Employee satisfaction – sample survey questions (downloadable template)

The employee satisfaction survey is key to addressing the needs of your workforce. Download our sample satisfaction survey questions for an idea of what and how to ask some difficult questions.

2 mins read
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To understand the needs of your workforce, it’s important to ask the right questions. A mix of questions that require yes/no answers is good to achieve definitive results, but it’s also useful to include ones that offer multiple choice answers or encourage the respondent to provide extra detail about why they feel a certain way. This data can help managers pinpoint areas to address and raise awareness of issues they may not have considered.

Choosing what to ask in your satisfaction survey will depend on whether you’re running a focused survey or want more general findings. The time you launch your survey may also affect the type of questions you ask, such as if there are seasonal factors to consider or imminent changes to the organisation are on the cards.

It goes without saying that in times of organisational stress, the best employers will focus on reassuring their workforce with focused and transparent internal communications. Any uncertainty, especially around job security, is liable to draw knee-jerk responses from an anxious workforce, so consider launching a survey in calmer waters.

10 ways to improve your survey response rate

  1. Pick the right time to launch the survey 

  2. Communicate effectively throughout 

  3. Have a great user experience and make it easy to complete 

  4. Use incentives or competitions (if right for your organisation) 

  5. Keep an eye on response rates in real-time 

  6. Create time and space for all staff to complete it in work time 

  7. Have leaders, managers and champions help demonstrate how important participation is 

  8. Ensure people believe and trust the confidentiality of their responses 

  9. Only survey at the rate you can take action 

  10. Commit to acting on the results 

Most employee surveys focus entirely on traditional workplace topics like engagement, leadership, and manager effectiveness, or lifecycle surveys focus on traditional workplace milestones like onboarding, promotion, and exit.  

When you consider a new definition of employee experience, one that includes the human experience at work, a much broader spectrum of employee listening is required. The ways we listen to employees, gathering their input and perspective, need to change too.

Employee surveys need to pivot to also assess how your employees feel about their preparation for retirement or how they are managing life with a newborn baby. They need to seek to better understand what your organisation can do to help. 

Survey pitfalls to avoid

There are many pitfalls to avoid with employee surveys. Here are some examples of mistakes that can set organisations back in their research, according to employee engagement experts People Insight: 

  • Managers aren’t kept in the loop 

  • Your survey comms falls flat 

  • It launches at the wrong time 

  • A poor response rate 

  • Employee surveys are seen as ‘an HR thing’ 

  • Missing the bigger picture in your survey results 

  • Only sharing the positive feedback 

  • Nothing happens next… 

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New year, new skills: public speaking
8 mins read

New year, new skills: public speaking

​The thought of public speaking usually conjures up one of two things for professionals: terror or acceptance. It rarely seems to be something anyone looks forward to or enjoys unless you’re blessed with natural stage presence, witty repartee, and profound confidence.If you’re looking for a new challenge, learning how to overcome your fears and/or make improvements to your overall presentation style could be one of the best things you do for yourself this year. Not only can it be a huge benefit in your career, but it can also help with life in general – enabling you to speak with confidence and eloquence in situations that may be challenging.Soft skills such as public speaking are highly sought after – and are vital in leadership roles. With dedication and practice, it’s possible for anxious or shy people to finesse their presentation skills and learn how to deliver to any audience. William Hagerup, President of the 104 London Debaters, has been involved with Toastmasters for more than 10 years. He took up public speaking initially for his work which led to it becoming a hobby and passion. At the London club, he mentors people in the art of debate – an exciting challenge for those who have already mastered the art of public speaking.​Q: How transformative can public speaking skills be in the workplace?A:In the workplace, the ability to speak confidently and present in a convincing way can be powerful.Good communication skills can encourage people to get on board with your ideas, regardless of your role. For example, speaking well can make all the difference if you need to sell a product or your own skills in a job interview.Q: Ahead of a presentation, aside from testing any equipment, what key things should the individual do to help their confidence?A:It’s very important to understand what makes your presentation successful, to help you gain confidence."As part of your rehearsal, it’s worth recording your presentation. Watching yourself can be painful, but it’s a useful exercise to help you spot habits or ticks."William HagerupClub President of Toastmasters' 104 London Debaters clubAs part of your rehearsal, it’s worth recording your presentation. Watching yourself can be painful, but it’s a useful exercise to help you spot habits or ticks – I used to have a tendency to move my head too much. If you’re far away from the audience people may not notice these things, but if you’re projected on a big screen, or in an online meeting, the camera magnifies you which can be very distracting for the audience.It’s also useful to get feedback from a trusted mentor, friend, or colleague who is more experienced, and who can give you some honest feedback.Q: Introverts and extroverts – can they master public speaking in the same way?A: It’s often easier for extroverts to stand up in front of people, but it’s okay to have different presentation styles if you don’t have that confidence. The important thing is to find your voice and a way that you can be yourself in front of people without being too nervous, finding peace in being just the way you are.Extroverts, like me, have one disadvantage in that we can sometimes have an unsubstantiated self-confidence which can lead to a lack of focus, and perhaps not communicating in the best way.The introvert tends to be much more careful with their preparation, making sure they have everything clear for the audience, with their PowerPoint and with what they say. I’ve often seen examples of this with the nervous, wobbly-voiced introvert outshining the confident extrovert whose presentation is rushed or disjointed.Q: Handling nerves – what to do when your throat goes dry before you’ve said a word?A: If your nerves are debilitating so that you just can’t deliver, you should practise well in advance.I’ve found breathing slowly and deeply really helps just before you start, and then look away from the audience. Perhaps the introduction is being given before you speak and your heart is pounding – use the moment to look out of the window to distract yourself, just don’t look at the audience.Once you take the podium and you're in the focus, look over their heads and scan back and forth, so you only pretend to look at them – fake it till you make it.Gradually your confidence will build because you’ve realised the sky didn’t fall down and no one is throwing things at you. But still don't look at the audience because sometimes if you’re nervous and start looking at people’s faces for reassurance, it can put you off your stride, especially if they’re not very receptive. Only when your nerves are under control should you start to make eye contact, if you wish.Q: Delivery – can you share any tips for keeping to a designated time slot?A: Preparation again is the key. Run through it a few times and use a timer.A good rule of thumb is to use about 100 words a minute, which is a fairly slow speaking pace but a good one to help the audience follow you. Also, it gives a bit of leeway so that if you do improvise and add things that come to mind as you’re speaking, you have enough space to do that."You should never read from your PowerPoint slides or from a script as it’s really boring. Only refer to them for key points, graphs or pictures that will help engage the audience."William HagerupClub President of Toastmasters' 104 London Debaters clubYou should never read from your PowerPoint slides or from a script as it’s really boring. Only refer to them for key points, graphs or pictures that will help engage the audience and jog your memory if you need it. If you run through that a few times with a timer, you can give a fluent presentation without speaking too fast.If you do need notes to hand, print them large enough that you don’t have to peer at the paper as you’re speaking. You can just have them as a reminder. Index cards are a good idea because you can hold them without fumbling with a big piece of paper, which can act as a barrier between you and the audience. If you are inexperienced or very nervous, write down the main points.Q: When the tech goes wrong – how should you regain composure when the PowerPoint fails?A:It’s good to prepare a joke in advance. If you’re able to say something funny when something goes wrong, it takes the edge off the situation. Perhaps just have an ‘emergency’ question ready to put to the audience or ask if they have any questions.If your presentation depends on you showing some graphs or papers, you might have some print-outs ready to share rather than waiting for something to be fixed, which may take a long time.I think it’s generally better not to rely too much on just one technology. Always think of backups. Q: Presenting online – what common pitfalls are there to avoid?A:The basics are having good light so your face is bright. The sound is very important and should be tested in advance, perhaps with a friend. It might be worth investing in a slightly better microphone which can make a big difference. And then I’d say the position of the camera is important. You don’t want it too far up so that people are looking down at you, and not too far down, because then it looks like you’re standing over them like a strict headmaster.Speakers sometimes get concerned that they need to look at the various screens and look at people’s faces, but audience members often turn off their cameras. I just ignore that a little bit and write my keywords on a document placed on the screen underneath where my camera is, so I’m looking in the direction of the camera. It's not noticeable to the audience because my eyes are in that direction, so they think I'm looking at them. So that’s quite a nice way of doing it and once I finish, I can just take the notes away and more fully engage with people. I also often ask if it’s possible for everyone to turn on their cameras because it’s a bit disconcerting talking to a blank screen or staring at their avatars. And it’s easier for them to zone out and start doing other things and not really pay attention when their cameras are off.Q: Q&A time – what if you don’t know the answer?A:I’m quite strict on this so I would say you should’ve done your homework better. I don’t think one should show up for a presentation if you haven't researched your subject thoroughly. There’s no real excuse for lack of preparation – you’re either showing disrespect for your audience or complete ineptitude if you’re not ready to answer any relevant question.Of course, if it’s not relevant, it’s perfectly fair to say, “I'm sorry, I don’t think that's relevant. It’s not something that is specifically to do with what I said, so I’m not going to be able to answer that one now, but we can talk about it perhaps afterwards or in a different setting”.If something comes up unexpectedly that you ought to have researched, you’re going to have to be honest and say you haven’t explored that in-depth but will be happy to go back to them with an answer through the contact details of the meeting organiser.Looking for a new challenge in 2024? Get in touch with one of our expert consultants today.

The evolution of the CIO: an evolving role
4 mins read

The evolution of the CIO: an evolving role

​Technology has become ingrained in almost every part of business life – no matter the industry or sector.As employers have learned to survive in unstable market conditions, they’ve come to realise the value of having an innovative and business-focused chief information officer (CIO).With technology advancing at an unprecedented pace, the traditional responsibilities of the CIO have expanded, with their role becoming increasingly important to the success of an organisation. In today’s business world, CIOs are required to not only manage IT infrastructure and systems, but also to drive forward and align technology initiatives with overarching business goals.The changing roleHistorically, the CIO's primary focus has been on overseeing the implementation and maintenance of technology systems within an organisation. However, as businesses have become more reliant on technology for their operations and growth, the role has evolved to encompass a broader set of responsibilities.Today, CIOs are expected to be strategic business partners who are there to help enhance operational efficiency and leverage technology to create competitive advantages – maximising the return on the company’s investment in technology. In other words, it’s now essential for a CIO to focus not only on cost savings, but on using technology to add value and increase revenue for the business.CIOs are now required to collaborate closely with other c-suite executives to align technology initiatives with overall business objectives, identify opportunities for digital transformation, and mitigate potential risks associated with technology adoption. It’s an exciting era, as CIOs now have the chance to be transformational leaders who can harness technological advancements and data to consolidate their tech stacks and gain efficiency.Challenges in staying up to dateStaying current with the latest technological developments can be a considerable challenge. The rapid pace of innovation, coupled with the proliferation of widespread AI technologies, presents a daunting task for CIOs looking to stay informed and ready to address the potential impact these technologies can have on their organisation.According to digital adoption platform, Userlane, and leading consultancy, PwC, almost two thirds of CIOs surveyed were concerned that the state of the economy will affect their digital transformation plans. But at the same time, 62% plan to deepen their investment in technology, illustrating just how important technology integration now is at leadership level.One of the biggest challenges is offering digital services that are safe and secure for the consumer, which makes cybersecurity a number one priority for the majority of CIOs; their responsibility is to protect the systems and data that shareholders and stakeholders entrust them with.As cyber threats become more sophisticated, CIOs must continually evaluate and implement robust security measures to safeguard their organisations' data and infrastructure.Understanding the capabilities of AIGiven the uptake in generative AI across the workplace, it’s no surprise that AI is expected to shape the future of business. Large language models (LLMs) will continue to play a part in generating documentation on business processes, designing training programmes, and writing and rewriting code.AI has been hotly anticipated by technology departments for a while, but has only recently reached a point where its potential benefits, capabilities, and enhancements, have become clear. CIOs are being asked to learn what AI is capable of and how it can be harnessed to competitive or strategic advantage across the business – similar to the adoption of any other technology.More recently, generative AI is offering an entry point for companies looking to spearhead investment decisions. Rather than manually researching information, CIOs have the ability to use generative AI to summarise markets, telling them where to look and where to harness department energy.Managing business needsThis transformation now sees CIOs juggling evolving responsibilities, to shape their departments. This requires a thorough understanding of their organisation's strategic objectives – helped by their c-suite role – as well as the ability to identify and prioritise technology initiatives that will best support those objectives.As the role grows, it’s important for CIOs to develop and maintain strong relationships with other business leaders and departments, gaining insights into their challenges and opportunities, and leveraging technology to address them. As a company grows, so does the amount of data, which makes having an innovative leader and strong IT department even more essential.We’re seeing CIOs steering the ship, promoting continuous improvement within their teams, while further encouraging the exploration of new technologies to drive meaningful change to stay competitive, relevant, and secure.The sooner companies realise the true value of the CIO position, the better their chances of success.To find a talented tech professional for your company, or to take the next step in your career ,contact our specialist technology recruiters now.

What are soft skills?
3 mins read

What are soft skills?

​Worried that your lack of skills is letting you down?Soft skills are important in a range of different roles, helping you do everything from negotiating and selling to managing your schedule. You probably have several attributes already that you’re simply not using to your advantage. You just need to learn how to back them up.To find out how to make the most of them, here’s our guide on soft skills – and how they could help land your next job.What are soft skills?Soft skills are general attributes that aren’t specific to a job or industry.They’re usually self-developed, meaning no training is needed to build them. And because they can be applied to many different roles, soft skills are always desirable – no matter what field you’re working in.List of soft skills Soft skills are a combination of many different things, including social skills, character traits and employment qualities. As a result, the number of soft skills is almost endless. Some of the most common examples include: Communication skills Leadership Problem-solving Critical thinking Team working Flexibility Resilience Negotiation skills Why are soft skills important? Although hard skills might be important in some industries, soft skills are important in all of them. They’re what help us bond with other people around the business and fit well within the company culture. Without them, even someone with the right qualifications could end up alienating themselves in their role, or not having the right mindset to do their job effectively. They’re also what help distinguish us from other potential candidates when we look for a new position. What are the advantages of soft skills? One of the biggest advantages of soft skills is that they don’t limit you to working within one industry. They are transferable skills, allowing you to demonstrate your personality and effectiveness to prospective employers, even if you have limited experience in their field. For example, your excellent communication skills may have made you good at selling. But many other sectors outside of sales require people who can communicate well – whether it’s by attracting new customers, building relationships with suppliers or working effectively in a team. Also, everyone has some form of soft skills. They require no formal training and are usually picked up through previous positions or experiences – meaning you might already have some great attributes you can use to your advantage. What are the disadvantages of soft skills? Although they’re valuable, soft skills won’t always be enough to get you the job. Some industries require more formal qualifications or experience to get your foot in the door, and without these prerequisites, your soft skills may not be enough. Soft skills are also extremely difficult to measure, meaning some employers don’t appreciate their true value until you’ve actively been able to demonstrate them. How do I demonstrate soft skills on my CV? It’s never enough to say you have soft skills – you need to back them up. When it comes to writing a CV that means adding practical examples to show times when you’ve put your soft skills to good use. For example, stating you have good problem solving skills sounds fine. But saying ‘good problem solving skills, demonstrated when I successfully overcame X’ will come across much better to employers – not to mention add value to your CV. And the best part? A list of desirable skills will already be provided for you in the job description. All you need to do is prove them. If you struggle to think of good examples, use the STAR technique to help get you started. Can I learn soft skills? Soft skills are self-developed. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be taught. There are a wide range of courses out there to help you improve everything from your organisation skills through to your public speaking. So, even if it’s not something you’re particularly strong on right now, there’s no reason you can’t get better. Figure out what skills you think you need to improve, find a course and get started.