Going Beyond the Survey to Improve Company Culture

Image from iOS (3)Every company I have worked for has done employee surveys.  There is a lot of thought of how often to do the survey, what questions to ask, how to capture demographics (dept, tenure, etc) to get the most valuable feedback.   The trick is always what happens after the results come back.  I recently spoke at the EX Impact Summit in San Diego about my experiences at Ordergroove, how we dig into the feedback we receive and identify opportunities to impact change.  Below are two key take-aways I hoped the audience walked away with that they could apply when they got back to the office.

Think like a Product Manager

Hopefully, you get a lot of interesting feedback through your culture surveys.   But it can sometimes be overwhelming and it’s important to look at the correlation between the quantitative data (scores) and the qualitative data (comments).   When reviewing one survey a few years ago, while the numbers were just ok in one area, the comments crushed my soul.  It provided so much more context and specifics that were missing in the ratings.  It helped really focus and see the need to make a clear change in that area of the business.  So think like a product manager – get customer feedback, don’t make assumptions about what will work, talk to your users to get their insights.

Be scrappy – try something, learn, adjust, try again

One of my biggest learnings as an HR leader was to not let myself get lost in the design of a new program without getting feedback.  I love what I do and I am very action-oriented.  So it’s easy for me to just go into a corner, design the “perfect” thing, and go straight to rollout.  But you waste so much time designing something without knowing if it is actually going to produce the result.   So once you have a hypothesis, put together an MVP and test it with your audience (or a subset of your audience) and get their feedback or test it for a while to see if it starts to drive the desired results.

In the case study I shared with the audience, I took the feedback received in the survey, focused on one specific area of improvement and then did the follow-up work before moving to an action plan.   I shared the results with the leadership team and some key trusted team members to get their reaction.  Then I brought together a working team to help me dive deeper into the feedback, got additional examples and started brainstorming on ideas on how we could change the behaviors.   I put together three things that we could try as an organization and tried them out for six weeks.  I did a pulse check mid-quarter to see if we were heading in the right direction.   As expected, a couple of things were helping but one wasn’t.   But as with all “failures”, there were new learnings in even the trial that weren’t working.  We adjusted and finished up the quarter with a significant increase in our engagement score in the area we were trying to improve!

How can you go beyond your next survey to improve your culture?  How have you found ways to be more agile in how you approach your work?   Feel free to reach out to me to chat more or to hear more details about the case study!