Why You Must Answer Employee Surveys Honestly


Year in, year out organisations of all sizes all around the world use employee surveys to gauge their employees’ job satisfaction, engagement levels and general work-life happiness. So why should you answer employee surveys honestly?

A new year is waiting right around the corner and you know what companies like to do at year-end?

Figure out what their employees are thinking and how they are feeling so that they can improve things at the job next year. This often involves a survey, usually anonymous, sent out to all the employees.

Sometimes, however, a number of employees would rather say what they think their employers want to hear than what they actually think and/or feel.

Today, 22% of companies survey employ­ees annually or less, and 14% never survey employees at all according to the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report.

This clear neglect of getting regular employee feedback helps explain companies’ other shortcomings today, including the failure by many to develop and grow a great corporate culture and foster a healthy work-life balance for their employees.

In a recent survey by management consultants Impact Achievement Group with their partner HRmarketer about 48% of all respondents felt the surveys did not provide an honest and accurate employee assessment, compared to only 31% who did.

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These findings go to show how many and why many workers today do not answer employee surveys honestly. However, companies actually do need this data to be accurate for these surveys to be of any use to them.

Below are three key reasons why you should answer employee surveys honestly.

It will improve the company’s productivity

Honest, balanced and fair responses to your employee survey can help management improve your organisation’s processes. As an employee, your vantage point is unique and important to the company’s performance. And yes it is risky to complain, no one is here to deny the reality of corporate politics.

The key is to give praise for the things being done well in addition to pointing out what has room for improvement. Offer constructive criticism/feedback, including offering possible solutions instead of just complaining about problems.

Constructive feedback highlights to your bosses that the problem you are raising is hampering you to the point where you have even gone ahead to come up with a solution.

Honest, balanced and fair responses to your employee survey can help management improve your organisation’s processes.

Your honest answers may make your job easier

Remembering that this is your workplace you want it to be comfortable and you want it to help you be efficient in your job, it is in your best interests to try to improve it by all the means availed to you.

Think about it: if no one brings issues to the attention of the only people who can get them resolved, they can only get worse. Management can use your honest feedback make the company a better place to work.

They really want to know what employees are thinking and how to make things better. The fact that they send out these employee surveys in the first place shows that they are aware that the temperature of the workplace is worth measuring, so they likely want honest criticisms rather than false positive feedback.

Give specific examples that can back up your opinions to give your answers more credibility.

Answer Employee Surveys Honestly

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You have a voice in the company, embrace it

Your opinion does matter in a work environment, that’s why they are trying to scoop your opinions out of you so by all means you should answer employee surveys honestly! Even though this is not really a vote where they have to do what the majority suggests this still is your opportunity to be well heard.

Administering employee surveys can cost significant amounts of time and money, but companies hope that the return on this investment will be a much clearer understanding of how employees feel about the organisation and what changes they can put in place in order to make meaningful improvements.

A warning about anonymous feedback

Most companies do try to make sure that your feedback is truly anonymous. However, if it is an internally built survey, or uses a third party tool that doesn’t state it is anonymous, it may not be a good idea to go on a rant about your workplace.

If it seems overly negative your employers will likely not be motivated to seriously consider anything you complain about and just brush it off as irrational bitterness. And depending on how vengeful top management is, they could also start looking for who ranted and try to quietly punish you or even your entire department.

If you want to make comments that are negative and specifically about a person, do not make them unless you would feel comfortable bringing them to your boss in person. And if you would actually feel comfortable talking to your boss in person, then why not do just that?

That is usually a better way to get issues resolved than in an anonymous survey. It is much better to concentrate your negative feedback to things which affect the company as a whole such as employment benefits, pay raises, days off, etc.

In Summary

Your answers to an employee survey can impact company policy so you should take your time to answer each question thoughtfully and thoroughly. Avoid rushing through the survey or saying what you think your employer wants to hear.

Whether it is positive or negative, honest, meaningful feedback will have the greatest impact on your work environment so it is important to answer employee surveys honestly.

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.