Four Tips for a Successful Engagement Survey

When crafted and administered thoughtfully, employee surveys can provide invaluable feedback. Obtaining honest employee feedback is an essential step to improving engagement and productivity. However, there is a lot more than goes into a survey than writing up some questions and sending a mass email. To help make your survey a success, we’ve developed a list of our top four tips to always keep in mind.

Show your support. Senior management buy-in on an employee engagement survey is a must. Showcasing the business reasons for the survey is a great jumping off point, but without the support of your executive team there’s a change the survey will fall flat. To get over this hurdle, facilitate meetings with your executive team to give them an opportunity to voice any concerns and take part in the concepting.

Keep it short and sweet. Tribe’s recommendation is to keep employee surveys to less than 25 questions, and the survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Throwing a lengthy survey out to employees could hurt your completion percentage. If strategically written, survey length can usually be significantly slimmed down without compromising the analysis and results.

Be clear on the survey’s anonymity. Employees are much more likely to respond candidly and honestly if they know you won’t be able to trace their answers back to them. Using too many demographic questions can sometimes make employees feel like as if you are trying to track respondents. Working with a third-party vendor like Tribe can also contribute to employees feeling more secure in their responses.

Deliver on your promise. One of the worst things you can do after delivering a survey is not following up. Communicating that your survey will affect change will empower your employees and managers to speak openly about their challenges and suggestions. Think of the reasons you are administering the survey and be prepared to take action on what you uncover. If nothing else, you can share the survey results with your employees.

When Developing Mobile Intranets, Think About What Makes a Good App

We used to say that companies hoping to attract and retain the top Gen X talent absolutely had to have an intranet. That generation has grown up with the world wide web at their fingertips, and they expect to be able to find whatever information they’re looking for online.

Now we talk a great deal about how important it is for Millennial employees to be able to access the intranet from their phones. At Tribe, we’ve gotten in the habit of developing the graphic design of intranets in the mobile format before the online version because we find it easier to adapt mobile to monitor than vice versa.

Actually, we should probably be thinking of the mobile version as its own animal entirely. People use smartphones for many of the same things they use their computers for, but they don’t use them in the same way. Designing a better mobile intranet might mean thinking of it as an app.

One of the most important hurdles to cross in creating a well-trafficked intranet is to make it easy to get to.  For mobile intranets, we can take a cue from the app designers. “Successful apps offer ease, convenience and functionality so users can simply open them up instead of resorting to using a browser, such as Safari,” says Emilie Futterman in a recent post on designing apps that appeal to Millennials.

Those of us planning mobile intranets might also take note of another point Futterman makes about successful apps. “Pocket, Uber, and ScoreCenter are successful because they’re not asking users to create new behaviors: calling for a car, checking sports scores, and catching up on news on your commute aren’t new habits,” she writes. “Instead, they’re disrupting existing routines by providing the same services conveniently at millennials’ fingertips.”

As our working population continues to include more and more Millennials, we’ve also become a more mobile workforce. Now that even your mother has an iPhone, we might expect that what works for the young ones would likely work for the rest of us as well.


Anonymity in Employee Feedback

I was speaking to a friend, a senior in college, who was about to make her first foray into the working world. She’s a confident, well-rounded student, who prepared for the workforce by taking two semesters worth of internships and starting her networking early. As a result, she isn’t really worried about getting a job, but as a communications major she is worried about having a voice in the company she ends up working for.

It’s something that I hear often from fellow Millenials, and a concern voiced to Tribe from employees of all ages. So I asked her, “If it were up to you, how would you want to voice your opinions and ideas?” She replied with two simple requests and one tricky one.

1) To have a way to send feedback, a channel that she could access on a regular basis, be it monthly or quarterly, in order to stay updated.

2) Have the ability to express feedback in “more than just a multiple choice survey” and use her own words.

3) Make it so her voice could reach the top of the company while still remaining anonymous.

The third point is the tricky one. It’s hard to want to use your voice to express your unique problems while still remaining completely anonymous. The most effective way to collect employee data, especially numbers focused on communications, requires that the company know a few details about the employee; including which branch they work for (to see where initiatives are working, where they aren’t), what their position is at the company (to ensure the initiative is being dispersed evenly), and possibly even how long they’ve been working at the company (to judge how the initiative is being received amongst new workers vs. veterans of the company). With that information, employees feel it would be easy to deduce where the feedback is coming from. Open-ended questions can even give clues as to exactly who wrote it.

Couple that with the fact that most of us are pretty timid to speak up about issues within the company in the first place. And it’s easy to see why people don’t want to be the one to identify a problem. They could be blamed, charged with fixing it, or have their colleagues treat them differently if it means changing processes or creating extra work. People fear for their job security if identifying a problem makes them stand out and not seem like a good fit.

Tribe has been working with a business that just experienced a large shift in culture. To see how the new initiatives were working, the company created an anonymous employee survey. And the results were good. Too good. They were beaming. And while we had felt that the transition was going well and some of the feedback was genuine, many employees had expressed the fact that the survey, though it did not ask them their names, did not feel truly anonymous. And though we thought that may have swayed their opinions, it seemed impossible for the company to determine what information was honest and what was said out of fear of being “discovered.”

Enlisting a third party agency is a common way companies ensure anonymity. That way, the agency can collect individual responses to provide the company with analytics and present the open-ended feedback in a way that is detached from the parts of the survey that could potentially identify the employee. Still, some employees could be wary of anything they say about their company.

How do you feel is the best way to collect employee feedback? Is there a foolproof way to receive truly transparent feedback? Respond anonymously in the comments below.