Developer42

2013-05-02

How’re you doing? The continuous employee engagement survey.

Background
For the last few years my company’s been doing annual employee engagement surveys; a questionnaire asking how much you enjoy working at the place, what the best and worst things are, whether you’re thinking of leaving, etc. All of this data is aggregated and anonymised then a few months later presented back to us where we’re asked to help guide the company forwards to get the scores up the following year (and hopefully make the company a better place to work in the process).

Problem
The issue with this is you’re collecting data one day a year.

  • It’s pretty hard to remember what’s happened in that year, not comment on things from previous years, determine what’s still relevant to report on and mostly avoid biasing your results based on your current mood / the week’s events. As a result this kind of information isn’t very revealing.
  • As things are applied to try to resolve any issues and improve work life in general there’s no official feedback mechanism until the following year; at which point it’s hard to rate what worked and what didn’t.

Proposed Solution
A button. At the end of each day before going home employees go to a page on the intranet and press a button [“Woo” | “Meh” | “Ugh”] (number of options and their descriptions can vary per implementor’s preference). They may optionally also add a short comment (though should use this feature sparingly). This is then registered along with the date and their username (anonymised if required; but in such a way that the user cannot submit multiple answers per day) and fed into a database. Next you have a graph showing an aggregated view of all employees satisfaction ratings (depending on anonymity preferences you can do this at individual levels, for teams, for offices, or for the whole company). You can now compare these results with any activities taking place to see what’s upsetting people and what’s keeping them motivated. You can also see problem areas and upcoming issues (if there’s a long period of negative scores or everyone on a team gives a negative at the same time) and thus investigate and resolve them before they escalate. The comment function may provide additional information on why the scores are good/bad, and will also be useful if you continue with the annual detailed questionnaire as employees can look at their mood changes and the few comments they made throughout the year to remember key events to feed into this detail. Other benefits can come from including other info into your analytics (project deadlines, holidays, sick days, socials, weather (you can’t control it but can see its effect and compensate), etc).
Since it’s just a button it’s not a burden – so people will be likely to use it. You also get the satisfaction of stamping a close to your work day.

Questions

  • What do you guys think?
  • Has anyone done something like this at their place?
  • Anyone know of a LifeHacker style site for doing this kind of thing already which could be utilised (it’s pretty easy to build, but if there’s stuff out there which already includes common data sets (e.g. weather in your area, ability to log meals to allow individuals to make themselves happier by eating healthier, etc. so much the better)?

To keep discussion in one place I’ve disabled comments on this post and have left a discussion on Hacker News: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5646466.

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