We recently did an employee survey survey for a client. This was the company’s first survey and the managers were nervous. “What if we raise expectations that we can’t meet?” Great question.
For surveys to do more good than harm, managers have to do a lot of things right. Two of the most important are designing a survey process that people can trust and following through on the issues that come out of the survey.
Trust usually boils down to confidentiality. Employees want to know that they can be honest without fearing for their jobs. They want to know that managers can’t find out who said what.
Follow through means doing something concrete with the survey results. We often recommend that task forces be formed to grapple with the problems and present solutions. This gets employees involved and energized by using their talents.
The bottom line is that setting high expectations is usually a good thing, as long as you do your best to meet them.