Develop Your Talent


Staff satisfaction survey

Employee Surveys

Understanding your staff's perceptions is the first step in creating the culture you want. 

CDS Consulting Co-op offers two customizable employee surveys that combine quantitative and qualitative methodology to provide management with information essential to understand and address employee issues, set priorities and report on compliance with Board policies. Both surveys follow a double blind process using online survey software developed by CoopMetrics that builds staff confidence and participation in the survey while protecting their anonymity. Survey questions are available in Spanish as needed.

CDS CC Workplace Satisfaction Survey offers questions targeted to topics essential to productive positive workplaces such as Communication, Supervision, Training and Development, Human Resources Practices, Co-op wide Management Practices, Co-op Operations, and Department Operations, as well as Board Policies on Staff Treatment and Compensation.

Click here for more information on our Policy Compliance Survey, which is an abbreviated version of the above survey that focuses solely on providing data for GM monitoring reports on Board policies.

Workplace Satisfaction Survey Features

  • Co-op Comparison Table with gap analysis of data from over 200+ peer co-op surveys
  • Onsite interviews to support data results
  • Analysis by Department and Seniority
  • In-person Presentation of Survey Highlights to Management Team
  • Written Report to Management with Recommendations
  • Written Staff Report
  • Policy Compliance Report suitable for sharing with Board
  • Assistance with pre-survey planning and launch including customized staff memo
  • ALL CDS CC Employee Surveys:
  • Absolutely confidential. Not only should staff have confidence that their ratings and comments on a survey questionnaire will not be revealed to anyone, they should also know that the survey data will be analyzed without bias – something only external experts can provide.
  • Contains questions targeted to elicit answers in terms of board expectations and policies. We design questions that will give the GM and the board the data they need to know whether management is in compliance. We will write a separate report for the GM to provide to the board.
  • Reflects the opinions of ALL the staff (or a randomly selected portion for surveys that only measure compliance with Board policies). Participants should not self-select based on the intensity of their interest. Self-selection tends to skew results, usually toward the negative. We work with management to ensure that all eligible staff complete the questionnaires. We set a target of not less than 90% participation and usually get 100%.
  • Surveys taken online: CoopMetrics created a survey program exclusively for CDS CC making taking the survey easy and efficient for your employees. Each employee is assigned a key code so we can identify which key codes have not been used. The HR manager can then follow up with those key code-holders to remind them to take the survey.
  • Follow-up one-to-one interviews with randomly selected employees to provide more insight into the meaning of the survey results. Staff are more likely to open up to an unbiased outsider that ensures confidentially. We find these follow-up interviews to be essential in interpreting the scores. The questions we ask in these interviews are based on the survey results, so they vary from one survey to another.
  • Compares results to peer organizations to get a sense of whether the scores are “high” or “low.” We have conducted over 140 surveys for retail natural food co-ops in the past 20 years. We have a database of the responses to which we can compare your employees’ responses.
  • Uses standard deviation as a tool to see where employees strongly differ, or not, on any given question. This is an essential aid in interpreting survey results, particularly on questions concerning discrimination.
  • Sorts responses by departments. Analyze results by departments to shed light on survey responses. Is one department low-scoring across the board and dragging the organizational average down? Is another department feeling “us against the co-op” by scoring low on all the general questions but very high on questions about their own department and supervisor? Department manager and upper manager responses are sorted in their own groups as opposed to lumping them in with the departments they supervise) so that the general manager and store manager can get feedback on their supervision of their direct reports.
  • Sorts responses by other demographics. We can sort results by other factors such as length of service (seniority) and status (full-time/part-time.)
  • Reports back to the staff. When the survey addresses communication and operational questions rather than exclusively compliance with policies, we write a shorter version of the longer detailed report to management for distribution to staff.

Click here for more information on how Employee Surveys can be used to Monitor Board Policy

CDS Consulting Co-op has recently conducted surveys using this methodology for BriarPatch, Boise Co-op, Central Co-op, Chequamegon Food Co-op, Chico Natural Foods Co-op, Common Ground Food Co-op, Community Food Co-op (Bellingham), Community Food Co-op (Bozeman), Community Mercantile, Cook County Whole Foods Co-op, Co-opportunity, Davis Food Co-op, East End Food Co-op, Eastside Food Co-op, Food Conspiracy, Food Front, Franklin Community Co-op, Hanover Consumers Co-op, Just Food Co-op, Kootenay Co-op, Mississippi Market, Moscow Food Co-op, Neighborhood Co-op Grocery, New Orleans Food Co-op, North Coast Co-op, Oryana Natural Foods Market, Outpost Natural Foods, Ozark Natural Foods, Port Townsend Food Co-op, River Market, River Valley Market, Roanoke Natural Foods, Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, Seward Co-op, St. Peter Food Co-op, Three Rivers Co-op, TPSS Co-op, Viroqua Food Co-op, Weavers Way, Wheatsfield Co-op, Wheatsville Co-op, Whole Foods Co-op (Duluth), Wild Oats Market.

Associated Consultants

Carolee Colter

Employee Surveys, Human Resources Systems, Tools and Training

Helena O'Connor, SPHR

Employee Surveys, Human Resources Systems, Tools and Training

Melanie Reid

Employee Surveys, Human Resources Systems, Tools and Training

Sarah Dahl

Compensation Analysis, Employee Surveys, Human Resources Systems, Tools and Training

“ I highly suggest that every co-op conduct surveys with CDS Consulting Co-op. Our staff very much trust CDS CC and are open and honest on the survey. The survey recommendations allow us to celebrate our wins and make corrections where there are opportunities for improvement. ”

Beth Ley, Human Resources Manager, Wheatsville Food Co-op, Austin, Tx.

“ The CDS Consulting Co-op Staff Survey was a very effective tool for helping me understand how our employees view their workplace. This was a much needed eye opener for us and it gave us information that we could actually use - double A+ from me! ”

Care Kerlin, General Manager, Whole Foods Cooperative, Erie, Penn.

“ The employee survey reporting that Carolee conducted for BriarPatch was the best I’ve seen. The analysis was thorough, methodology was logical and the recommendations were on target with the findings of the survey. ”

Debbie Plass, Board President, BriarPatch Community Market, Grass Valley, Calif.

“ I always look forward to the results and the feedback compiled from our staff so we can work on ways to improve the Co-op. It is such a valuable tool. I appreciate your suggestions for ways to implement things that will make a real difference. ”

Michelle Oliver, Store Manager, Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op

“ Melanie Reid conducted our staff survey and we were very pleased. The value of having an outside experienced surveyor gives the ability to look at the statistical relevance of the results and to benchmark with outside standards. The survey was well worth the money spent. We highly recommend Melanie. ”

Phyllis Miller, Board Chair, Maple City Market, Goshen Ind.

“ Our Co-op has done 4 employee surveys with CDS Consulting Co-op and we find them a valuable tool to reaffirm that we are focusing our energy in all the right places. Our staff feel empowered by providing feedback, and our managers use this feedback to improve all aspects of their departments. ”

Sarah Bedo, HR Manager, Kootenay Country Store Cooperative

Associated Case Studies

Upcoming Events


Check out our open-access library!

It is a great resource for understanding all of the particulars of good governance - from agenda planning to policy templates, you can find it all in our Library.

VISIT THE LIBRARY