During times of uncertainty, it’s important to understand how your employees are feeling – and then, wherever possible, to take action to ease anxiety or provide a positive way forward. Sadly, one of the most important yet neglected aspects of running an employee survey is dealing with the feedback obtained.
Why is feedback important?
COVID-19 has been a roller-coaster of unprecedented events. Many businesses have had to make drastic operational changes in order to stay afloat. For many employees, it’s been a process of near-constant change – perhaps the most obvious being changes to their working environment. For many, remote work is now standard. While change can be positive, it can have a negative impact on engagement, especially if it’s poorly executed.
It’s clear that giving employees a forum to voice their concerns is key. Employee surveys, such as a Remote Working and Wellbeing survey, can provide that forum. However, even more critical is taking action from those surveys. Data from Aon Hewitt’s European Engagement database indicates employees need to be shown how the results of a staff survey will be used.
This transparent approach works for both parties. It can create trust between employee and employer and help to build the emotional bond that is so critical during a crisis. It can also help to build confidence in your management / leadership capabilities and can potentially ease feelings of anxiety and stress – two unfortunate side-effects of near-constant upheavals.
The “rules” of engagement have changed since the outbreak of the global pandemic. With staff no longer congregating in central locations and instead having to shift meetings, collaboration and interactions online, it can be difficult to keep track of staff sentiment. However, what hasn’t changed is the impact engaged workers can have on business success. Engaged employees are generally more loyal. They are also willing to go above and beyond the normal call of duty. Gallup research from 2013 – but still relevant today – indicates that organisations with high engagement report 22% higher productivity. This is critical when times are tough.
The answers received from a survey can provide valuable insights into what’s working and what’s not. This data can identify where people are struggling and where extra support might be required. Staff feedback can also provide great ideas about how to improve relationships within the business, as well as process improvements and tips on communication and collaboration when it’s no longer “business as usual”.
This data can be especially valuable if there have already been underlying problems in the business, such as disharmony between frontline staff and their managers. If left unchecked, this could affect morale, lowering performance across the board.
How can you act on feedback suggestions?
In addition to implementing suggestions made by your staff, there are a few other ways you can act on feedback.
One way is to set specific goals relating to what you will do with the information gathered. These may help you to demonstrate to your employees that you are taking their feedback and suggestions seriously.
It is recommended to follow your original survey up with a targeted pulse survey down the track so you can best judge the effectiveness of your first questionnaire and any remedial actions undertaken. To undertake a survey and then file away the results, never to be seen again, is akin to not undertaking a survey at all – but may in fact be even worse as employees will feel their opinions count for very little.
Remember, when times are tough, people still want their voices heard. In fact, it could be argued that it’s more important than ever to give people a voice. Two-way communication is critical – and you may just find the best way forward for your business comes directly from feedback provided through a staff survey.
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