Making the most of Employee Surveys

14 October 2022

Tags: Monitoring & Accountability

Read the latest network blog by Rachael Saunders, IBE's Deputy Director.

Having been in role at the IBE for a month now, I’ve had the opportunity to be part of some fascinating conversations with ethics practitioners in business.

One of our most interesting challenges is how the ethics function in a business can achieve two key objectives. Firstly, to have the impact and influence that they need to have, in disseminating information and influencing culture. And secondly, how can they get the feedback or insights that they need, to understand the extent to which ethical behaviours and values are being adopted.

In our last business ethics practitioners meeting, we had two very different presentations on using surveys as a tool. One showed how a simple question set, rolled out as an employee survey over time, with a sample of employees being asked the same questions each week, delivered real value as an insight into what people were thinking and feeling. And, because the questions remained the same over a number of years, the impact of training, communications and other initiatives could be measured. The data from the question set was triangulated with other data sources, as well as contextual insights to reflect on any variance in responses between business units or sites.

The second presentation, was fascinating in giving us some answers to a really challenging question – If you keep having challenges in one part of your business, whether that be unethical behaviour or issues with compliance, but you can’t work out why, what can you do about it? A methodology that uses a really deep dive by asking questions that help to understand how and why people make the choices they do, gives us the chance to design solutions that might actually work. Because this allows us to better understand the context and culture people are operating in.

Understanding, measuring and shaping organisational culture is never simple, but it is vital to success in building an ethical organisation.

We are finalising a good practice guide on this topic and would love any compelling insights you have to share –


Rachael Saunders
Rachael Saunders

Deputy Director

Rachael is Deputy Director of the Institute and is responsible for our research programme, and our advisory and training services. She is most interested in how research can generate insights that inspire action. 

Rachael has collaborated with senior leaders across business, charities, communities, local and central government. After gaining her first degree in Politics and History from the University of Durham, and a Masters in Gender and Social Policy from the London School of Economics, Rachael worked in Westminster, then for Carers UK, for UNISON, the public sector trade union, and for the TUC, on skills policy. She was at Business in the Community for over ten years, as an expert in workplace diversity and then in education business partnerships. As a Director at BITC, she worked closely with the Department for Work and Pensions, the then Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and business leaders from Aviva, Barclays, Nationwide, UBS, McKinsey and many more.  Her most recent role was on the SLT of Speakers for Schools as it scaled its delivery of opportunities for young people. 

She has held a number of trustee roles including on the board of the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, the Bromley by Bow Centre and East End Homes. She is currently chair of a charity called Sister System.  She was an elected local councillor for ten years and served as leader of the Labour Group on Tower Hamlets Council. In 2019 Rachael gained an MSc from Birkbeck, University of London, in Business Ethics and Corporate Governance, with a dissertation focussed on how boards communicate their community engagement. 

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