You're in the midst of collecting employee feedback data about engagement and satisfaction when Curve Ball COVID-19 enters, stage left, and dominates the conversation at work. What should you do? How can you be successful in this new environment? While it would feel more comfortable to hit pause and wait this out, this environment of rapid change was sustained in China for 6+ weeks and employers in the U.S. should plan for the same.
When communicating about your employee survey project, here is the practical advice you need:
Determine Your Message and Reinforce Your Goals
[Kick Off Your Survey] Continue to communicate the basics. Before you go live with your employee survey, your employees will still need to be assured of their anonymity as well as told why their feedback matters by both your CEO and HR team.
This is an opportunity to reassure your team that while things are evolving rapidly, this organization values them and their experience.
It's not just the leadership team that needs to understandwhy the survey matters. Whenever you talk about the survey, emphasize the importance of each of the benefits the organization has to gain. Here's a list of common reasons to use employee surveys:
Provide employees with a discreet way to voice concerns;
Effective means of communication;
Provides insights for restructuring benefits programs;
Opportunity to learn about working conditions from an insider; and
Useful tool for determining organizational weaknesses.
Communicate With Your (Newly?) Remote Workforce
For those employers that were already operating with some remote employees or fully distributed, you know how to do this and will apply what you already know to the management of more remote teams. For those employers with significant staff working from home for the first time, this is new territory. Here are some tips on how to engage your remote workforce as well as technology to support remote workforces.
Reinforce the anonymity of the survey, explaining what measures will be taken to protect the identities of your respondents. Ask meeting leaders to add you to the agenda for a 3-minute announcement. Remember to save half of that time to take questions.
Share the Specifics
When promoting your upcoming employee survey, increase response rates when you share the particulars of the project. If you are still sharing physical space, use our free poster campaign or develop your own. Be sure to address the 5 Ws:
Who is administering the survey
What is the purpose of the survey
When will the survey be conducted (and when is the deadline);
Where will employees access the survey; and
Why is the survey important.
Tell Employees How You'll Use Their Feedback
While you would need a time machine to anticipate the results of your employee survey, read this article about how to communicate those results, so you can tell your employees what to expect. In this time of uncertainty, setting expectations can go along way in building security, trust and rapport.
It's powerful to know what your employees think! You can identify problems like poor supervision, communication breakdown, and mounting plans to leave your company before expensive turnover affects your business.
The best employee survey firms will provide you with an easy process; and we're no exception! When your provider can lead your organization through the process with minimal disruption, you’re free to focus on the business that you’re in.
As VP of Best Companies Group, Leila has established Best Places to Work programs, given talks on employee engagement topics all over the U.S., and launched our employee survey brand, Best Employee Surveys.
Before joining Best Companies Group, Leila had been a publisher at Mainebiz, a research analyst at several great firms, and an avid gardener. (She can still be found digging in the dirt most mornings before the office opens.) She received her training in social research from the University of Vermont.
Leila resides in Portland, Maine with her son, Henry, their cat, Phoenix, and their flock of six pampered suburban chickens.