BY KRISTINA JOHNSON
Employees will be more willing to take them (and you’ll actually get value of you do these things.
Although technology enables us to meet and be successful virtually, it doesn’t work so well for gaining insights that help leaders understand how their workforce is doing and where they need to make changes.
While it’s important to know what your employees are thinking and feeling, too many surveys with too little action can have massive ramifications on an organization, especially when it comes to cultivating a great company culture in a remote or hybrid environment.
TAKE A MORE ACTION-ORIENTED APPROACH
Some lessons you learn the hard way; we at Okta are no different.
In the past two years, we’ve gone from sending our employees a regular pulse survey—almost every week—to a more intentional approach, which has proven to provide us with richer insights. While our initial intentions with the weekly surveys were good––focused on employee morale during the pandemic—we found that employees would eventually tune out and avoid taking them. It wasn’t the right approach.
Employees want their voices heard but don’t want that to happen through a relentless bombardment of impersonal surveys. They also want action based on survey responses.
An intentional approach to surveying rests on what employers do after the survey. Leadership needs to take action based on the survey findings. When you start to see trends in responses, it’s time to make a change. For example, if a large number of U.S.-based team members ask for retirement plan support, consider rolling out a 401K match program. This is change that we made based on our annual employee engagement survey.
We also heard that employees wanted more work-life balance, so last year we launched two paid “Wellbeing Weeks” at the end of November and December to enable a collective disconnect, allowing all employees to take much-needed time away to recharge and refresh from their computers.
Another way we ensure our employees’ voices are heard is by giving them a say in what our offices look like. As part of our Dynamic Work initiative, we’ve been redesigning our office spaces to support a more hybrid work environment. As we think about new spaces, Okta surveys team members in that region before designing the office to ensure we’re creating a space that employees want to go to and be productive in. Employees also “vote with their feet.” We use sensors in our spaces to identify areas of high usage, so we know what types of workspaces employees want in future offices.
Depending on your answer, you might get a follow-up question. The results go back to the management team every single day and enable them to quickly pivot based on responses. And for employees, since it’s integrated into their workflow and is one simple question, survey fatigue is less of a concern.
LEAVE THESE THINGS OUT OF A SURVEY
While surveys have proven to be a valuable way to understand the satisfaction or concerns of employees, not everything requires a survey. In fact, there are a lot of issues that come into play when it comes to surveying employees on highly charged, sensitive issues, the most important being privacy and personal space. At Okta, we do not survey employees on these topics because we’ve found that feelings around these issues are simply too nuanced for a survey to capture adequately.
Companies rely on surveys to make critical decisions, but they need to be implemented the right way in order to be impactful. Getting rid of surveys completely isn’t the answer. However, companies must redefine them and conduct them in a more intentional, action-oriented way.
Employees will be more willing to take the surveys if they see leadership taking action based on the findings and understand the value of providing honest feedback. Get it right and you’ll get valuable insights on how to make your employees happy and create a work environment that makes people want to join and stay.