Since coronavirus struck, we’ve been writing posts about the importance of clear communication and expectation-setting with employees. Those business owners who pivoted operationally and accommodated the needs of their employees would fare best, we said. Now that we’re more than four months into the pandemic, it’s time to ask the question, “How have we handled this?” This question will be best answered by your employees by having them complete a survey.
Why do I Need to Survey my Employees?
Engagement. Engagement. Engagement.
Successful leaders create conscientious core values for their organization that drive every business function. These core values require the collaboration of and buy-in from employees. Therefore it’s critical that you routinely seek feedback from your people to ensure that these values still apply to them and that they feel engaged. This is always a best practice, but it’s more important now than ever.
Where do I Start?
There are several survey tools you can use. You can start with a program like Survey Monkey, one of the most popular names, which allows you to conveniently create customized surveys with any number of templates. Google Forms is another good place to look. There are also heavy duty kinds like those listed here by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). You can always keep it simple with a Word or Excel document.
What Questions do I Ask?
Employees want to be heard, so avoid questions with yes or no responses or “How would you rank such and such?” ones. Open-ended questions show that you care and are the kinds that will elicit honest answers. Examples include:
- How do you feel we’ve handled the pandemic so far?
- In what ways have we met your needs, and in what ways haven’t we?
- How do you feel about the lines of communication?
- How do you feel about your work/life balance?
Be Flexible when Seeking Feedback
As we’ve previously written, the anonymity of survey participants gives employees the freedom to be more forthcoming with their feedback. However, some employees are more comfortable with 1:1 discussions, and it may behoove you to provide that option. It’s all in how you position the idea of wanting feedback. The more you can make it about the employee, the more empowered they will feel.
A survey is the first step to demonstrate to your staff that their feedback matters. But don’t leave it there. Process and analyze the feedback and then act on it. You may find that some simple changes are in store, or perhaps you’ll need to reevaluate your core values altogether. Or, if you’ve been making the right moves all along, you might not have to fix anything.