As introduced in the chapter on the Data Acquisition phase of the HR Analytics Project Life Cycle, the employee survey is a very common data-acquisition tool in HR analytics and can be used to gather information on employees’ perceptions of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors – as well as on behaviors of others. They consist of items (e.g., questions) to which employees are asked to respond, and items can be open-ended (e.g., “Please describe our onboarding experience.”) or close-ended with fixed response options (e.g., “I am satisfied with my job.” [1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Agree]). Further, employee surveys can vary in length and purpose, ranging from shorter yet more frequent pulse surveys on a specific phenomenon to longer yet less frequent annual engagement surveys.
Like any data-acquisition tool, we must be very diligent about evaluating the quality of the data obtained using an employee survey. In fact, one of the best approaches is to design a survey that will acquire exactly the data we wish to acquire and that many employees respond to in an honest and thoughtful manner. That being said, we should always carefully clean and evaluate the data acquired through an employee survey, which includes estimating the reliability of measures included in the survey.
In the following chapters, you will have an opportunity to learn how to work with data from employee surveys in various ways.