Note: This is the second post in a two-part series. Read part one: 15 Employee UX Survey Questions to Improve Your 2022 Tech.
In 2021, 1 in 4 workers voluntarily quit their jobs. People reevaluated their values and life paths during the pandemic, including their career goals, work-life balance, and how they engage in work. Thus, the Great Resignation began.
Employers are scrambling to improve employee retention in 2022, especially that of more tenured employees who can leave gaping holes in established workflows when they take their (your) institutional knowledge with them. Understanding which tools and processes excite your employees and which ones they detest (and making continuous improvements) can improve retention dramatically. A great way to gather this information is by surveying employees at a regular cadence.
In part one of this two-part series on employee surveys, we covered 15 user experience (UX) questions to ask employees. At this point, you’ve probably done the hard part and asked your employees the tough questions about their user experience. Their (hopefully) honest answers can be hard to hear, but the insight is invaluable — especially for IT. Read on for how you can use employee feedback to improve your business and “stop the bleeding” that happens when valuable employees leave.
Keep the Goals of Your Survey in Mind
Surveying employees a few times throughout the year, including after major events or changes, allows IT to keep a finger on the pulse of happiness and productivity levels. Once a survey is sent out and responses are submitted, it’s important to remember why you created the survey in the first place.
The goals of the survey likely include:
- Gathering employee insights, including what’s working and what’s not, that become the foundation of positive IT changes in the organization.
- Making adjustments, based on the feedback, that improve retention, morale, and productivity.
Think about all of the tasks and resources that fall under the scope of IT — every digital resource that a user accesses falls under this umbrella. If tools or devices cause problems for users, they’re probably unhappy, and if those issues continue long-term, affected employees will likely look for career opportunities elsewhere.
The feedback received from an IT survey needs to be taken seriously. To move your organization in a positive direction, take action based on employee responses to improve the overall user experience.
How to Use Employee Feedback to Improve Your Organization
Gathering feedback from employees is easy, the hard part is finding viable and productive ways to use that feedback. However, making adjustments based on the survey responses is the most important part of the entire process. Doing nothing with the information gathered tells employees that management doesn’t care what they have to say, which leads to higher turnover.
4 Steps for Turning Employee Feedback Into Change
To make IT adjustments based on user feedback, stick to these steps:
- Create a ranking and sorting system for survey responses.
- Analyze responses individually or in groups.
- Decide on a timeline and budget for adjustments.
- Communicate the plan to employees.
Create a Ranking and Sorting System
Hopefully, the survey questions used can be easily categorized, which allows IT to quickly group responses and pull out common themes. Group survey responses into distinct categories such as tools, devices, technical issues, access, and experience. This will help IT dig down to the root of any issues and hone in on areas where improvements can be made.
Rank and sort responses to see which tools and processes users enjoy the most. This enables IT to advocate and budget for the most popular tools and resources. Plus, if IT can figure out exactly why users enjoy certain software or workflows, you have a blueprint to follow the next time you add a new tool or process into the day to day.
By ranking feedback, IT can prioritize issues according to urgency. Are you seeing recurring themes in responses? These need to be higher on the to-do list than a small issue only mentioned by one user.
Multiple choice questions will have the easiest responses to analyze, but often, open-ended questions yield the most helpful insights. The survey may also include both for each question — a multiple choice question can have a comment box alongside it, so IT can gain a deeper understanding into responses. Though this adds more of a time commitment to the people analyzing responses, it’s well worth it to get as specific as possible.
Depending on the size of the organization or the department being surveyed, analyzing each user’s open-ended responses may seem difficult or impossible. However, the survey itself can help improve company culture, the user experience, and productivity, so it’s important that answers don’t go unseen. For larger organizations, ask each department or team manager to sift through responses and communicate the themes, ideas, concerns, and positive feedback to their leader. This disperses the workload to multiple people, who will each likely have different ideas on adjustments to make moving forward.
If the answers received identify a problem but don’t get to the root of it, IT may have to do some deeper analysis. This might mean sending a follow-up survey to respondents that cited problems in order to gain a deeper understanding of what their experience is like, why it is negative, and what IT can do to solve it moving forward.
After all problem areas are identified, IT needs to dive into the root cause of each. It’s important to separate the issues that begin within a tool from those that begin in a process, because each of these requires a different solution. Once the causes are identified, it’s time to create a timeline for implementing changes and budget appropriately.
Create a Roadmap for Changes and Budget Accordingly
Not all changes are quick or simple to implement. Decide which changes can be dealt with right away and which ones need to be pushed out to a later date.
Start by asking the following questions:
- What kind of adjustment is it? Is it buying a new tool? Changing how we use a current tool? Re-examining and improving an existing process?
- Do we have the resources to make this change now? Do employees feel so strongly about it that it’s a high priority?
- How long is the adjustment expected to take?
- Is the ROI worth dealing with it right now? Will we save x amount of money, x amount of time, or increase employee happiness by x%?
The answers to these questions will shape the adjustment roadmap and help with prioritization. Once IT has laid out when changes will take place, create a budget that follows the same timeline. Both the roadmap and the budget are subject to change, but putting them together right away gives IT and finance the foundation needed to implement the changes successfully.
Communicate the Positive Change
The common saying “communication is key” applies to just about any scenario out there, including this one. Communicate the adjustment roadmap to employees. Even if some changes are not going into effect until next quarter, showing employees that the organization takes their feedback seriously and wants to improve their lives goes a long way toward happiness and retention. Keep employees updated as things progress and as roadblocks arise that affect the initial timeline. Transparency increases employee trust and improves overall buy-in to the organization and its goals.
Sometimes, it’s not possible to make all of the adjustments that employees want to see, but communicating this to users can still have a lasting positive impact. For example, if a team is asking for a tool, but security did not clear it for organizational use, communicating that information to the team asking for it is imperative. Most importantly, giving them a “why” along with being told no shows respect and builds better understanding between you and other departments. Further, having an open conversation with members of that team regarding alternatives shows that IT is willing to work with them to solve the overarching issue, even if the solution takes a different form than what was initially expected.
Finally, ensure that employees have clear lines of communication with the IT and security teams so that their questions and concerns don’t go unanswered. Employees need to feel heard and valued.
Interpreting and Acting on Results
Surveying your employees is step one; acting on those results to create a better working environment that supports productivity, satisfaction, and retention is step two. For insights into this next step, read our companion blog, Employee UX Surveys: Turning Feedback Into Action.