2022 will be a big year. After a tumultuous period of scrambling to make remote and hybrid models work, most companies have gotten functional frameworks in place, and employees have gotten used to working from anywhere. Now, as the world begins to open back up, some offices are starting to reopen for in-office or hybrid-remote models while others plan to continue working fully remote. In either scenario, businesses have moved past the hardest challenge during a pandemic — staying afloat — and are now poised to take off.
The employee experience has become an increasingly important factor in this growth, though it sometimes goes overlooked. It often took a back seat to critical business operations during 2020 and 2021; however, the Great Resignation has brought the employee experience to the forefront and reminded leaders how important it is to support and empower their workers. For IT professionals, this means empowering employees with technology and providing the right tools and processes to drive productivity and satisfaction.
Surveys are a quick and effective way to check in on your employees’ experience with their technology and how well it bolsters (or hinders) their work. We’ve put together some sample survey questions that target the user experience and help companies identify areas to improve on their technology. Feel free to use and customize these questions as you see fit to gauge your users’ experience.
Notes on Conducting the Survey
To maximize responses and insights, we recommend following a few practices when putting together and conducting your survey:
- Keep it short. Too many questions may drive employees to navigate away prematurely.
- Leave room for comments. Offer optional text boxes for employees to qualify or expand upon their answers.
- Clarify that answers won’t result in disciplinary action. Some IT questions may ask about times employees have routed around prescribed processes or tools. While workarounds are not best practices, the goal of the survey is to understand these instances and solve for them rather than reprimand shadow IT culprits. If employees fear reprimand, they might not answer truthfully. Anonymizing the survey can help employees feel freer to answer truthfully as well.
- Set a deadline. Deadlines add urgency and set a definitive date for you to stop collecting and start compiling and analyzing answers.
Questions Around Solutions and Tools
Question 1: Which tools do you use most frequently?
Start by gauging what is working. This question will pinpoint which tools serve a viable need. Even if you end up changing your tech stack this year, make sure you keep the tools frequently mentioned in these responses or replace them with tools that can serve the same needs.
Question 2: Do you use non-company tools to accomplish your work? Which tools, and what do you use them for?
This question will help you identify gaps in your tools or their functionality. Employees may use non-company tools either because the company hasn’t provided a tool or because the provided tool is insufficient.
When employees use their own tools, they introduce vulnerabilities into the organization, from putting company information into non-approved software to granting third-party tools direct access to company infrastructure. Understanding why employees deem a tool insufficient can help you assess solutions that prevent employees from needing to source unapproved tools to complete their work. Consider including this follow-up question to determine the gaps in your stack’s functionality:
Follow-up: Why do you use the tools you listed instead of the company-provided ones?
Suggested multiple choice answers:
- We don’t have one for this purpose.
- It’s frustrating/hard to use.
- I don’t know how to use it.
- It can’t do everything I need it to.
- It’s not compatible with other tools or devices.
- I liked the old one better. (Include this option if you recently switched tools).
- Other. (Give employees the chance to explain their other reasons for using a different tool.)
If responses indicate that your company’s tool suite lacks critical functionality, consider looking for ways to consolidate tools rather than investing in a new one just to fill the identified gap. For example, if your company needs a more user-friendly MFA solution, consider one that can accomplish other things as well — JumpCloud®, for example, offers multi-factor authentication (MFA) as part of its entire cloud directory platform, which includes identity and access management (IAM), mobile device management (MDM), and single sign-on (SSO). Combining tools can be an effective cost-savings tactic.
For responses that indicate a lack of buy-in or understanding of how to use the tool, consider hosting training or making educational resources available. Many vendors provide user-oriented educational resources for their tools — pulling a few of these and circulating them to coworkers can be a quick and easy first step.
Question 3: Are there tools we offer that you don’t use? Which ones?
Identifying areas where you could reduce licenses or shed tools altogether can generate significant cost-saving wins and offset the costs of new technology you may need to invest in.
Question 4: Which tools do you dread or avoid using?
This question helps identify tools that slow productivity or generate frustration, potentially leading to shadow IT. If you notice commonly named tools in responses, try offering more training or educational resources on usage, as a first step. If this doesn’t improve usage or satisfaction, investing in a different tool may cost less than the security vulnerabilities that workarounds create.
Questions Around Employee Devices
Question 5: Are you comfortable with your operating system?
It’s no secret that people have strong feelings about their OS preference, and imposing Windows on a lifelong Mac user (or vice versa) can seriously slow their productivity. Workplaces are becoming more heterogeneous in device types, and newer infrastructure and device management tools are rising to the challenge of supporting them. JumpCloud, for example, is an OS-agnostic directory platform; that flexibility extends to its MDM, MFA, and other capabilities.
Question 6 (for organizations using company-issued devices): Do you use your personal device for any work tasks? For which applications or tasks do you use your personal device?
If employees are using their personal devices for a variety of tasks, this could indicate a need for a bring your own device (BYOD) policy or MDM tool. Completing company tasks on a non-compliant personal device places your company data at risk.
Note that a BYOD policy shouldn’t be considered without also addressing employee privacy. If you’re not ready to implement a mandatory, full-fledged, BYOD program, consider using a minimally intrusive MDM tool that allows users to opt in. This way, users can choose to make use of the BYOD program if they like using email, messaging, or other work apps on their phone without fear of endangering company data or the company violating their privacy.
Question 7: Are you experiencing problems with any of the following on your device?
Suggested multiple choice answers:
- Storage space
- Hardware problems (e.g., broken keyboard or port)
Always ensure devices are functioning optimally to prevent slowdowns or complications from old or faulty machines. If there’s room in the budget, consider following up with a question about additional hardware they might need. Low-cost items like adapters can go a long way toward powering productivity.
Questions Around Technical Issues
Question 8: Do you know how and where to report technical issues?
Question 9: Do you know where to go for technical or security questions?
Question 10: Have you noticed any recurring technical issues that affect your ability to complete your work?
Efficient issue reporting reduces the time needed to rectify problems and prevents shadow IT and security blind spots. Ensure employees understand and follow issue reporting protocols to bolster your organization’s overall productivity, efficiency, and security.
If responses indicate that technical reporting processes aren’t clear, try starting off 2022 with a quick refresher course on recognizing and addressing IT problems.
Questions Around Resource Access
Even the best tools in the world can’t power productivity if your employees can’t access them. Many organizations have switched to remote or hybrid-remote work, making resource access a challenge. Lack of easy access, or access that is cumbersome or confusing, slows efficiency and negatively impacts the user experience.
Question 11 (for hybrid-remote organizations): Is it easier for you to access the tools you need to get work done when working remotely or in the office?
Suggested multiple choice answers:
- In the office
- They are equally accessible
Ideally, employees should feel that access to resources is equally easy when in the office or working remotely. Employees aren’t generally interested in the back-end processes that power their experience; they simply want to be able to log on and work, regardless of where they are. Consistency and simplicity are key factors in delivering on those expectations.
Question 12: How easy is it for you to access everything you need to complete your work?
Suggested multiple choice answers:
- Very easy
- Somewhat easy
- Somewhat difficult
- Very difficult
Follow-up question: Which resources are difficult to access?
Question 13: Do you feel overwhelmed by the number of login credentials or accounts you need to keep track of?
As we digitize processes and multiply the number of cloud-based tools in our stack, we ask employees to track more and more credentials. This is a detriment to both the business and the employee: it tends to frustrate employees and drive them to use workarounds or easy, repeated passwords, which creates security vulnerabilities for the business.
Single sign-on (SSO) prevents this by facilitating secure authorization to all an employee’s apps using just one set of secure credentials. With SSO, employees only have to remember one set of credentials, and businesses actually enjoy a more secure login process via secure protocols like SAML instead of just the simple (and vulnerable) username and password.
Cloud directory platforms, the more modern alternative to traditional legacy directories, further ease the burden of managing resource access management. Their cloud-based, multi-protocol approach allows them to connect users to many types of cloud and on-prem resources, and some take a more holistic UEM approach to keep devices, identities, and resources unified under a single source of truth, regardless of location.
Questions Around Overall Experience
A few final, more general questions allow employees to offer any feedback you might have missed. These work well at the end of the survey to allow employees to add anything they thought of along the way.
Question 14: Overall, how happy are you with the tools and processes you use to accomplish your work?
Question 15: Is there any additional feedback you’d like to share?
Drive Improvement and Growth Everywhere
Gathering user feedback is just one of many ways to position your organization for scalability and success this year. To help IT admins tackle challenges and drive growth from every angle, we’ve developed an IT Admin’s Toolkit. It includes a budgeting template, priority matrix, inventory checklist, webinar, and several reports and ebooks to help you address everything from security to IT mental health. Get the IT Admin’s Toolkit for 2022.