Typically as we transition from one year to the next, we focus on looking back and asking ourselves and our employees how we did in the previous year. With much of 2020 spent trying to adapt and change, if you didn’t take a moment to reflect with your employees already, I encourage you to do so now.
We are quickly coming up on the one-year mark of the start of the coronavirus pandemic. What began as stop-gap measures to get through lockdowns have now extended for a year and become the new way to do business for many companies. It’s worth taking the time to do a reflection survey with your employees to ask them how you did and what you can do better as a company.
Taking the time to reflect with your employees provides opportunity to support them in the ways they need most. While it opens up the door for criticism, it also opens up the door for improvement. Your employees converse with their friends and other people in their field of work all the time, and they’re likely comparing notes on how their employers have responded to the pandemic. Bringing the conversation to your doorstep is crucial to leveraging it and responding to the concerns of your employees.
Here are some key themes you might want to include in terms of how your company responded to the pandemic and supported employees:
• Did you meet their expectations when it comes to recognizing the myriad of ways COVID-19 affected your business, their job, and their life?
• Did you communicate well as you pivoted from a typical work environment to a remote environment, or whatever other changes had to be made this year?
• Do your employees feel more or less secure in their job position than a year ago?
• Do they have more or less faith in your company than a year ago?
The goal with these questions is to discover how the employees feel about your response to the crisis over the past year, both good and bad. Leave room for the employee to discuss where you’ve missed the mark, as well as what you did really well.
Additionally, check in with how your employees are doing currently. While many of the day-to-day changes of the pandemic have settled in, the stress and upheaval and the ways they affect your workforce continue. Don’t be afraid to ask directly if and how the company has contributed to their stress level, positively or negatively. You may even consider beginning the survey with these types of questions. Use a 1 to 5 scale to take the temperature of where the employee is at, then ask an open-ended question to see why and how you’ve contributed. This pinpoints where your employee is from the beginning of the survey and can provide context to the rest of their answers.
Remember that this is an opportunity to define areas where you can create support for your employees. Beyond general questions of how you did, look at key areas of communication, flexibility, and support. Have them rate each area and then give feedback on what you did and how it could have gone better. After gathering responses, look for ways you can better support your employees. We know employees who are supported are free to bring their best self to their job, and that benefits both the employee and the company.
As with any survey, it is important that the results be anonymous and confidential. You want to hear what your employees have to say honestly and without fear of retribution. It’s a good time for a temperature check with your employees and an opportunity for your company to adjust accordingly.
If you need help creating a confidential survey for employees to measure your company’s response to the pandemic and what additional support employees may still need, reach out to us at WhyHR. We can help you through the process.