How's Business? Ask Your Employees

What Does It Mean?

What you do with the results of this survey is look inside the four walls of your business to see the big picture, and the many smaller pictures that make it up. These surveys should be broken down to give a total score for each store, if you have more than one outlet. Within the store, they should be broken down by category. In the food service business--the largest employer in America, with 12 million people working--you want results tabulated for back-of-the-house (kitchen staff), front-of-the-house (dining room and bar), and management.

In an auto dealership, you'd break it down by service (garage and service desk separately!), parts, sales (used and new), accounting, and so on. Be creative and look inside your four walls to see who your internal customers are, what categories they naturally fall into, and how they can be surveyed.

If you run a professional service business, such as an architecture firm, you've got a front-of-the-house in your receptionists; you've got back-of-the-house internal customers in your design and drafting staff; you've got your sales executives, legal advisors, subcontractors, billing and accounting, and so on.

We often see these surveys produce fascinating and divergent results. You'd be surprised how many management surveys show zero percent recommending their own business as a place to either patronize or work. Guess where a business with that result needs to start in its marketing? If your managers hate your business, you need to figure out how to get them excited, engaged, or on their way to another job!

In a chef-driven restaurant, we often see that the back-of-the-house scores are better than the front. And if it's a business where there's a lot of customer contact and service, the scores in the front of the house will tend to be better.

Here's an important survey question, and the answer will be one of the most telling you get. Ask your employees if they see your business as a place they would recommend to friends or associates--either to patronize or to work. If your employees would not recommend you, you're missing a huge opportunity for improvement. Your staff, as your internal customers, should be among your most powerful marketing tools.

Pay close attention to how likely your staff are to recommend your business as a place to work. If only one out of four employees does so, you need to address that before you start any external marketing program. Otherwise, you're wasting your efforts and driving customers to a bad experience, the opposite of the result you seek.

Sample Survey Questions

Even if you hire a company to administer the survey to your employees, you may want to have them include the following questions:

Rating System: 1 = I do not agree, 3 = somewhat agree, 5 = fully agree

___ 1. I use my talents well at work; my skills and abilities are being fully utilized.

___ 2. I get along well with my supervisors.

___ 3. I am comfortable expressing my true feelings to others in a safe way.

___ 4. I view my employment here more as a career than as a job.

___ 5. There are things about working here that encourage me to work hard.

___ 6. There are work standards in place that enable me to judge my own job performance.

___ 7. Management is concerned with each individual co-worker's long-term goals.

___ 8. I look forward to going to work.

___ 9. I am asked for input when marketing programs are being evaluated; I feel I am an integral part of any marketing program.

___ 10. I am satisfied with my chances for getting ahead in this organization in the future.

___ 11. Would you recommend our business/establishment/service as a place to work?

___ 12. Would you recommend our business/establishment/service to your friends and family?

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