Why Your Employee Survey Is a Waste of Time

employee survey waste of time

Imagine Their Surprise

“The whole department has quietly agreed never to mark anything but good scores on the damn thing!”

I was talking with Joan, an employee of a large medical service provider and this…this was her ultimate response to the last round of employee surveys designed to improve morale and motivation.

What’s worse, her management and executive leaders were clueless that their attempts have done exactly the opposite of what they intended.

I regularly write about how to motivate your employees, but this was a disaster:

This team’s morale was far worse and their effort far less, than if their supervisors had done nothing at all.

What Happened?

If you’ve spent any time in an organization of 30 or more people, you’ve probably encountered an employee or member survey of some kind.

When I’m working with an organization, I can get a good sense of its health by how staff respond to a survey. In far too many places, the response is something cynical like, “Oh great – another chance to be ignored!”

Joan described her organization’s survey:

“They did ask some good questions and we shared how to make things better, but they ignored all those issues, and made us spend extra time on task forces to address cosmetics and desk arrangements.”

“Our reward for taking time to give them good feedback that would improve efficiency and profitability – was to be ignored and given extra work on how we would decorate the department.”

She sighed in frustration. “This is so stupid! We were ignored and punished…and we really tried to help.”

Is Your Employee Survey a Waste of Time?

Imagine having coffee with a friend who asks you for feedback on their website.

You take a moment, look it over, complement the layout, color scheme, and suggest they make their contact information more prominent.

Now imagine that in response to your thoughtful feedback, your friend stares past you, gets up, turns her back and leaves the coffee shop without another word.

How would you… [Read the rest of this guest post at the Lead Change Group!]

Take care,


Image of David Dye Leadership SpeakerWant to get more done & build teams that care?

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