11 minute read – Posted by – June 24, 2020

Using surveys during remote work to improve the employee experience

A guide to engagement surveys, including how we use them at 7Geese to improve employee experience during remote work.

While there are many methodologies with the bells and whistles to gain real-time feedback on employee productivity, they fail to capture the employee experience. That’s why HR and people management leaders continually seek a tool to capture both feedback and employee experience. The answer is employee engagement surveys, offering both real-time feedback and captures the overall employee experience.

To illustrate how it works, I want to share exactly how we use our own tool to track employee engagement at 7Geese. Read below for details and results on using surveys to measure employee engagement and affect positive changes in employee experience. 

Why surveys are great for measuring employee engagement

Surveys are an easy way to get a general read on employee sentiment, as well as to measure progress toward an objective. For example, if you wanted to improve upon your retention rates and reduce churn, you can use surveys to check-in with your team regularly to get feedback on your progress. 

The success of your employee surveys depends a lot on whether your team members participate. Keeping the process simple and easy-to-do helps both HR teams and the company at large, by enabling higher survey completion rates. Put simply, if it’s easy for people to do, they are more likely to make it happen. 

Surveys give your HR teams a number of options for how to collect data, anonymously or personally, using multiple-choice or sliding scale questions that are easy to complete. Including an employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) question can give you a single metric that you can monitor and seek to improve over time. Sharing the results of your surveys with the whole company increases transparency and can also promote alignment among the team. 

How we use employee engagement surveys at 7Geese

As Chief of Staff, my main OKR centers around E-Nps (Employee Net Promoter Score). To capture our employee engagement in general, we use ENPS as a metric. We started with a general benchmark and have been striving to improve on it every quarter.

For a bit of background, an NPS survey is something companies typically ask customers. The basic question is how likely a person is to recommend a company or product to their peers. The result is a score (out of 100). 

An eNPS (employee net promoter score) survey then, is the same basic principle, applied to a company’s staff. The question goes like so: “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely is it that you would recommend this organization as a place to work?” 

Our typical talent management program involves quarterly company surveys. First, we ask the eNPS question mentioned above. We keep these surveys anonymous so our team members can speak freely about quarterly initiatives and their satisfaction levels on the outcomes. We also welcome suggestions for future initiatives. 

By keeping the surveys simple and easy to complete, we enjoy a 100% completion rate on surveys. Our eNPS score has steadily improved from +30 to +43, with a target of  +55. I attribute this to our ability to collect meaningful information and to make improvements where we see a need. 

Changes we are making during the pandemic 

With the onset of the pandemic and the sudden shift to completely remote work, it has been more difficult to get a pulse on our employees’ sentiments. Our “open door” policy becomes even harder to maintain, given we are not physically present to have those key “how are you doing?” chats. 

We decided to launch a monthly survey, as well, to collect more specific feedback related to the current situation in case we needed to make any course corrections. Quarterly wasn’t often enough to keep a read on our company, with so much change happening so quickly. Instead of eNPS, we asked people to rate their sentiment through the question “how are you coping lately with the transition?” on a scale of very poor to very well. 

In this case, the surveys are not anonymous. It was our first experience with a company-wide employee engagement survey where we would keep the results public. Our reasoning was that we wanted very specific feedback from our team members about how we can directly and individually get quick wins. 

For example, a team member mentioned that working from home was hard with their headset, especially on customer calls. I was able to connect with the team members and provide options for getting a new headset. If the survey were anonymous, it would, unfortunately, end up as a one-off item with no way to follow-up.

We also asked questions about their return to work preferences and about their biggest struggles with working from home. 

Learnings from our own surveys

One key thing we have learned is that the data and info you attempt to collect with surveys has to have meaning and importance. Doing surveys just for the sake of the activity will only lead to employees being disgruntled. No one will want to fill out forms if there is no commitment from the company to affect change. 

Setting eNPS as a metric has been important as a success measure for our company. It is not only HR’s sole responsibility to improve eNPS, it’s the whole company’s responsibility. It is an organizational key objective at 7Geese. 

We are also finding success with being specific in our surveys and administering them often. By making sure we balance out our employees’ top needs with any initiatives that are necessary, we are able to address smaller variables at once. Since our surveys are very specific to a theme, they also take very little time. Employees are not filling out long surveys that take hours to complete. 

We practice what we preach and collect data from thousands of customers to be able to inform the industry best practices. As a company, we too must keep our team aligned toward common goals and achieving growth together. Our tools and methodologies are industry-tested and proven to be effective — not just by our customers but by our own team.

Should you make surveys anonymous or transparent? 

Whether to have anonymous or transparent surveys is a key consideration that depends on the kind of information you hope to collect. For example, if you have questions about retention such as “are you looking for a new position in the next several months?”, you will want to protect people’s identity and allow them to speak freely. 

However, if you are looking for specific feedback such as “what is one thing we can do to support you at this time?” it is helpful to avoid anonymity. If you are committed to making changes, you can address any specific concerns of your team members, either one-to-one or with a new policy. 

Why use 7Geese for Surveys?

7Geese keeps all of your people management tools in one platform, including a full suite of performance management tools such as OKRs tracking, 1-on-1s, reviews, talent analytics, and more. 

Our survey tools are designed to be effective — we make them easy to use by both the administrators and managers who want to create the surveys company wide or teams specific, and the end users to complete the questions. Having the different question options, from sliding scales to built-in eNPS calculation, multiple-choice and more, makes 7Geese intuitive for all users. 

Our analytics tools are especially helpful. For example, we present the results of our engagement surveys in our quarterly meetings. Releasing the results and talking about our next initiatives in the form of OKRs shows our employees we are committed to listening to their feedback and to change for the better. 

Survey templates you can use now

Want to learn more about 7Geese’s employee engagement survey tools and OKR software? Download our free survey templates now or email us with your questions.

Wendy Pat Fong

Wendy is Chief of Staff at 7Geese. She can be reached at wendy@7geese.com.