Sometimes, the best way to improve is to open up an honest conversation. While honest conversations are great, they aren’t always easy to have and can sometimes escalate. By using this survey, you’re enabling people to have their say while generating a solution, this helps change their mindset from being fixed in what is going on now to becoming more growth oriented. Once you have the truth, you can start to address it.
Customizing your survey
The Cold Hard Truth is about capturing what is really going on but quickly moving people on from their emotions and transitioning them into the possibility of being part of the solution. Keep in mind, you can combine the cold hard truth with any of our survey templates as a way of gaining deeper insight.
Food for thought
- Qualitative information, such as open comments, are a great way to obtain the truth, while quantitative data is about identifying how general that truth is across the board. Our interest with this survey is to collect ideas to move beyond the current state and bring employees with us on that journey.
- To get the highest take up we recommend sending this survey anonymously. Remember to reinforce that this information is anonymous to encourage people to take part without fear of reprimand. If you want to capture names, you could allow employees to choose whether their name is captured or not, allowing them to remain anonymous if they wish. If you want anonymity but also want to identify trends in certain groups, we suggest sending the survey as ‘Anonymous’ but adding in relevant questions about location, department etc to the template to get a more detailed breakdown around the results. It is best to add these questions as a drop down list and to make the questions optional as an identifiable group with less than 4 members cannot be classed as anonymous. Keep in mind – if you ask too many identifying questions, you might make it possible to identify individuals. Only ask the questions you really need to!
- While employees can be negative when they’re unhappy, they don’t come to work to do a bad job. Asking them to create solutions and identify barriers can be both cathartic and creative.
What to do with the results?
You’re going to have a lot of feedback to process once everyone has had their say but it’s already loosely organized for you. You can start by understanding what it is that people want to know about the company (question 4) so you can understand the emotions people are expressing. Even if people are disengaged, their sentiment around what they want people to know can be quite positive. For example, “The last few years have been really tough but we have a fantastic work ethic and loyalty here”, or, “My manager is fantastic and I can see they are doing their best in a bad situation”. Of course, this isn’t always true and you can get some negative views about the organization, for example, “The people are generally nice but senior executives here are fixated on the short term….they’re just wasting their money and nobody seems to care”, or, “We don’t really have managers here….we’ve got a bunch of technical experts that got promoted into roles they couldn’t do”. Regardless, if it’s positive or negative, you want to take the time to thank your employees for their honesty and feedback. Once they feel you’ve truly heard them, they will believe that the ideas they’ve put forward will be actioned.
The best way to communicate these hard truths is via a channel that reaches all employees, such as a large, town hall style meeting where people from all levels mingle, or an all company communication. Don’t expect people to be overly vocal but do try and encourage it as ongoing communication will help reach solutions and encourage people to feel part of them. Following the presentation or announcement, you could provide some morning tea as time for smaller groups to connect so people can share their thoughts with those they trust in a safe environment. If your organization is geographically dispersed across multiple time zones, using your employee engagement platform to announce these results and an action plan helps to ensure the message will reach everyone.