Employee satisfaction/engagement surveys are a one way traffic systems. They are about what the company gives you, or does not. I suggest this is intrinsically wrong since there is no such a thing as one way traffic in a relationship. It is not only a missing opportunity to look at the other side of the traffic, but also a fundamentally flawed system to apply context to the validity of the answers.
I am picking on the very well known 12 questions of the Gallup questionnaire, a well established system with a multimillion answers database, not because these questions are wrong, far from it, but to show what an alternative 24 questions (in italics) may look like.
Do you know what is expected of you at work?
Have you expressed your own expectations to your employer?
Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right?
Have you asked for the support or technology that will enhance or improve your work?
At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
Do you create or seek the opportunities to make the best of your skills?
In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
In the last week, have you praised colleagues for their work, or acknowledged the praise that you have received?
Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
Do you care about your colleagues as people, or shown that you do care to them?
Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
Is there someone whom you help develop as a professional, even with small advise or support?
At work, do your opinions seem to count?
Do you express, or try to express your opinions and speak up?
Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?
Do you work with the mission and the values of the company in mind?
Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?
Do you do quality work that show your commitment to it, in a way that others can emulate?
Do you have a best friend at work?
Have you alienated colleagues or lost friends at work recently?
In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
In the last six months, have you brought up a conversation about the collective progress of the group or team?
In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?
In the last year, have you taken any of the always present opportunities to learn and grow?
Employee satisfaction surveys do not usually include any question about personal responsibility. After all, one can say, it is about the employee’s engagement or satisfaction. But in this way, they reinforce a one way traffic relationship. It is the language of exams, not of collaboration. The results, and the scores up and down, wrongly fix the attention on what is right or wrong (mostly wrong) in the organization-employer, as if the employee was a passive rating machine, a beneficiary of goods at best, a sufferer and a victim at worse. And the defendant always pays for the survey.
Imagine a score that shows: At work, do your opinions seem to count? = 10%. Terrible. But this is the chicken.
Now imagine: Do you express, or try to express your opinions and speak up?= 10%. Terrible. But this is the egg.
Chicken-only conversation, or egg-only conversation, can’t simply be interpreted. The results are meaningless.
Those surveys have only one direction. Half of the story is always missing.
I does not make any sense.