Using Surveys to Start a Conversation and Keep a Pulse on Your Organization

June 23, 2020 Jason Lauritsen

6-minute read

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” - Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr  

more awesome / less awesome street sign

It feels as though everything has changed over the past few months. Work looks and feels a lot different today than it did in January.

As employees, our relationship with work has changed. There is no going back to work as we knew it. There is only stepping forward into a new and uncertain future where nothing will feel the same.  

So much has changed. And yet, as the quote at the beginning of this post indicates, so much remains the same. If you are reading this, you are probably someone who, like me, aspires to make work more human. Doing so in these times requires that we not get distracted by all of the change. 

Now, more than ever, we need to focus on the fundamentals. And there is nothing more fundamental than maintaining open, honest, two-way communication throughout your organization.

In my time measuring and studying the best places to work, I learned that what great employers do to engage their employees boils down to communication. While the methods may vary, all of them have established an ongoing practice of asking employees about their experiences, listening closely to ensure they are understood, and then taking action where action is needed to fix problems and seize opportunities. 

They seek and hear the employee’s voice to make decisions.  

This fundamental approach to employee engagement has never been more important. This is why I’m excited by the introduction of MoodtrackerTM as a free employee survey tool from Workhuman®, for organizations of any size or type.  

While surveys are not a silver bullet solution that will solve your communication gaps, they are incredibly important and powerful tools when applied correctly. Surveys are a great way to start a conversation and keep a finger on the pulse of the organization. When you ask the right questions, a survey can help your leaders and managers focus on the important conversations to take up with their teams.  

In the past, a survey was both expensive and time-consuming to build and launch, particularly for large organizations. Given the changes and pressures of our current environment, the two things you likely don’t have are extra time or financial resources. 

Enter Moodtracker.

When Workhuman invited me to take a look at Moodtracker, I was intrigued. The company’s ambition of providing a survey tool to employers that would be free forever was hard to believe. I was a little skeptical at first. I wanted to see what this was really all about. 

How it works

What I found is a simple, easy-to-implement survey tool. It takes minutes to create your free account and be ready to create and launch a survey. From your first login to sending your first survey could happen within 10 minutes.  

The tool allows for two types of surveys: a point-in-time survey or an ongoing pulse survey. For the first, you create a link to the survey in setup mode, which you can distribute via email, intranet, or other communication tools such as Slack, MS Teams, and Workplace by Facebook.

The pulse survey requires that you provide employee email addresses, which can be entered manually or as a spreadsheet. Then the system samples smaller groups of employees over time to “take the pulse” of the organization and show trends.  

Underneath the simplicity of this tool is a foundation of science that fuels all of Workhuman’s products. Moodtracker isn’t a survey platform to let you ask whatever random question you want. Instead, it comes with four pre-built and validated surveys designed to measure what matters:

  • Resiliency
  • Belonging and Inclusion
  • Human-Centered Workplace
  • Employee Experience and Engagement

Each survey includes fewer than 25 items that Workhuman has designed and tested to guarantee their effectiveness. This both ensures that you ask the right questions and provides you with benchmark data to see how your employees’ responses compare others in your industry or region.

Once you get started collecting data, you can view your data through a simple and easy-to-understand dashboard of results. Even someone with limited experience using surveys would find the dashboard user-friendly.

Sounds pretty cool, right? But before you go sign up, a few notes about what you won’t find. Moodtracker is free, so you shouldn’t come into it with the same expectations you’d have for a tool you’d spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to use. While there’s a lot to love about it, there are limitations.

What to expect

This is a tool designed for broad sampling and tracking of trends across all employees. Don’t expect to be able to examine demographics because that data isn’t collected as of right now.

It also doesn’t allow you to drill down to the manager or supervisor level because there is no hierarchy or organizational chart capability built into the tool. Unless you are creating a survey for only that manager’s team, you can’t get that level of detailed analysis.

This isn’t a tool to replace your robust, annual survey process – at least not yet. 

In my opinion, the way to get the most out of Moodtracker is to use it to take an ongoing pulse of the organization as a way to drive deeper conversations. Based on what you see in the results, create scripted questions for managers to discuss with their people, either individually or in teams. Coach your managers to ask and really listen

Use the results to focus your efforts on how to make the work experience better at your organization. The survey results won’t reveal specifically what to do, but they will get you pointed in the right direction – and that’s extremely valuable.

Moodtracker is a powerful and simple tool to employ in making work more human. 

Tips to get started

Here a few reminders of how to ensure that when you use Moodtracker (or any other survey), you use it to make progress and avoid doing any harm:  

  1. Explain to employees up front why you are administering a survey and what will happen as a result of the survey. Set clear expectations from the start. 
  2. Never ask anything in a survey if you aren’t willing to hear tough feedback about it and then take meaningful action as a result. 
  3. Always, always, always close the feedback loop. When you invite employees to offer feedback, you open a feedback loop. If you don’t close it by acknowledging that you heard and what will happen as a result, you will lose trust and damage engagement.  

Moodtracker is a bold and meaningful step by Workhuman toward ensuring that every employee’s voice is heard on the issues that matter most to them. I encourage you to check it out and use this tool where you can to help make work more human at your organization.  

Check it out here: https://www.workhuman.com/moodtracker/

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About the Author

Jason Lauritsen

Jason Lauritsen is a global speaker, consultant, and advisor on employee engagement, workplace culture, and performance management.

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