In Part 1 of this discussion, I covered the importance of gathering digital feedback often from employees, as well as two organizational challenges that can be resolved by surveying employees: workplace satisfaction and feeling appreciated. Before we dive into the next two challenges and the poll questions that address them, I want to broach the topic of anonymity in surveys.
The typical annual employee surveys we are all used to are anonymous for many (worthwhile) reasons: managers can’t scrutinize feedback by individual, less of a bias can be cast on results because they are delivered in aggregate, and employees feel free to be honest. Now, that last bit has some baggage of its own that I’ll come back to in a moment. Anonymity, though, doesn’t come without some less-than-perfect consequences, explains Forbes contributor Chris Cancialosi. For example, there tends to be a lack of follow-up when leaders can’t dig deeper into feedback, the results are only relevant for a short period of time (especially when you consider a couple months typically pass between survey administration and released results), and it’s more difficult to hold leaders accountable. While the reasons to make a survey anonymous are understandable, the negative impact of being overly cautious can outweigh the productive, transparent discussions that occur when employees openly share their thoughts.
Work has to be done to create a culture where employees feel comfortable speaking up and once that has happened, Cancialosi says, “Removing anonymity allows your employees to become active players in the decision-making process, which can boost their dedication and allow your team to benefit from multiple perspectives.” My recommendation here is simply to think hard about whether or not making questions anonymous will help or hinder the feedback culture you’re creating, whether it’s the questions highlighted in these two articles or others.
"Think hard about whether or not making questions anonymous will help or hinder the feedback culture you’re creating."
Now, back to those remaining two organization challenges and the simple questions you can ask to decipher them:
3. I’m worried my employees might quit.
At any given time, about one-third of your employees are contemplating a career move. Similarly, according to PWC, only 33% of workers under the age of 35 say they are in “a committed partnership” with their employer. Kind of alarming, right? These polls will help you find out A) why your employees might be ready to jump ship and B) how to retain them.
Poll #1: Do you believe you'll be able to reach your full potential here? (Yes/No/Not Sure)
Poll #2: Do you foresee yourself working here one year from now? (Yes/No/Not Sure)
Poll #3: Do you see how your work contributes to the larger organization’s goals/values/objectives? (Yes/No/Not Sure)
Poll #4: Are you paid fairly for the work you do? (Yes/No)
Poll #5: Do you believe leadership takes your feedback seriously? (Yes/No/Not Sure)
Note that these questions don’t simply focus on reasons for resignation but rather an employee’s overall feeling about their place in their organization and on their team. These factors have a critical impact on whether an employee will stay or go.
4. I don’t know if my employees identify with our company culture.
Workplace culture: it’s one of those “you-know-it-when-you-see-it” kinds of things. For some employees, culture makes or breaks their experience and it’s important to know if at any given time, your company culture is resonating with your employees.
"For some employees, culture makes or breaks their experience."
Poll #1: Do you understand the strategic goals of the broader organization? (Yes/No)
Poll #2: What three words would you use to describe our culture? (Open text)
Poll #3: Do you believe we live by our organizational/company values? (Yes/No/Sometimes)
Poll #4: Do you feel your leaders are transparent? (Yes/No/Not Sure)
Poll #5: Do you and your co-workers respect one another? (Yes/No/Not Sure)
You’ll notice these five questions in many ways parallel the previous five. Again, we see that it’s not only about a company’s articulated culture (their slogan, their values), but it’s also about how the employee would define their organization’s culture, and how they work with their leaders and their teammates.
As mentioned in Part 1 of this piece, there are many digital tools out there that can facilitate these organization- or department-wide surveys at your organization. At Structural, we do this through the Poll feature housed in the Connect tab of our platform. We leverage polls not only for employee feedback, but also for fun topics like weekend plans and event details. We would be happy to share more about how Structural can help facilitate a culture of feedback at your organization. Let us know here.
No matter the platform you choose, make these surveys easy to find, understand, and participate in. And remember: we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. Let’s use them accordingly.