Want to know what your employees think? Try this…


Ever wonder what your employees really think about their job?  About you?  The business?

Maybe you should ask them.

During a recent client meeting we were discussing the results of an Aspire Team Survey he had completed with his employees.   This is a customized list of questions that allow the employees to anonymously comment on a variety of topics that relate to the job, their view of the company, the management, etc.

How it works….

The survey is administered in a way that allows anonymity to the participants so those submitting feedback to the questions should be able respond freely without being judged by their comments.  This opens things up and allows you to ask employees questions you might otherwise not be able to ask.  Here are a few ideas:

  • What do they love about their work?
  • Do they view their employment as a career or job?
  • What do they think of their benefits?
  • If you could change one think what would it be?
  • How are we as a team?

The sky is the limit on the questions you might ask, though you don’t want to make it too long or you may lose your audience.

You must assure your employees in advance that all input will be responded to. In other words, you will listen and at least give them an honest response – even if that response is that you’re not going to change anything.  It is absolutely critical that you keep your word on this.   The percentage of employees who participate in a survey like this will vary; especially if it’s the first time you have ever presented one.  That said if you want to make sure your participation increases on future surveys, keep your word with regards to responding to the surveys that are completed.

Once the surveys are completed, the feedback from the employees is then reviewed by the owners or senior management team.  The next, and most important step, is to then address the content of the surveys with the employees so they realize it wasn’t a waste of time and their suggestions, thoughts, and opinions really are being heard.

As you respond to the feedback you will have the opportunity to turn suggestions that are actionable into tangible items in your business.   Be assured that not every suggestion will warrant a transformational change in the business.   But even if you can’t change a process to match a suggestion, it still allows you to have a healthy conversation about the topic.   Remember to “date stamp” every actionable item and hold yourself or whoever is in charge accountable to a time table for completion.

Why it works….

This approach gives your team a chance to share insights on areas they may never otherwise feel they have the authority or opportunity to discuss with you.   It lets them know you really do care about them.   You might even be surprised by what you might learn.    You may find that you and your employees are looking through the same lens and seeing two completely different pictures.  And that is precisely what my client recently discovered.

Their surprise discovery….

One of the questions on the survey focused on how they viewed the company working together as a team.  The intent of the question was to gain feedback on how the hourly employees viewed the team aspect with regards to working with their managers.   During a company meeting they were discussing the comments from this question, it became apparent they viewed two different segments of the business (both groups of hourly employees) as the different teams, something that management had never even considered prior to the survey!  Needless to say, it created a great opportunity to tear down some walls within the company.

That was the first of several actionable outcomes from this initial survey…and our client is already looking forward to doing another one in the future.

What about your business?  Do you really know what your employees think?   Are you sure?  Have you tried a process like this?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the space below.  We value your feedback.

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach