Culture and staff morale are intangible elements of a business that have a huge impact on its success; not only on the financial success but on the wellbeing and happiness of all involved – the business owner, the staff, even rubbing off on clients.
As they say “happy wife, happy life” or in this instance, “a happy team creates the dream…”
As much as it is intangible, staff morale can indeed be measured – and that which can be measured can be improved! A great addition to your operating rhythm for managing a high performance team is to regularly seek feedback from your team members; to get a temperature check and a sense of how everyone is feeling. This will give you much better insight than simply just ‘the feel’ of walking in and around the office and will empower you with information on what you can improve. Of course, it’s important that you act on the information if you’re going to gather it!
In an environment where it’s increasingly difficult to attract experienced, quality staff, the information you gather (and the fact that you care enough to gather it!) can also be a positive addition to your recruitment process.
A great way to gather this intel is to conduct an anonymous staff survey. Note that this exercise is distinct from your team feedback to be used in staff reviews, it’s seeking feedback on the overall culture and ‘vibe’ of the business, and captures input from your team members.
Depending on the size of your team, you could have conversations about this in your regular meetings but we do know that more often, people will be more forthcoming and open about their feedback if they have time to think about it and not be put on the spot. It’s also easier to be honest and open in an anonymous environment, when they’re not physically looking at someone that could influence their responses.
So a great way to do this is to do an annual survey. Make sure to pick your list of questions carefully – we have curated a sample list below to provide inspiration for you; we would suggest having 8-10 questions, across the following categories to ensure a well-rounded survey:
● Leadership & Management
● Fit & Belonging
● Team Culture
You can also collect the one measure to rule them all – a Net Promoter score of your employee engagement, i.e.
“On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend <your business name> to others as a great place to work?” (Where 1 = not at all likely, 10 = extremely likely)
You can add specific items to your question set depending on information that you might seek that is unique to your business, or unique to your growth phase. Evolve Alliance members can find an extensive list of questions to choose from in our Staff Morale – Survey Question Bank.
Set these questions up in a survey tool like Alchemer or Survey Monkey and have all of your staff complete annually. By keeping the questions regular from one year to the next, you will get a great benchmark to track the ongoing morale and culture of your firm. Be sure to provide plenty of opportunity for free text to explain more about what the employee means/feels and to be able to offer suggestions for improvement.
It will be important to position the survey well with your team – helping them understand why you’re seeking their feedback and showing commitment as to what you will do with the information you receive. People will soon tire of providing their insights if they feel that it’s a token exercise that doesn’t influence change for the better. Time your survey so that you can share the results with your team and discuss at your annual planning day. Not only to thank them for their participation and to celebrate high scores; you might collect some great suggestions for how the culture could be improved. If it happens that your feedback is not as positive as you’d like, you’ll gain great knowledge from the exercise, and will likely achieve positive gains by genuinely seeking support from the team to improve.
Here is a small sample of the types of questions you might include:
● How would you rate the overall staff morale at <Business Name> at the moment?
(1 = Very Poor, 5 = Fantastic)
● How would you rate how you are feeling in your role? or
How happy are you in your current role and your day to day duties?
(1 = Unmotivated & Unfulfilled, 5 = Inspired & Fulfilled)
● How familiar are you with our Company Values?
(1 = No idea what you are talking about, 5 = I can recite them off the top of my head)
● One of our values is to <XXXX>, how well do you think we, as a business, live this value? (repeat this for all values)
● Do you feel recognised and valued for the work you do at <Business Name>?
(1 = Never, 5 = Always)