Team satisfaction surveys are a great starting point for engineering leaders looking to build happy and productive teams.
As engineering leaders, our goal is to build and retain happy and productive teams. Employee and team satisfaction surveys are a useful, objective, and data-driven way to see how you are progressing.
I have led teams with low favorability scores, and it can be an arduous but fulfilling journey to turn around the satisfaction and motivation levels in a team. It’s important to remember that an employee satisfaction survey result is simply a path to create the ideal conditions for your team to thrive and deliver their best work.
Common elements of satisfaction surveys
All organizations are different and so is the nature of work, challenges and opportunities for the teams. But the good news is that there are a lot of common elements in employee or team satisfaction surveys which allow us to build some tools and techniques to improve and sustain good satisfaction scores.
Common areas on which feedback is generally sought from team members in a satisfaction survey include:
- Career development and growth opportunities
- Job satisfaction
- Recognition and rewards
- Work life balance
- A sense of belonging
- Vision and direction from the leadership
- Compensation and benefits
As a leader you must keep these areas in mind and consider the positive and negative impact of each area as a result of the decisions and processes in your team.
The path to turn around your team satisfaction
Here are some steps to take after completing a team satisfaction survey:
- Communicate your intent. Thank the team for their feedback in the survey and share with each team member that you are committed to taking the results onboard and will execute on all necessary improvement steps. You must follow this up with quick actions.
- Have candid conversations. Create a comfortable environment and listen to each team member patiently. This is very important to enable you to understand the most important issues in the team or organization.
- Team participation in the action plan. Any employee satisfaction survey action plan can not succeed unless the team is made a part of each step in the process. If possible, one of the team members should lead discussions with the team without the manager’s presence.
Key elements of your action plan
- Don't aim to fix everything in one go. It is possible that you see too many areas which need significant improvement but which can’t be solved within the next two to three months. It is important to prioritize areas to fix, as solid progress in top priority areas can have a ripple effect across a team and result in broad survey result improvements.
- Time-bound follow ups. A team’s motivation to actively participate in surveys is driven by how seriously the results are taken. There should be a clearly time-bound plan to have discussions and come up with action items, ideally within three weeks of the survey results.
- Clear ownership of action items and measurement of progress. While there will be some action items for the manager, some action items are best owned by team members.
High team satisfaction levels need continuous work. Team satisfaction surveys are a great opportunity to identify improvement areas. By working closely with your team and supporting sustainable changes, you will see team satisfaction improve dramatically, and the survey results will follow.