Discussions online

Employee survey response rate

Q Our recent employee survey had a response rate of 57%. We were wondering if this is a good response rate and what do other companies get?

A It sounds OK to me. It depends how you did it. My team achieved 75% a few years ago, but the effort was enormous and, given that it was a single-site then, not surprising. My boss set a target of 30% based on his perception of what is normal in multi-site environments, but there is no magic answer. However, it does set a benchmark for next year.

A Anything between 50% and 80% is average. The accuracy depends on your confidence interval though, which is perhaps more important than the actual response rate. The confidence interval is dependent on the sample size and then the number of responses. This figure will show you to how accurate your results are – for example, if a question received a favourable response of 60% and your confidence interval was three, the actual score could range between 57% and 63% (three points either side of your score).

A This web page is useful – www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm – as it gives the definition of confidence intervals and levels, as well as a calculator that will work out the confidence interval for you (you put in the number of people the survey was sent to and how many responded and calculates it for you).

Petty theft

Q One of our problems is the issue of petty theft (in the warehouse sector). Has anyone got any experience or best practice ideas they could offer? I was thinking in terms of reference checking, staff searches and locker searches.

A You can incorporate all the checks you mention, but you need to ensure that this is all documented in a policy (particularly the locker checks). Staff need to know that they are being monitored in line with data protection legislation. For serious theft you can install covert cameras to get your evidence and try to catch the perpetrators. This can be done without staff knowing, but should be for a short period of time only to establish the facts.

Reducing someone’s pay

Q My managing director recently offered a role to someone, with a salary that was deemed too high by me. However, he insisted and we appointed. Now this person has been with us for a few months, the MD feels this person is not worth the money and wants to reduce their salary by £10,000. I feel we may be stuck with only the option of red circling [where the role is downgraded, but the pay is frozen until the person’s salary/job role catches up], but we’ve no massive performance issues to pin the decrease on. Can anyone help?

A If they are a new starter you are fairly safe legally, but why not just dismiss rather than be left with a massive red-circle or a demotivated employee? If you are going to dismiss, make sure that you have the data to support the decision, just in case any action is taken against you.

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