Taking Your Employees’ Pulse

Do any of you watch crime-solving shows such as Hawaii 5O? Since I have a hard time finding my own pulse, I always crack up when there’s a shootout and an officer easily puts a finger on the bad guy’s wrist and pronounces him dead. But taking the guy’s pulse is important to do, because if he’s still alive, he could be about to shoot again.

Similarly, when you see unhealthy symptoms in your workplace, taking your employees’ pulse to gauge their engagement and satisfaction levels is crucial to your organization’s health. If only it were as easy as walking up to an employee and asking to check his or her wrist! But with intentionality and a few good questions, you can learn what’s really going on beneath the surface of your employees’ polite smiles.

A Plan to Survey Your Staff

It’s a wise idea to have someone other than the employees’ immediate supervisor ask these questions. It’s also confidence-inspiring to assure employees that their answers will be kept confidential and that no undesirable changes or repercussions will be publicly attributed to them. If you sense that the situation warrants anonymity, you could also use a tool such as SurveyMonkey to accomplish both of these goals. In your survey introduction, simply explain that you value your employees and would like to learn their opinion of how you are doing as their employer. Your goal is to give them the opportunity to honestly address any concerns or problems that might prevent them from bringing their A game to the workplace.

Some Questions You Might Ask

Although you probably won’t want to use all of these, here are some possible questions to use in taking your employees’ pulse. Some of these can be accompanied by a scale of one to five, but all should give room to comment as well. Which ones you choose to use or adapt will depend on whether you already have a specific red flag or area of concern to explore:

  • How do you feel your supervisor treats you?
  • How do you feel you are treated by your coworkers?
  • How well do you believe your work is recognized and appreciated?
  • Are you receiving adequate training and assistance in learning your job?
  • Do you see opportunities for growth, transfer, or promotion within this business?
  • How would you describe the morale of your fellow employees?
  • How fairly is the workload distributed among you and your coworkers?
  • How meaningful and satisfying is the work you do?
  • What company values do you resonate with the most?
  • What perks do we offer that are most valuable to you?
  • What perks do we offer that are least significant to you?
  • What could be done to make this company a better place to work?
  • What one thing could prevent you from performing your best at work?

The Benefits of Asking

Although it can feel as if you’re opening up your company up to criticism, having someone else ask these questions and/or using an anonymous survey tool affords you some objectivity in tabulating the results. The benefit to emotional distance is that you may be less defensive and more open to discovering a pattern in employee behavior, preferences, or common experiences, whether positive or negative. If positive, you now have a chance to expand on those traits or experiences within your organization. If negative, you may learn that there is a gap between the way you think things work and the way your employees experience them. If you do discover such a a gap, or an unhealthy pattern or glaring lack, you now have the opportunity to address it before a bigger problem develops. Just be sure to keep your promise and honor your employees’ confidentiality as your leadership team decides how to act on the information you’ve gleaned.

But Don’t Ask for Trouble

Our CEO, Scott Kuethen, gives a warning about taking surveys, however. “I don’t recommend disrupting things by taking a survey if everything is running smoothly,” he cautions. In his experience, giving employees a wish list of potential perks, for instance, can create dissatisfaction and blow up problems where there previously were none. “We’re all naturally greedy deep down. If you survey employees about their satisfaction with their pay structure, for instance, all of a sudden, people start thinking maybe they should be getting more.” If everything is going smoothly and you just want to check in with employees to make sure they’re happy, Kuethen advises, do that in your everyday, low-key conversations with them.

When you see an area of concern, taking your employees’ pulse is a good idea to help you retain your best employees. Although it can be painful to effect the changes you discover are necessary, finding no pulse in the first place would have been far worse.

Do you need to acquire top professionals? Let Amtec find you the best people by actively marketing your job opportunities, connecting you to passive job seekers, and assisting with offer negotiations. Click here or call (714) 993-1900 to get your search started.

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