Annual employee surveys are not enough

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Mike Miller
Mike Miller

No doubt you're familiar with the annual employee survey. Heck, you're probably more than familiar: You've probably helped execute and manage the process more times than you would like to remember. 

There is nothing easy about this task. If you are not lucky enough to have an enormous budget to outsource it, it is a daunting project and consumes so much time.  

Here's the kicker: By the time you create, print, distribute, and collect the surveys, you still have to analyze the data and try to come up with an action plan that makes some sort of sense. By the time the process is completed, the original data collected is outdated. However, you and your boss are now able to mark that item off of your list of things to accomplish and successfully add it to your performance review.  

It's time to ask: Are you getting the return on your investment? Has employee engagement increased? Has employee turnover decreased?  

Let's be honest.  Annual surveys are fraught with problems. Besides being time consuming and less than effective, they are costing your business a ton of money every year. Not only are you investing the time in the resources in a project that has no real return, you are still losing employees because they feel they feel under-appreciated and have no voice. A study was conducted asking 500 managers why they were dissatisfied with annual surveys.  Here are some of the top reasons:

  • About 33% said they needed to gather feedback on a regular basis so they could effectively tackle the issues.

  • 16% said that the annual surveys do not account for evolving workplaces.

  • 14% recognized that employees will likely only remember recent events – not necessarily issues or concerns they have had had 11 months ago.

If you were a manager taking this survey, would you agree? If you are the leader in your organization and saw these kinds of results and you are not concerned, you should probably check yourself for a pulse. We live in a time where information and knowledge are at our fingertips. Most companies capture daily analytics that provide insights into their key metrics and goals. 

Why don't we capture real-time feedback from our employees so we can act immediately and come to a resolution now instead of 11 months down the road? Imagine if we treated our spouses or significant others like we treated our employees and only allowed them to provide feedback once a year? Exactly. Enough said.

The technology can be implemented providing a real-time look at what your employees really think and how they really feel, and this will give you deep insights into where you need to act. The entire process is managed by a team of professionals – freeing up your managers to do what they do best. It's a fraction of the cost of the annual paper-based surveys, and if you can keep just one employee from jumping ship, the program will pay for itself several times over.  

Do you really care about your employees? The better question to ask is if your employees feel like you care about them? The decision to implement a real-time feedback program could be the best decision you will make all year.  It will more than likely be the least expensive decision, but will result in your greatest return on investment.  

Mike Miller is the founder and CEO of Primo Solutions LLC, a sales training, mystery shopping, satisfaction survey, and consulting company. Primo Solutions LLC is the largest provider of mystery shopping services in the senior living space. 


Mike Miller is the Founder and CEO of Primo Solutions, LLC, a full service Sales Training, Mystery Shopping, Satisfaction Survey, and Consulting company.  Primo Solutions, LLC is the largest provider of mystery shopping services in the senior living space.  Mike is the author of four books, one of which is written specifically for the senior living industry – “Stop Selling and Start Caring.”  

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