Productivity is down. Turnover is up. You're seeing more scowls than smiles at work.
But when you ask your team what's wrong, all you hear is: "Nothing – everything's fine."
It's obvious that workplace morale is down. What's not clear, however, is exactly why you have a culture problem. When no one will address the proverbial elephant in the room, how can you fix what's wrong?
Try implementing an anonymous culture survey.
While your employees may feel comfortable disclosing what they ate for lunch or watched on TV yesterday, they may (understandably) be more hesitant to provide honest feedback about organizational culture problems. With an anonymous survey:
- Employees can speak their mind without regard for office politics, or fear of retaliation.
- You get honest, unfiltered feedback, which may allow you to identify underlying organizational culture issues you didn't even know existed.
- Your team will feel actively involved in improving your culture, thereby increasing engagement.
Sound good? Then use these tips to design an anonymous survey that reveals why your culture stinks – and helps you turn things around:
Use a good survey tool. Google and Survey Monkey are two easy-to-use online options for gathering feedback.
Structure questions for success. While the questions you choose will depend on your organization's needs, use these guidelines to create an effective survey:
- Gather information about employee tenure and department. This allows you to identify patterns/issues within departments and amongst newer versus veteran employees.
- Use simple rating scales to gauge things like:
- how proud employees are to work at your company;
- how clearly they understand the organization's mission, vision and objectives
- how effective/successful they feel they are in their role;
- how confident they are in managers' ability to lead;
- how clear individual roles and responsibilities are;
- how effective the feedback they receive is;
- how fairly they feel they're compensated;
- how well equipped they are to do their jobs;
- how much their exceptional performance is recognized/rewarded;
- how well they feel their teams work together.
- Balance rating-style questions with open-ended questions to gather input about issues you may not know about.
Clarify your objective. When you present the survey to employees, be clear about why you're implementing it (i.e., to improve culture and increase performance), as well as the fact that responses will be 100% anonymous.
Avoid the pitfalls of anonymity. Without sufficient planning and guidance, an anonymous survey can easily devolve into unproductive venting and finger-pointing. To prevent this problem:
- Structure questions so they focus on "what," not "who." Ask for input about events, situations and trends in your corporate culture.
- Gather suggestions for improvement. Get employees to stop playing the blame game and make them responsible for brainstorming solutions. For each concern an employee describes, ask them to provide a few ideas for addressing it.
Make it a habit. Surveying your employees should be an annual process – not a one-time event. By conducting an annual survey, you can benchmark your culture, gauge the effectiveness of any changes you implement, and keep an eye on emerging workforce challenges.
Improve organizational culture by providing the right staffing support.