Brittany Walker

Three tips to optimize your employee survey

Employee surveys can be a great source of valuable insight into your company. Obtaining honest feedback from employees is an important step to improving overall engagement. However, a lot of the legwork comes after the survey is complete. Here is a list of our top three tips to get the most out of your employee survey.

1.  Slice and dice your findings. Asking demographical questions at the beginning of your survey like age, gender, tenure, work function, etc., will allow you to take your analysis to the next level. Knowing that 20 percent of your employees are unhappy with their work-life balance is good to know, but being able to pin point a specific department or office location where the problem is occurring could help solve the issue even faster.

2.  Keep your word on the survey’s anonymity. If the survey was advertised to employees as anonymous, it’s important that it is treated that way. 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. Working with a third-party vendor like Tribe can also contribute to employees feeling more secure in their responses.

3.  Deliver on your promise. One of the worst things you can do afterdeploying 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.

Tribe specializes in crafting, executing and analyzing employee surveys. If you need help with your next survey, Tribe can help.

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

3 Ways to Survey Employees Without Computers

How do you survey non-desk workers? Online surveys are great for employee populations sitting in front of computers, but they aren’t very good at capturing responses from all those on the manufacturing line, in retail stores and in other non-desk positions.

Some companies ask non-desk workers to visit a shared computer in a break room or at a kiosk. Without some serious motivation, hourly employees are not going to be lining up on their break time to answer a company survey.

As in most non-desk employee communications, you need to be a little more creative. Here are three ways to make surveys more accessible to employees without dedicated computers:

  1. Scannable paper surveys:  How did they do surveys before online surveys? Right. On paper. You print the survey; make it available to employees at a time and place that’s convenient for them; and establish a process for collecting those surveys. For scanning, you can contract with a vendor for scannable surveys, or use software that allows you to scan responses in house.
  2. 800 number: Here’s a low-tech solution that’s non-desk friendly, although you’d want to keep the number of questions limited. Employees call a toll-free number, respond to multiple choice questions by pressing a number and to open-ended ones by recording their response.
  3. Text surveys: In many non-desk employee populations, more people own smart phones than home computers. If you offer employees the chance to opt in to text surveys, many of them will likely be willing to answer one to three question surveys at regular intervals.

One caveat to all the above: respect the limits of the non-exempt employee’s workday. You’ll probably want to make it very clear that employees are not expected to answer these surveys on their own time, and to construct a way for them to participate while they’re on the clock.

Interested in finding ways to reach your non-desk employees? Tribe can help.

Brittany Walker

Three ways to get the most out of your employee survey

Employee surveys can become a source of invaluable information for your company. Obtaining honest employee feedback is an essential step to improving engagement and productivity. However, a lot of the legwork is necessary after the survey is complete. Tribe has developed a list of our top three tips to always keep in mind.

1. Slice and dice your findings. Asking demographical questions at the beginning of your survey like age, gender, tenure, work function, etc., will allow you to take your analysis to the next level. Knowing that 20 percent of your employees are unhappy with their work-life balance is good to know, but being able to pin point a specific department or office location where the problem is occurring could help solve the issue even faster.

2. Keep your word on the survey’s anonymity. If the survey was advertised to employees as anonymous, it’s important that it is treated that way. 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. Working with a third-party vendor like Tribe can also contribute to employees feeling more secure in their responses.

3. 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.

Tribe specializes in crafting, executing and analyzing employee surveys. If you need help with your next survey, Tribe would love to help.

Brittany Walker

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 chance 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.

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

What Can You Subtract From Your Internal Communications?

Do you need to delete anything? It’s typical for us all to think of what channels or vehicles we’d like to add to our internal communications programs. But at Tribe, we also address what to subtract.

That’s not to say we don’t advocate a full spectrum of communications, so that you cast a net wide enough to keep entire groups of employees from slipping through. We recommend you look at how your program serves up information for different generations in your workforce, different genders, different geography, different languages, different types of employees (from those sitting in front of computers at headquarters to those working out in the field).

Yet sometimes there are a few communication methods that aren’t working. If measurement tells you a printed newsletter is not being read, if employee feedback is that they’re not sure what’s on that aging portal or how to get there, then maybe you should put those items out of their misery.

We’re always in danger of giving employees too much information — just as there’s always the risk you’re not giving them enough. It’s a careful balance that needs to be re-addressed every so often, with annual measurement or employee surveys or intranet feedback, to make sure you’re offering them enough choices to accomodate their preferences for how they receive information, but not to overwhelm them with too much stuff they don’t know what to do with.

In a communications audit, we’ll generally make a recommendation to keep some vehicles just as they are, to tweak some of them, and often to subtract some. For one client, we found that their fantastic quarterly employee magazine was never even seen by one of our major intended audiences — those rank-and-file employees who weren’t managers. We subtracted that magazine and replaced it with a three-pronged program that included one vehicle for those in management positions and two vehicles that would reach that important non-desk audience.

For another client, we found literally dozens of vehicles but no cohesive plan for how they all work together as an organic whole. By looking at one piece at a time, you can’t possibly get a good view of the entire puzzle. In their case, they needed to subtract a number of vehicles to get rid of some of the clutter coming at employees.

We also know companies that send all-staff emails on a regular basis — even when the message is only relevant for a subset of the entire staff. In this case, it’s not the vehicle that needs to be subtracted. It’s just huge numbers of their recipients. They need lists that allow them to reach specific groups of employees, like those in one geographic location or those who work in the distribution center or those who are on the company healthcare plan.

If you’re interested in this concept of subtracting, there’s a book you might like. Matthew E. May’s book “The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything.” It’s not specifically about internal communications, but about the subtraction approach to business and life in general.