There are many reasons to conduct internal communication surveys: they are a great way to get valuable feedback and data to inform a range of corporate initiatives and priorities.
Employee engagement, health and wellbeing, training needs and other workplace cultural issues, evaluating communications and marketing campaigns are among the top reasons to survey your employees.
Whatever the reason for the employee communications survey, it’s important that you ask the right questions to maximize effectiveness. The communication survey questions should be designed in such a way that they provide the data needed to contribute to improvements in the workplace.
Internal communications professionals are well placed to assist managers to design communication survey questions for employees. Sometimes they may also engage outside assistance from firms that offer employee communications survey services. Whether you’re using internal services or external ones t conduct your internal communication surveys, it’s important to have the right questions and the right tools for the job.
Why you need an internal communications survey
When you develop an internal communication strategy, it is essential that you factor in a way to measure its effectiveness, and one of the ways to do this is to survey employees to determine if they understood the messages of your campaign.
Unfortunately, around 60% of internal communicators are not measuring their internal communications activities.
According to the Institute of Internal Communication, the benefits of measuring internal communications effectiveness includes:
- Determining employees' knowledge of or commitment to the organization's values
- Gauging employees' understanding of and involvement in new activities and initiatives
- Visibility of and employees' improved perception of senior management
- Evaluating the effectiveness of individual supervisors in communicating new initiatives or priorities
- Determining the accessibility of the information to the employees
- Determining the effectiveness of the upward communication process - if management listens to its employees
- Assessing the effectiveness of the communication channels used to share knowledge within the organization
Learning about these objectives will assist companies in formulating communication effectiveness survey questions. Most times, looking beyond the present and envisaging the end of the process to see what kind of results we want and how we can use them, will clearly define the objectives. It is crucial to consult everybody before jumping into the measurement process.
Factors to consider in designing an internal communication survey for your company
It is relevant to gain reliable measurement with an objective questionnaire or survey. These are some of the factors to consider in designing the questions to ask in an internal communication survey:
- In developing the content, consider information that is needed to assess and prioritize communication.
- Create interesting questions to encourage the respondents to continue and not give up halfway.
- It may be tempting to ask questions that require only simple responses such as 'agree' or 'disagree', and 'yes' or 'no' but sometimes there should also be a mix of essential questions that provide opportunities for them to express their concerns in their own words.
- Sometimes, respondents who don't feel very strong views on certain matters just choose the positive side since they aren't that firm to be on the negative side.
- Open questions can be included with the pre-coded ones and these can be used to express themselves spontaneously and in their own words. A few questions of this kind would be good to include in the types of questions to ask for an internal communication survey.
Considering demographics in internal communication survey questions
One of the sections of the questionnaire will be about the respondent's profile. Ensure you ask questions that will only be relevant to the study as employees are concerned about their privacy. Too much information may lead to the identification of who they are which defeats the purpose of having an anonymous employee survey. It is recommended that a separate analysis of groups be done if there are at least 10 respondents. The purpose is to assure that the individuals will not be identified.
Top workplace communication survey questions
Melcrum, one of the leading Internal Communication companies has compiled the top ten questions to include in an internal communication questionnaire. These questions were discussed and voted by their members as the questions that elicit the most useful responses from the employee-respondents and help shape the company's internal communication strategy. The top ten questions (out of 25) voted for employee engagement survey questionnaires are the following:
- How do you feel about coming to work every morning?
- Does your manager inspire you?
- Do the days you DO want to come to work outnumber the days you DON'T want to come to work?
- Choose five words that best describe how you feel about coming to work
- Do you feel proud to tell people where you work?
- Do you have the tools to enable you to do your job effectively?
- Do you have the opportunity to contribute to decisions that affect you?
- Do you understand how your role contributes to achieving business outcomes?
- Do you trust the information you receive?
- Do you feel valued for the work you do?
We’ve created a questionnaire template with 25 questions you can download and use for you internal communication survey for free.
Communication surveys as a quick way to canvas the workplace
Sending short surveys to the organization – known as pulse surveys – is an easy and effective way to canvas the workplace to get feedback quickly. Many organizations have been using them during the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, as a quick way to keep in touch with remote workforces to determine levels of engagement, checking on health and wellbeing, ensuring they have all they need to do their jobs effectively, etc.
These types of surveys enable management to act quickly to respond to employee needs and any emerging issues.
Tips for running an effective employee communications survey
Running employee surveys doesn’t have to be complicated… in fact, it is possible to over-complicate things to the detriment of the survey and the data. These tips will help you to conduct an internal communications survey smoothly to get the best results:
- Ensure that all questions asked are relevant to the data you need to ensure you keep employees interested and can gather useful information.
- Don’t ask too many questions – it should be long enough to cover off important information.
- Make sure your questions are clear, concise and easy to understand. Ambiguous questions will yield ambiguous answers.
- Put the most important questions at the beginning of the survey in case people fail to answer all the questions.
- Use DeskAlerts to send your surveys to employees’ computers to get their attention in a way they can’t skip or ignore.
- DeskAlerts will also let you send reminders to people until they complete the survey.
- The DeskAlerts analytics tool will let you see data quickly – in real time.
- Be transparent – people will expect to see the results of the surveys, even if it is bad news. If you don’t share this information they may be reluctant to participate in future surveys.
This article was originally published in 2017. We’ve updated it with current information for 2021