I want to start this article with a simple question - how many employee survey tools do you think are out there? Can you even grasp such a number? Don't worry if you can't. As a matter of fact, not even Google can answer this. Yes, with the thousands of apps released each year, plus in-house tools companies create, it's impossible to keep track.
Now, the reason why I started our conversation with such a question is this. I want to raise the alarm on a problem that seems to be on everyone's lips these days - survey fatigue. If you haven't heard about this term before, let me tell you that, just as its name implies, survey fatigue is a phenomenon that describes the lack of employee motivation to answer management questions. And from my perspective, it was something due to happen.
As McKinsey wrote in one of their articles, we live in the Golden Age of employee surveys. Why? Well, because we also live in a world where good employees are very hard to find and retain.
Statistically speaking, in 2022, 55% of surveyed companies claim their turnover rate has increased compared to the previous years. So just like in any relationship where a person starts having doubts about the other one, leaders came to the healthy conclusion that the best way to retain their people is to keep them happy. Unfortunately, in their desire to do so, managers started to bombard their team members with long and tiresome surveys. The worst part is that these surveys mostly ended with leaders receiving tons and tons of data but not taking actual action. The result? The rise of the previously mentioned problem - survey fatigue.
Sadly, not many team leaders understand that the issue behind this phenomenon is actually poor management. They blame the survey tool, not their own actions.
However, the main problem is universal, regardless of the company's size or type. The main problem is that many managers only use these surveys without having actual physical or digital – contact – with their employees. In their mind, if they get their employees to answer a long string of questions, they cover everything there is to cover.
Well, I hate to be the one to say it, but that's as useless as not using any survey tools at all. Doing so will only make people tired of losing their time and answering your questions. Because of that, they will probably do it mechanically just to get it done. Simply put, team leaders who only use survey tools because it's a 'trend' will end up with employees suffering from survey fatigue. Furthermore, these leaders won't know what makes their team members unhappy and will probably lose them to another organization.
That's why, as previously mentioned, at Hapkey, we strongly support transparency and dialogue. We understand the need to find out the general reason behind each individual's distress, only to be continued and solved with a face-to-face discussion.
So without further ado, before wrapping up the topic, there is a small piece of advice that I want to share with you, the leader in charge of your company - don't hate the player, hate the game. In short, I want you to understand that the frustration of not getting the correct feedback from your employees is not due to the survey tool but how you use it. I want you to understand that no matter how much we digitize this world, human contact will always be needed when working with people.
And last but not least, I can only hope that you’ll choose your tools wisely, understand them, as well as your employees, and you won’t end up in a game you can't control.
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