June 11, 2019
Officevibe at Sophilabs: How Checking the Pulse of Our Company Culture Helps Us Maximize Motivation and Engagement
It's important to us that our company culture is thriving and that our team members feel aligned with our values and motivated by our purpose. We want to ensure that our team members are learning and growing within sophilabs, that they have the resources they need to do their work, and that they feel valued by their team and the company. But how can we get sincere feedback on how our team members feel about these issues and other crucial aspects of our work environment and company culture?
The statistics show that most employees consider traditional employee satisfaction surveys to be a waste of time, and there are legitimate reasons for that attitude. Annual surveys (the most common way to gather employee feedback) tend to only reflect the cultural temperature at the moment the survey was taken, rather a complete picture of the past year. Participation rates are low given that employees often abandon surveys that take more than eight minutes to complete, and this further deteriorates the quality of the data.
In addition, the time it takes to compile and analyze annual surveys causes an inevitable delay in addressing any areas that need improvement. Sometimes, by the time managers identify problem areas, it may be too late to act on them in a meaningful way. This lack of action from management contributes to employees perceiving the surveys as pointless, which results in lower participation and lower quality data in future surveys. Quarterly surveys fare slightly better with these issues, but often fail to yield results that truly help increase employee engagement. 1
Fortunately, Officevibe is doing great work helping companies tackle these problems. In this post, we'll delve into how we use Officevibe's pulse surveys to gauge the health of our company culture, continuously improve ourselves, and ensure that sophilabs is a fantastic place to work.
What's a Pulse Survey?
A pulse survey is a short, anonymous survey of five to ten questions that usually takes only a couple of minutes to complete. The survey is sent once a week or once every two weeks. This allows people management teams to both act on issues quickly and measure trends over time. The questions vary each time so data can be gathered in different areas (and team members don't get bored of repetitive questions!).
Pulse surveys have higher participation rates than traditional surveys, meaning that the data is much more accurate. They provide insight on a variety of topics, including values alignment, personal growth and learning, relationships with managers and colleagues, happiness, wellness, and feedback and recognition. Each metric has sub-areas so companies can gain a deeper understanding of how they're faring. People management teams can also see what questions were asked in order to collect the data. Pulse surveys are a fantastic tool for evaluating which company efforts work and which don't when it comes to motivating team members and fostering a healthy company culture. 2
How It Works At Sophilabs
Every other Friday morning, a bot on Slack sends out the first question of an Officevibe pulse survey. When a team member selects their answer, they are automatically redirected to Officevibe, where they can complete the rest of the survey. Since our team members are constantly communicating on Slack, we consider this the most effective way to remind everyone to participate.
Our biweekly pulse survey is completely anonymous because we want team members to feel safe and confident giving totally honest answers. The survey consists of only five questions to ensure that it takes just a minute or two to complete. Typical questions might include, "Are you happy with the frequency at which you receive recognition from your manager?" or "Do you feel like you have the opportunity to improve your skills?" or "On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend your organization as a good place to work?" 3
While most questions are quantitative (yes/no, rate from 0 to 10), there is always at least one qualitative question where team members type out an answer. As per Officevibe's recommendations, qualitative questions usually follow up on quantitative ones, giving team members the opportunity to expand on their rating or provide an explanation or suggestion.
In addition to the biweekly pulse surveys, team members can submit anonymous questions or suggestions at any time via Officevibe's Suggestion Box tool. Every Tuesday, we share these questions and suggestions and respond to them in front of the whole team at our weekly town hall meeting. It's important to us that individual team members see that they are being heard and that we are transparent about how we address their concerns. We hope this weekly practice encourages other team members to voice their opinions through Officevibe.
Lastly, after our end-of-year talk, we use Officevibe to send out a short customized poll on what we can improve the following year. This poll is usually more targeted towards specific areas (e.g. our strategies, processes, or our OKRs) in which we're looking to make long term improvements.
Through these tools, we strive to make it easy for team members to give us sincere and regular feedback. Individuals are most engaged when they have a voice within the organization and there are clear, accessible ways to raise concerns. Our team members' input continually helps us create a motivating environment and improve as an organization.
What We've Learned
We've found Officevibe to be an invaluable tool in helping our team members and company thrive. There have been numerous occasions where we've been able to respond to specific suggestions or to the data collected through biweekly pulse surveys in order to improve our office environment and the way we work.
Most recently, our ratings in employee wellness as well as an anonymous question in the Suggestion Box alerted us to the fact that we could do better in providing an environment that facilitates healthy habits. In response, we purchased standing desks for our team, added two racks for additional bike parking, changed our cereal selection to include granola and other healthy options, and made sure our kitchen was consistently stocked with fresh fruit. We also implemented a new employee benefit in which we cover 50% of our team members' monthly gym membership fees. Since then, we've been happy to observe that our wellness ratings have been rising for the past three months and are now at an all-time high.
Thanks to feedback received on Officevibe, we learned that our team members could benefit from a higher level of flexibility and independence. We implemented a work-from-home policy in which team members can work remotely up to three days per month. We consider our team members' input essential to our organizational culture, so we remain open to adapting policies that don't help us meet our goals.
We also learned that we could do a better job with internal communication on an organizational level. We decided to migrate all company information to Notion so that our team can find everything they need to know in one place. Here, team members can access our Playbook and Code of Conduct, information about benefits, as well as descriptions of all the different roles in the company so they can have a clear vision of their career path within sophilabs. Company announcements and event photos are also posted here. In addition to announcing that we had adopted Notion in a company-wide email, we demonstrated the new tool during our regular one-on-one meetings with each team member to make sure everyone knew how to navigate the tool and find the information they needed.
Other suggestions taught us that we could recognize our team members' achievements and hard work more often. We now regularly reserve part of our weekly town hall meetings to praise individuals and teams for their recent accomplishments in front of the whole company. It's important to us that team members see that their contributions make a real difference and that we truly appreciate their work. In addition, we started encouraging teammates to praise each other more often on our written feedback tool. We provided some handy tips on how to write specific, meaningful praise in order to support team members who might not know how to get started.
Officevibe has even helped us strengthen our friendships and community. One contributor to the Suggestion Box asked if we could host a company Game Night. We loved the idea, and it was so well received by the rest of the team that Game Night now happens every month at sophilabs. We love that Officevibe provides such a simple way for team members to be active contributors to our company culture and help it evolve for the better.
Listening to our team members is vital to making sophilabs a great place to work. Officevibe has provided us with very effective tools for receiving honest feedback, which in turn allows us to make important changes that help all of us thrive. We look forward to learning more about how we can keep improving and help sophilabs grow into the best version of itself.
"29 Simple Employee Survey Questions to Engage Your Team" by Sophie Choukah, Officevibe, February 9, 2018. ↩