Surveys are a great way to gather data. They’re not a great way to build relationships. In addition to sending out employee engagement surveys, ask questions live. Employees want to talk about their experience working with your organization. And employees will give you real, honest, and salient data, if you ask them and make it safe to tell the truth.
Here are a few methods of gathering data, in addition to sending employee engagement surveys:
Managers, ask questions during every one-on-one and team meeting with employees.
Managers, consider asking:
- What’s being talked about in the rumor mill?
- What do I need to know about that you suspect I don’t?
- What makes your job harder than it has to be? What would make your job easier?
- What meetings are not a good use of time?
Listen and be careful not to defend. Employees want to be heard. Respond if you’re able, but don’t deflect the feedback you’ve received.
Leaders, conduct roundtable discussions with small groups of employees throughout the year. I’d suggest discussions with groups of six employees. Have lunch or coffee. Keep the meetings informal.
Leaders, consider asking:
- What’s a good decision we made in the last six months? What’s a decision we made that you question?
- What would need to happen for you to be comfortable referring your friends to work here?
- What’s something happening in the organization that you’re concerned about?
How to Get the Truth:
- Share as much information as you can. Trust your employees.
- Ensure there are no negative consequences for people who tell you the truth.
- Give positive attention to the people who risk and give you negative information.
- Tell employees what you learn during these discussions and what you will and won’t be doing with the information.
- You don’t need to act on every piece of data you receive. Just acknowledge what you heard and explain why you will or won’t be taking action.
Employees are loyal to managers and organizations they feel connected to, and connections are formed through conversations. So in addition to sending employee engagement surveys, ask questions during every conversation and make it clear that you’re listening to the answers.