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How to manage remote employees’ well-being with pulse surveys.

Manage remote employees’ well-being with pulse surveys. Quick questions for fast feedback that give insight to the health of your organisation.

Quick questions for fast feedback that give insight into the health of your organisation

The modern world of work is (happily) far more concerned with our basic human needs than it was 50-60 years ago. Thank goodness people are no longer treated like cogs in a giant machine and management has finally recognised the importance of kindness. But it isn’t just kindness that is important. HR knows that in order to attract and retain top talent, it is absolutely necessary that employees feel content and have a sense of satisfaction in their daily activities. Yet, mere satisfaction is not enough: Scientific research has repeatedly demonstrated that you get the best results when, on top of all your other employee engagement efforts, your employees are happy doing their jobs. This has never been truer than now.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have implemented lockdowns and quarantines, which have compelled many companies, and their employees, to explore the ramifications of working remotely. Necessity is not just the mother of invention; it has forced many an organisation to ‘retool’ so that employees can work from home and it has fundamentally changed the way people work. It is a whole new world of video calls and video conferencing, online collaboration tools, and a plethora of productivity apps. This sudden change requires an almost entirely new set of communication skills and extra effort is required on the part of employees. Not everyone embraces change with the same gusto. Managing remote workers’ well-being is crucial in order to keep them content and above all, happy and engaged.

How do you know if an employee is happy and engaged? Ask!

One of the most effective tools for gathering feedback is the humble survey, and of the various survey types, the pulse survey is the best at getting a quick and focused response. Think about it, what’s one of the first things a doctor does when assessing your health? They take your pulse, right? Hence the name ‘pulse survey’ as it gives immediate insight into the health of your organisation.

Pulse surveys are quick and to the point, typically ranging from 3 to 10 questions that can be answered in as many minutes. The purpose is to get relevant information as quickly as possible, so there is no need beat around the bush with a lengthy and complicated set of questions. When done regularly, e.g. weekly, or monthly, the accumulated data from pulse surveys quickly reveals changes in engagement and satisfaction levels within your organisation. After all, you don’t check your bank account only once a year to see if you are living within your means, right? Same thing here, regularly checking in with your remote team members enables you to address any issues or concerns before it becomes too late to easily resolve problems.

As important as it is to check-in regularly with pulse surveys, effective managers know that it is equally important to know what to do with the data the surveys provide. The purpose of your efforts must be clear and consequently you must ask the right questions. Sure, it is possible to buy a generic pulse survey, but a thoughtfully constructed question set will yield feedback that is by far more meaningful and it will tell you precisely how remote workers feel in their new environment.

Of paramount importance is that you have a plan to act on the feedback. As Harvey MacKay (American businessman, author, and syndicated columnist with Universal Uclick) says, “Ideas without action are worthless”. Pulse surveys will give you an idea of what is going on, but you need to have a plan of action in order to effectively look after your remote employees’ well-being.

In pursuit of happiness

Happiness derives from well-being. If happiness is the goal, then managing a remote employee’s well-being is the path to that goal. It is an easy path, too, “time and again, scientific studies have shown us that if we do the following five things … happiness will increase”. Only five things? How convenient, perfect for a pulse survey!

Manage your remote employees’ well-being by asking how they’re doing on these five points:

1. Staying connected

Social connection improves physical health and psychological well-being. You should ask if your now distributed team still feels connected? Anyone who has had a team meeting through an app like Zoom or Skype will attest that it isn’t quite the same as a literal face-to-face meeting. People drop in and out because of connectivity issues, or inadvertently talk over each other, or everyone just sits in silence waiting for someone else to talk. Some team members may find this very awkward and artificial and it falls to the managers of remote workers to ensure that these concerns are addressed and somehow remedied.

2. Being active

You should always try to balance work life with real life – all work and no play makes Jack Nicholson a dull boy. Yes, that’s a direct reference to The Shining – a film about a family cooped up for months on end, who end up going more than slightly mad. It’s a situation that’s very relatable to anyone in lockdown or quarantine at the moment. Although it may not presently be possible to keep physically active the way you used to, there are other ways to stay active. Ask what your employees are doing and be sure to share the results. At the very least, it may be good for a laugh.

3. Continually learning

Obviously working remotely requires you to learn new methods of doing things, but routines have changed too. For example, ask your remote employees what they are doing with the time that has been freed up by not needing to commute. Are they sleeping in or are they using the extra time to learn new things and acquire new skills? Listening to podcasts or watching TED talks on the way into work has become a popular pastime for many, are they still doing it now?

4. Helping others

Being helpful is its own reward and it’s important to provide your remote employees with opportunities to be helpful. Some employees will take to working remotely with far greater ease than the rest of the team. Ask who is finding the transition easy and ask who is struggling (and with which aspect), and then match them up. Not only does this arrangement build trust between colleagues, but making helpfulness part of your corporate culture will yield massive dividends down the line because your employees will feel empowered.

5.Taking notice

Regularly asking after employees’ well-being and then acting, based on those responses, clearly demonstrates that management sees employees as people. People with needs, desires, aspirations, limitations, and feelings. Taking notice is an organisational equivalent of being mindful, of looking at something familiar and examining it in detail in order to discover something not noticed before. A pulse survey can help an organisation to ‘live in the moment’.

All in a heartbeat

As sure as going for regular check-ups is good for your health, regular check-ins with pulse surveys are good for your business. If you’d like to find out more about the eValue pulse survey and how it can help you better understand and engage your employees, get in touch with us today.