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.

Stephen Burns

How do you determine your company’s culture?

In an ideal world, your company’s culture stems and grows organically from day one. It’s a grassroots force that spreads from employee to employee, that continues to grow and evolve to support your business.

But often, companies grow rapidly and culture gets lost in the hurried pace of business. Culture takes time to resonate with people. If a company is opening offices and acquiring new partners, especially globally, it can be hard to unite employees under a common culture.

Companies need to evaluate their culture in order to connect with employees. Elements of cultures are undoubtedly growing amongst employees. Your company can really gain an advantage from uniting what is already out there. From a cohesive culture, employees can communicate easier and more effectively. It also helps to ground your business and lets employees understand both your company purpose and their personal purpose within your company.

Here are three steps from Tribe to help discover what makes your company culture tick.

1) Leadership Interviews

Start at the top, by sitting down with members of the leadership team to discuss where they would like their culture to be. Ask about their vision for the organization, as well as their mission and values. Get them to talk about their one-year or five-year goals for the business. You can’t develop a communications plan to align employees with the vision if you don’t understand what that vision looks like.

2) Employee Interviews or Focus Groups

This can be done one on one, either in person or by phone, or in group sessions, although like any focus group, one strong personality can dominate the discussion without a skilled moderator to foster more inclusion. For a representative sample, make sure you’re including employees of different business units, geography, seniority, gender, ethnicity and from functions that cover the gamut from sales to enterprise services to manufacturing or the frontline. This is a time consuming stage, but will provide some of the most critical insights for strategic development.

3) Employee Survey

Surveys allow you to quantify the themes and issues you’ve uncovered in the qualitative stages of Discovery and to gather more general cultural statistics about the employee population. The most useful surveys are structured in ways that allow for a close look at the cultural differences between business units and other silos, geography and demographics. An effective cadence for a comprehensive survey is once or twice a year. Including a number of open-ended questions helps ferret out the intention behind the responses. But keep in mind that it’s important to build in an appropriate level of anonymity so that employees feel safe in answering openly. For a couple of reasons, employee surveys should be fielded regularly. First, these are important tools that measure changes or improvements and allow leaders to understand what’s going on inside the company. Second, if surveys only occur in the midst of major change, lots of angst and negative energy can become associated with an otherwise helpful tool.

Engagement Has to Keep Engaging

At Tribe, we understand the engagement Catch-22. After implementing an engagement program the scores usually go up. Leadership then calls it a success and thinks the work is done. However, this is not the time to stop engaging. In fact the work is never done. Maintaining engagement isn’t any easier than improving it. You can’t increase the scores and then put engagement on autopilot.

This mindset is common from leadership. More often than not, leadership is more highly engaged. They see the vision and big picture and their role in it. It’s important that this vision trickles down to help the rest of the employees stay engaged as well. Leadership lives and breathes it and they have to make sure their employees do too. Leadership can have a far-reaching impact and that’s why they understand the importance of sustained engagement more than others within the company.

Your post engagement survey is not the end. It’s actually the new beginning. Companies actively working to improve engagement score higher in studies and financially outperform those that don’t have engagement programs. The good news is you already know where to start. The post survey is your new starting line. Unless you scored 100 percent, there is more work to do. It’s important that people of all ranks and geographies get equal billing in the survey. It’s easy to subjectively dismiss findings that don’t appeal to what you want to hear or that can be easily explained away.

The post survey is crucial to determining the next course of action. At Tribe, we usually recommend an 18-month program. The plan should be cohesive and include different things to target different employees. By looking at how you scored, you have a road map for engagement. Sometimes it’s good to do additional values work. Other times you might want to add a recognition program. There is not going to be a one size fits all solution and it’s not always going to be an easy process. The important thing is to keep sustaining. You have the fish on the line, reel it in.