7 Must Have Criteria for Selecting an Employee Survey Vendor

Navjit Singh-23 January, 2020 -Employee Survey

Organizations can gain a lot from employee surveys that highlight key areas for improvement. They are also invaluable tools to gain insight into employee job-related experiences, and they act as a great tool for the development of a road map for improving engagement. However, an employee survey is only as good as the tool through which it's conducted, the relevance of the questions asked, follow-up actions to the survey, and the partner selected to conduct the survey. Also important is the preparation that goes into survey design that elicits most genuine responses.

There is a mushrooming of a lot of survey tools and vendors across the globe which are found wanting in terms of survey design, experience, and confidentiality. After conducting employee surveys with over 50 leading organizations, like Muthoot Finance, Vikas Group, that switched from other online survey platform and vendors, we have learned a couple of best practices that we found internal teams or other providers missing in their approach to employee surveys. Here is our list of top ten must-have criteria we have found to be the key ingredients in the execution of employee surveys.

1. Expertise in Survey and Questionnaire Design

Conducting employee surveys is more than asking questions and collecting responses. Survey sampling or questionnaire design is one of the most critical factors in conducting a successful survey.

The pulse of a survey lies in capturing organic and unbiased feedback whilst not inducing stress, bias, or manipulation from participants of the survey process.

80% average completion rate for surveys shorter than 7 minutes

83% average response rate for surveys shorter than 12 questions

Any expert survey provider would have the team with the requisite domain and industry experience to create the survey and questionnaires keeping the survey objectives in mind. There is a huge impact on the survey response rate based on the survey duration and the number of questions in the survey. The partner should help you frame the type of questions and select the right audience for the maximum impact.

2. Mobile/Web-Based Platform

We should harness technology to make complex tasks easier. The survey tool should be based on state-of-the-art technology that dispenses the traditional challenges and complexities involved with an organizational survey. The platform should integrate with existing HRIS and other employee-centric tools for easy hierarchy driven authentication, reminder processes, and flow of data.

Smartphones and tablets have changed the way we do business forever, reinventing the way we can reach and engage with employees. An ideal survey platform should allow the survey access to web and mobile platforms for easy and fast rollout and interactive and creative designs. They help organizations get immediate results and also help conduct spot or pulse surveys.

3. Turn Around Time to Launch Survey

Once the need is established and objectives are set, the employee surveys should be launched as soon as possible. But, before launching an employee survey, one should have a plan and a general timeline in place for the entire process from start to finish. Conducting the survey is only one part of this process.

Most effective employee survey vendors are respectful of your urgency and have templates to reduce the amount of time you must spend on launching your survey. Since they are based on best practices, the surveys are rolled out right the first time. They also make sure you have the resources lined up and communication plans with employees and other stakeholders at every stage of the process. So, minimizing the time for trial & error and a survey roadmap based on best practices is a huge benefit to HR leaders and the team.

Depending on the complexity, magnitude, and branding of the survey, the vendor should be able to launch it within 1-3 weeks. If the survey vendor requires more time to roll-out surveys, it raises doubts about their technology, staff, and experience to manage surveys.

4. End-To-End Management of Survey

With the huge skill and talent gap facing the industry and ever-increasing focus and pressures to retain good employees, time is the last thing available on HR's hand. Employee surveys should not be another activity vying for precious time.

Ideal survey provider should be able to manage the end-to-end process of survey including preparation, conducting the survey, review, analysis, and debrief. They should also have the support staff available to manage the real-time technology glitches for the employees facing challenges during login. If the provider doesn't have the support to man the help-desk 24X7, HR will end up spending precious time doing less important things and would negatively impact survey responses.

5. Faster Access to Survey Results

The best course of action after you complete and analyze the survey results is to communicate as transparently as possible. Longer the gap between the survey and feedback, the greater the risk of inactivity. But besides that, employee survey results are time-sensitive. Employees' feelings and opinions change. Employees are expecting to hear from you following the survey and take action.

The employees shouldn't have to wait a couple of weeks or months to hear what they said. By then, employees will have moved on, and the organization will lose the momentum generated by the survey. Any employee engagement survey vendor worth its salt should give you access to your results within 3-10 business days following the close of your survey.

6. Dashboard, Analytics, and Insights to Take Action

Not every HR and people manager has numerical skills and the ability and time to analyze the data and get insights out of it. And they shouldn't be expected to.

Instead, your employee survey vendor should provide dashboards and analytical reports for managers to take action in consultation with HR teams. Getting hidden insights from a myriad of data needs specialized skills. Look for a vendor that has specific data science teams to get hidden insights from data.

If the survey vendor only provides you access to raw data or just pre-defined reports, take that as a warning sign on their capabilities to provide you insights. An ideal employee survey provider's platform should provide you the tools to create and customize your reports as you need them.

7. Service Focus

You should select an employee survey provider who practices what they preach. Service-focused companies develop close relationships with their customer base and are deeply invested in customer success.

If your engagement partner lacks a service focus, a high level of engaged team, and a proven history of repeat clients, then it's probably time to look for alternatives. When your vendor has long-standing clients, it's a social proof of their service and customer focus. Ask for their client referrals to validate what they say.

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