It’s that dreaded time of the year again: time to take your workplace survey. Oh, how the time is going to drag as you click from page to page answering “strongly agree” to everything just to make the big bosses smile. It doesn’t really matter anyway. It’s not like your opinion will matter. They probably don’t even look at them anyway. It’s just a way for them to make you feel like your opinion matters, but it’s not like anything really changes anyway, right?
Very, very wrong.
A good company would not waste valuable employee time for something that was just going to wind up in the trash. Remember, as you fill out your surveys, you are being paid. They would not waste your time, because remember, your time is their money. So why do they make you take these?
Most of the time, corporate level employees do not interact with the general store level employees. The only way for them to get a feel for the store level environment is through these surveys. Surveys are a way for the “big bosses” to get an idea of what is going on at store level rather than at corporate level, without having to go in from location to location to make sure everything is running smooth and all the employees are happy. So lets suppose that you take your survey as described in the first paragraph of this article. What happens then? Well, the corporate level employee who reads your survey reads it and thinks to him/herself, “Wow! This store is doing great! Everything there is great according to this survey. My employees seem very happy.” Now, suppose the majority of the employees at your level respond to their surveys in the same manner. The corporate level employee thinks that everything is fine and nothing needs to change. There is no reason to to make any changes in the workflow. There is nothing that needs repair. The corporate level employee cannot assume something is wrong if he/she is not informed about it.
But what if you answer the survey honestly? We’ll take, for example, a pharmacy employee. There is no sign to inform the customers to please step back for patient privacy. This has become an issue, as some customers stand so close to the others and invade their confidentiality. It creates a problem for the employee because now he/she has to confront the invasive customer and have them step back. This can create an issue for a couple of reasons. One is that the employee may be non-confrontational and may feel uncomfortable in telling the invading customer to step back. Another issue is that the customer who’s privacy is being invaded may feel as though the employee is not concerned about confidentiality, thus making the company seem like they don’t care about confidentiality. A third possible issue is that the customer who gets told to step back may feel like they’re being scolded for something they did not know they were doing wrong. It is not easy for employees to take these situations into their own hangs. So when this employee takes his/her survey, he/she can suggest that a sign be put up to show the customers where to stand while they wait for their turn. When the corporate level employee sees the suggestion, he/she has now become aware of the issue at that location and can use his/her authority to take further action to fix the problem so that the employees won’t have to confront the customers on their own.
Workplace surveys are a great way to communicate with the people who have the authority to create change. If there is anything wrong, they can fix it. Even if there’s nothing wrong. Maybe you have a more efficient way at doing something. Maybe you like something and would like to suggest they do it more often. Or maybe you just want them to know how well of a job you are all doing. Regardless, communicating with these people is essential, as these are the people who bring about change in your daily job tasks. These are the people who bring about new ways of doing things and new regulations. You need to communicate with them, especially if you feel like something needs to be changed and you want your voice to be heard. The point is, change cannot happen if there is no known issue. The employee surveys are ultimately the line that connects communication from one level to the next. So the next time you have your survey, take it seriously and don’t be afraid to be honest. Let them know your suggestions and concerns. If you want to be heard, the employee survey is one of the best ways to be heard, and the best part about it is: it’s confidential.
At Paradigm Shifters, we focus on the ‘people’ side of change and performance initiatives to create meaningful, positive organizational change for our clients. We help you to design and facilitate workplace surveys. For more information on our consulting, training and coaching services, call us today at (+1) 415-702-0334.