“In addition to trying to wow our customers, we also try to wow our employees…We believe that it creates a virtuous cycle, and in our own way, we are making the world a better place to live.” Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh
The first step of “wowing” your employees is simply finding out what they think. Is this a good place to work? Are you happy? What could be better? Organizational surveys provide an opportunity to take the pulse of your company – and then take steps to improve employee and customer satisfaction.
The Value of Anonymity
Every employee participates in an organizational survey. One of the most valuable features is anonymity: this allows individuals to not only provide honest answers, but to pipe up about topics that they may otherwise feel uncomfortable broaching.
For instance, someone might not have felt comfortable saying in a meeting or to a leader: “It would be great if we could do a monthly potluck lunch so people can get to know each other.” In an anonymous forum, though, they can propose those types of ideas.
Leaders have to determine if the feedback is doable. Not every organization is going to let their employees bring their dogs to work. But they can – and should – make reasonable changes to improve the working environment and the satisfaction of their people.
What Can You Expect from an Organizational Survey?
There is any number of areas of inquiry that organizations can cover. Here’s a sampling of categories and statements. Employees rate how strongly they agree or disagree:
- I like my current job, and would prefer to stay in this position.
- I see opportunities for advancement within my current job.
- I see opportunities for advancement within this company.
- I receive training and education that will advance my career.
- My current job is interesting and challenging.
- People in my department encourage each other to pursue career opportunities.
- My department rewards people who develop new skills.
- This department has a formal career-development program.
- There is no effective way to share knowledge and information with associates in
- Departments and teams feel comfortable sharing important information.
- Departments openly share information to facilitate each other’s work.
- I believe my ideas and opinions will be given serious consideration.
- Expressing opinions at work is risky. I fear I may be labeled as a trouble maker.
- I can discuss difficult issues with my supervisor without hurting our relationship.
- I am proud to be part of this company.
- I feel proud to tell my friends or relatives about the company (group/unit) I work
- I feel I am ultimately a part of this company.
At the end of each survey, there should be a section that allows employees to express any other opinions or feelings. “Tell us if there’s anything we haven’t covered and you want us to know about.”
This is where they might suggest a Casual Friday or voice their desire to telecommute part-time. You have to decide what’s feasible. Though, keep in mind that things like dress-down Friday or potluck lunch doesn’t cost your organization a cent and can improve engagement and morale.
Through organizational surveys, you have the data you need to gauge what people want, where you’re falling short, and how you can improve. Use it.