According to Lori Schroth, DBA, CSP, CET, and Brandon Hody, M.S., CSP, these surveys have pros and cons, but by taking seven key steps, employers can improve their effectiveness.
Step 1: Brainstorm. Think about what questions/areas your organization needs to address.
Step 2: Develop. Use the brainstorming input to create more focused and specific questions for employees to answer.
Step 3: Distribute. Use a wide-reaching medium to make the survey accessible and easy to complete.
Step 4: Review and evaluate. Consider survey results on a macro level, then ensure that the answers are valid and determine whether the answers for each question are statistically significant.
Step 5: Act. Once an organization confirms the validity of results, it can create an action plan to correct negative perceptions about workplace safety and health.
Step 6: Award. When workers follow the action plan, find a meaningfully way to award or recognize the workforce for their participation.
Step 7: Reassess. To enable sustainable success, employers should continue to seek employee feedback, regularly verify whether the action plan is working and identify areas for improvement. According to Schroth and Hody, many organizations fail to address the final two steps, even though they are crucial to gaining employee feedback and identifying opportunities for improvement.
Schroth and Hody caution that common pitfalls of perception surveys are quesion validity and structure, so it’s important that questions be clear and easy to read, and that they apply to your workforce. “Clear and simple is the key,” they say. “If employees don’t understand the questions or if the intent of the questions isn’t clear, they may get frustrated and not complete the survey.” Because response rate is always a concern, be sure to allocate time for employees to complete the survey during the work day.
Schroth and Hody will share more insights on developing effective employee perception surveys during Safety 2018 Session S759, “Thoughts, Feelings and Opinions: Gauging Employees’ Perceptions,” on Wednesday, June 6, 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Brandon Hody, M.S., CSP, CHSP, is a safety and occupational health professional at Concurrent Technologies Corp. He holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Safety Sciences. He is Assistant Administrator for ASSE's Public Sector Practice Specialty.
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