Employee pulse check: measure the satisfaction and engagement of your team

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel about your job right now?” This simple and direct question has become a weekly routine for many companies looking to measure the well-being of their employees.

Indeed, we no longer wait for annual reports to gauge the mood of teams. The pulse is taken at any time of the year and in various ways. Internal barometers, surveys, 1:1 meetings are multiplying with a view to re-engaging the employee by listening and quickly taking action if warning signs appear.

Engaged employee makes your clients happy ! - Popwork

Why include employee satisfaction as a major topic for companies? We all know how employee satisfaction has a direct impact on the quality of life at work, on the customer experience and on the overall performance of the company. It's simple mathematics: the more employees are listened to and supported, the happier they are to come to work and the more they invest themselves. In order to offer the best employee experience, it is therefore necessary to measure their satisfaction, and even better, their engagement.

Why make employee satisfaction a priority? How to effectively take the pulse of your team?

Why survey employees

According to a 2018 "Reveal your talents" study by ADP (Automatic Data Processing), more than 50% of French employees believe that their potential is not really perceived by their employer, 24% consider themselves just a number in the company and 27% are thinking about resigning several times a year… and more and more of theù are taking action. Hence the "Great Resignation" phenomenon, which started in the US this summer and which seems to be spreading around the world. In August 2021, 55% of working Americans intended to look for a new job in the next 12 months, according to financial services company Bankrate.

What are these massive amounts of departures of employees due to? Contrary to what one might think, the main reason is not related to salary dissatisfaction. A recent study by the MIT Management review gives three reasons: a corporate culture deemed too toxic, poor internal organization or a lack of recognition on the part of the company.

In an era of hyper-connection, digitalization, renewal of working methods, mix of private life and professional life, we undoubtedly need more and more recognition and to give meaning to our job. The crisis we are going through and remote working are also undoubtedly contributing to greater employee demands in terms of listening, support and benevolence. A recent study by Welcome to the Jungle also points out that 39% of French employees affected by 100% remote work consider themselves less engaged than before the start of the pandemic. As we are increasingly connected through virtual tools, individuals are more than ever questioning meaning at work and the need for human connections. Bernard Coulaty, author of Engagement 4.0: For a sustainable experience at work, with and by employees (EMS editions), underlines this paradox and defines 8 engagement profiles to help managers see things more clearly:

  • The arsonist and the tourist: the first is actively disengaged, the second is passive.
  • The minimalist worker and the grudge holder: these two profiles can disengage quickly if the company is not careful.
  • The builder and the alchemist, two engaged profiles
  • Burn-outers and fanatics, two over-engaged profiles

These 8 profiles confirm the importance of surveying the teams on a regular basis, to both motivate under-engaged profiles, retain engaged profiles and take care of the “over-committed”.

To sum up, surveying your employees allows you to:

  • to (re)establish a dialogue between management and employees
  • assess impacts in a period of change
  • to better understand how employees apprehend their relationship to the company, to the organization of work, to management
  • to assess the level of adherence of employees to the values ​​of the organization
  • to detect and combat situations of over-commitment that can lead to burn-out
  • identify weak signals and anticipate drops in morale that could result in resignations
  • to collect and give relevant feedback
  • to retain employees
  • increase productivity
  • to limit turnover
  • improve the overall reputation of the company and therefore attract new talent

Managers and HRs, how to take the pulse of employees

The annual performance review is always a good opportunity to have a privileged discussion with an employee. However, to collect the needs and expectations of employees more regularly, it is advisable to set up additional actions throughout the year. For example, Saint-Gobain created Me@Saint-Gobain, Bouygues Construction rolled out the “Harmonies” approach, and Nature & Découvertes questions its employees every week. "We were wondering how to survey employees in a simple way to allow managers to have a direct view of their team and set up a rapid action plan", explains Anne Deneux, director of human resources for the brand, at Les Echos. She had previously attempted the half-yearly surveys "but the time to analyze them and learn from them, the requests had evolved", she specifies.

But what questions to ask? What topics should be addressed so that the pulse check is effective? Gallup has studied the daily lives of 2.7 million workers to identify the 12 priority needs of employees to be met so that they feel fully fulfilled in their work.

12 priority needs of employees

Depending on these 12 needs, you can more easily define the topics to be addressed during your questionnaires, whether they are monthly, quarterly or annual. Here is an idea of topics to discuss with employees:

  • organization and working environment
    • Do you know what is expected of you on your mission?
    • management and relationship with management
    • Do you trust your manager?
    • Do you feel properly supported?
    • How does your manager help you perform, under what conditions?
    • Do you feel valued enough? Do you think that your work is recognized at its fair value?
  • corporate culture
    • Do you share the company's values and mission?
  • general working atmosphere, well-being
    • Are you currently evolving in a pleasant atmosphere?
    • Are you comfortable with your team?
    • What is your relationship with the other members? Does teamwork work?
    • Do you feel like part of a team, or on the contrary working alone?
    • Do you feel stressed?
  • the work itself
    • Do you enjoy what you do?
    • Do you think your team's mission brings value?
    • Do you have the necessary resources to carry out your mission?
    • What do you think of your workload?
    • How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the tools and technologies made available?
    • How would you rate your level of autonomy?
  • career prospects
    • Do you feel like you continue to learn within the team?
    • Do you feel like you can grow?

In seeking answers to these questions, companies not only want to know employee satisfaction, but also their commitment, that is to say their propensity to be real players and ambassadors for their company. It is then the company's turn to react: the results of an annual survey can be shared internally, but above all they must be treated as seriously as financial results. The company should not delay in taking various concrete measures adapted to the context and the problems raised. For example, what should be put in place to improve the comfort of the workplace? How to anticipate and fight against stress? etc.

Managers taking the pulse directly

While annual surveys allow managers and HR to make long-term decisions, regular pulse taking by managers offers the possibility of capturing the mood and state of mind of employees more directly. Managers can then adapt their management according to the collected answers and quickly put in place actions so that everyone's daily life improves.

At Popwork, we consider that regular monitoring is part of management rituals that must be implemented in order to build trusted relationships between managers and their teams. To ease conversations between employees and managers, we have created the “check-in”, a set of simple questions sent to all team members on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. The first question is always a question about mood. “How do you feel about the past week?” To answer, employees draw from a word cloud, in which there are positive but also more negative emotions (stress, work overload, frustration). Then, everyone can associate a qualitative comment to be able to share their feelings with their managers. Managers have access to a dashboard giving them an instant view of the morale of their entire team. This "mood barometer" allows them to visualize people who are doing great, and on the contrary, people with whom they need to talk.

Popwork team mood dashboard

Within Popwork, companies and teams can also activate monthly variations of the check-in questions, which makes it possible to gauge mood on two other dimesions. The first week of each month, your team members will be asked two questions: their satisfaction with the past month (from 0 to 100) and their workload (from 0 to 100). The results can be found in the individual pages of each team member but also in the manager's dashboard. 1:1 meetings then make it possible to dig deeper into the subjects raised during a check-in.