Keep driving business results and maintaining firm connections with your remote working staff by using employee surveys.
Adapt or die
In order to survive and thrive, organisations need to be able to adapt to an ever-changing world – never more so than now. You see, the world changes in two ways, sometimes slowly over time and sometimes suddenly as a result of a major event or upheaval. COVID-19 is one such upheaval that has forced businesses and organisations to make radical changes in a very short space of time. Being ‘the fittest’ is no guarantee of survival, it’s all about the ability to change and adapt to a new situation.
A casual search on the internet will reveal that over 80% of the Fortune 500 firms that existed in 1955 are gone today. Many of them have even passed right out of memory. They failed because they did not innovate or adapt to keep pace with the contemporary world. If you look at more recent examples, like Blackberry, Nokia, Blockbuster Video or Kodak, they too have all but disappeared, simply because they did not adapt. Put differently, they did not read the signs nor listen to ‘the word on the wind’. They did not respond appropriately to the environment changing around them.
It’s all about an appropriate response
At its core, business survival is about stimulus and response. An appropriate response to a new stimulus or situation ensures survival. An inappropriate response, or even just a lack of response, often results in the organisation’s demise.
For organisations to adapt successfully, leaders need to understand the situation ‘on the ground’. That is, how employees feel about the changes taking place and how well they are adapting to them. This kind of dialogue is important because it establishes trust, facilitates buy-in and makes the change process inclusive.
Changes foisted on business by the current COVID-19 pandemic are perhaps the biggest challenges many leaders have ever faced, requiring both fast and appropriate adaptation. Just as an organism would use its sensory apparatus to observe and understand its surroundings, so too do organisational leaders need to gather information that will inform their responses. There are a number of survey tools that fulfil the need.
Surveys are the eyes, ears and fingertips that sense the business environment
Think of surveys as your organisation’s sensory apparatus, allowing you to see what’s happening on the ground, hear what employees have to say about their situations, and get a feeling for how circumstances may play out in the near future. Here are some of the survey tools you can use to get a sense of your organisation and the external factors effecting your business.
Employee engagement surveys
An employee engagement survey measures what is in lay terms called ‘job satisfaction’. In other words, in order to be at their most effective, employees need to feel that their work is important and meaningful, and a positive contribution towards something larger. In short, they need to feel valued.
Current trends show that successful organisations are moving away from annual surveys, which are too far apart, and are measuring employee engagement more frequently. As the saying goes, you don’t check your bank balance only once a year, you check it before and after every major decision you make.
And rather than conducting a lengthy ‘catch-all’ survey at the end of a year, pulse surveys (comprising only a few questions) at regular intervals (weekly or monthly) quickly reveal trends within your organisation and can alert you to any potential problems on the horizon.
With so many changes to business as usual, like remote working and social distancing, pulse surveys will help you stay in tune with your employees and support their well-being and engagement. And the data will also help you successfully navigate your business through the unchartered waters ahead.
Learn more about employee surveys here: 8 Tips for effective employee surveys
People who are united and aligned consistently deliver better results. If your employees’ activities are not aligned with your strategic goals you will soon discover that remote workers will tend to do what they want to instead of what they have to. If employees cannot see how their activities contribute toward a strategic goal, they will ‘improvise’ and choose activities that make the most sense to them, not necessarily what makes the most sense for the organisation.
In an effort to find a work / life balance under the present circumstances, it’s completely understandable that some team members may favour ‘life’ over work. It is important to never confuse activity with progress – if your remote teams are furiously busy doing their own things and headed off in different directions, you have a serious alignment problem.
A culture survey measures how well an organisation’s behaviour matches its expressed values, assuming the company is values driven. Survey results are then used to determine changes in strategy, leadership needs, new investments, organisational changes, etc.
A culture alignment survey will tell you if your employees firstly, understand your organisation’s values and secondly, understand how their activities and actions express those values.
For example, there may be a strong underlying culture of communication; the boss has an open-door policy and there is sufficient trust among employees to foster open and honest exchanges. Next thing, POW! There’s a virus outbreak. Everyone’s working from home. Now what? The hope is that cultural values (open communication, in this instance) will translate from office, to home and then back to the office when circumstances allow.
It is important to distinguish corporate climate from corporate culture. Corporate climate is more transient and is a result of corporate culture in the same way that daily weather is a result of deep ocean currents flowing around the Earth. Mark Twain said, “Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it”, so use surveys to determine how your workforce is adjusting to their new remote working environments and if necessary, do something to change the situation as soon as possible!
Pulse surveys are ideal for this kind of feedback, as their frequency and brevity make them like a virtual weather report that will quickly show if there is a storm brewing for your organisation.
The climate in a home office is both figuratively and literally different from the climate at the office. And since the climate has changed, the underlying culture needs to adapt – adapt to a new, virtual environment where Microsoft Teams takes the place of the water cooler and video conferencing replaces the bosses open door.
Adaptation is all about getting things right. To get the right answers you must ask the right questions. You also need to ask them at the right time and in the right way.
Generic and templated survey tools abound in the marketplace, and they are not without value, but when it comes to meaningful employee feedback you need survey questions that are tailored and specific to your organisation.
To drive business results, you need actionable intel and you need it immediately. What you don’t need is a whole lot of meaningless data to pore through. eValue customised surveys are co-developed – with you– and generate immediate, actionable data to make meaningful management decisions.
Survive and thrive
Change is the key to survival in nature and in business. The challenge right now is keeping your employees engaged with the work at hand, connected to each other and committed to adapting to new ways of working in a whole new world. Surveys are efficient and effective tools for keeping critical lines of communication open.
If you’d like to find out how eValue surveys can help you keep your remote employees connected and contributing to the successful evolution of your business, get in touch with us today.