Attitude Survey best practice

People like having their views and opinions sought, and it says something very positive about management if they are interested enough to find out those views and opinions. Employee consultation is the aspect of communications that contributes most to the development of employee commitment.

1. Have clear objectives for the survey. Why is it being undertaken? What are we hoping to establish? Much of this will depend upon the current state of the “nation”. The first survey establishes a starting point; a where-are-we-now position.

2. It is best to survey everyone if possible and therefore all employees should be invited to participate.

3. Examples of topics for inclusion in a survey would be

  • Perception of the company.
  • Perception of information flow from “immediate boss” to employees.
  • Perception of information flow from the Directors.
  • Perception of “immediate boss”.
  • Communication upwards from employees to management.
  • Methods for dealing with grievances.
  • Perception of self as employee.
  • Future with the organisation
  • Relative roles and merits of communication media.
  • Perception of senior management.
  • Perception of other employees.


4. Survey procedure

  • Questionnaire should not take more than about 30 minutes to complete
  • It should be completed by everyone at the same time if possible, and during working hours
  • Anonymity must be guaranteed and demonstrated at every turn
  • Pre-addressed envelopes to the research organisation may be a good idea
  • Each form must be accompanied by an envelope in which the employee will seal the completed form
  • Special arrangements may be required for night shifts, people working in other sites or parts of the country, and those off sick or on holiday.


5. Some general guidelines include

  • Avoid composite questions
  • Only ask questions that the person can realistically be expected to be able to answer
  • It is good to personalise as many statements as one can. After all, it is the subject’s views that we are seeking, not their interpretation of another’s. Thus “I believe this….”
  • Use words like “immediate boss”, “seniors” or “immediate manager”; not superiors
  • Consider how to mix up positive and negative statements, as this causes the person answering to think about the statement first. It also avoids “feeding” the answer to the employee, who can see very quickly which way management wants the answers to come out
  • Try to make the form look inviting and worth filling in. It is likely to cover several pages
  • Statements must be quite clear as to what they mean. If they are not, then the answers will not mean as much as one might wish
  • Avoid extremes, such as “never” or “always”. Much better (and safer) are “mostly” or “rarely”.

Attitude survey

1. Perception of the company.

Type of employer; comparison with any previous employer; availability and suitability of training; working conditions; pay; fringe benefits; social facilities; workload; policy decisions; innovative techniques.

2. Perception of information flow from “immediate boss” to employees.

Relevance; topicality; credibility; sufficiency; frequency; comprehension; relative to company policy; relative to work procedures; relative to company expertise; media and methods of communication.

3. Perception of information flow from the Directors.

Relevance; topicality; credibility; sufficiency; frequency; comprehension; relative to work procedures; relative to company policy; relative to company expertise; media and methods of communication.

4. Perception of “immediate boss”.

Fairness; discipline; work sharing; time-off; interest in individuals; involvement in problem-solving and decision-making processes; two-way trust; delegation; development of subordinates; interest in conveying employees’ suggestions and/or criticisms to more senior management.

5. Communication upwards from employees to management.

How this is done; through whom; extent to which management listens; how management responds; consultative procedures (formal and informal).

6. Methods for dealing with grievances.

How this is done; formal procedure Vs informal; with whom; impartiality; consistency; satisfaction.

7. Perception of self as employee.

Involved; interested; significant; valued; appreciated; consulted; respected.

8. Future with the organisation.

Career opportunities; personal growth; awareness of effect of competition in the marketplace.

9. Relative roles and merits of communication media.

Company publications; immediate senior; notice boards; team briefings; meetings; grapevine.

10. Perception of senior management.

Interest in employees as people; known by employees; instigators of change.

11. Perception of other employees.

Loyalty; committed; transient/stable; co-operative; friendly people to work with.


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