Do you proactively keep in touch with how your team is doing in real time? At Value Capture, we do so on a weekly basis.
We created a simple and effective tool called a “pulse survey” that provides us with insights on how people are feeling on a couple of dimensions.
Each week, that process lets us know how each person is doing and allows us to follow up individually to support them. Furthermore, the process makes it easy to track trends over time.
This pulse check is even more important in pandemic times, since our team is never in person together, being distributed across North America in every time zone.
Supporting our Team - A Key Element of our Firm’s A3
We developed this tool as part of our people support and development strategy. It also connects into the tiered huddles as part of our management system. This is just one input that we review and take action on.
We have been doing these weekly surveys for a couple of years, and we keep learning and adjusting as we go. Our current survey is more comprehensive than the original version. A key point here is that purposeful learning and iterations are not only positive improvements, but important to get insight into how each team member is doing, every week.
Here’s a snapshot on how our pulse survey works:
- Sent and completed every Thursday
- Consists of 9 questions - focused in on workload, work/life integration, psychological safety and the all-important questions from Paul O’Neill, Sr.
- It takes less than 2 minutes to complete
- Survey is summarized and sent to leaders on Thursday evening, in time for Friday tiered huddles
- Leaders have the data to check in on people and are able to triage, escalate issues - all based on the data
Survey Questions and Possible Response Choices
- How did you feel about your workload this week?
- Overloaded - stressed and/or on edge. Support and or space needed to change status.
- Juggling - many different things. Difficult to focus beyond main priorities, hard to take in new info or make changes.
- Lots going on - but still managing okay.
- Balanced - have mental space to reflect, assess, be creative or try new things.
- Under-utilized - not enough work and/or not working to full potential.
- Did I maintain a work/life integration this week?
- Yes (4-5 days)
- Sometimes (2-3 days)
- No (0-1 day)
- This week I felt included without fear of being embarrassed, marginalized or punished in some way.
- This week I felt open to and safe to learn without fear of being embarrassed, marginalized or punished in some way.
- This week I felt safe to contribute and felt my voice was heard without fear of being embarrassed, marginalized or punished in some way.
- This week I felt safe to challenge the status quo without fear of being embarrassed, marginalized or punished in some way.
- This week, I was treated with dignity and respect by every person I encountered without regard to race, gender, educational attainment, rank, or any other distinguishing feature?
- This week, was I given the tools, training, resources, encouragement, etc., to make a contribution to the organization that added meaning to my life?
- This week, I was recognized for my contribution by someone whose opinion matters to me?
All questions have comment fields for details, if team members want to add comments.
What We Do with the Responses
Typically, the leader reaching out to the employee who has expressed concerns (or a non-ideal situation) will ask a few questions to gain more insight into the situation. Some of the issues highlighted may be small enough to be handled immediately, while others may be more systemic, requiring another process like an A3, personal development plan, or another method to resolve the issue to root cause.
This weekly survey is a small piece of our management system, which consists of meetings, huddles, one-on-ones, and other elements to keep us aligned, develop people and practice what we teach leaders in our advisory work.
Another key point is to be diligent about follow up. Employee feedback that is not acted upon is waste and, more importantly, is disrespectful to the person who provided the feedback.
Learn from Your Team by Checking in with Your Team
I would encourage everyone to give this a try. It’s a small investment of time and it yields big results, including embedding a culture of valuing employees, employee engagement, and real-time problem solving.
You are welcome to use our pulse survey questions, and you can modify these for your own purposes or ask us for help in designing and implementing your own. All we ask is that you share your learnings with us by filling out this form.
You can download this blog post, including the questions, in an easy-to-share PDF by using the button below.
Written by Helen Zak
Helen Zak’s 35-plus years of Lean leadership experience includes executive and advisory roles in the non-profit and healthcare industries, as well as engineering roles at General Motors and plant management at Thermo Fisher Scientific.