Since no two businesses are alike, it's impossible to provide a "one-method-fits-all" process for assessing employee needs. Keep in mind the following factors when you're designing a process that's right for your workplace.
Confidentiality: Confidentiality is important to consider when deciding on the method of information gathering as it can be a major barrier to employee participation. Is there open communication in your organization? Would employees feel more comfortable giving their opinions privately and anonymously? For example employees may feel constrained if their employer or supervisor is present at an information gathering.
Literacy levels: Do all your employees read the language used in your workplace? At what level? Is print the best way to communicate or is an employee meeting a better option?
Cultural mix: Do cultural practices make information gathering between different groups of employees difficult? Do you need to use more than one method of information gathering that is sensitive to these differences?
Shiftwork: Do rotating shifts in the workplace make it difficult to gather information? You may need to allow for various strategies to get maximum participation.
Time available: Finding the time to assess needs and interests in your workplace is important. The ideal would be to provide work-time for information gathering.
Adapted from Health Works Guide retrieved August 27, 2013. Link is http://www.mentalhealthworks.ca/employers/free-resources/workplace-health-system/health-works-guide#a6