Why does it make sense to perform regular surveys?
Jens Ballendowitsch: Well - clearly in order to be able to compare the results from survey to survey. This is the only way that organisations can see if the measures they have taken are effective, and find out if the employees are satisfied over the long term. For the purpose of a survey is not only to identify weaknesses, on the contrary. Positive aspects are also revealed and this creates pride, unity and a firm foundation for the future.

About

Jens Ballendowitsch is a Senior Consultant at market research company GfK in the area of Employee & Organisational Research. In other words: it is his job to find out how employees think and feel.