By Maria Irshad, CAPP

Last year, a few team members approached me to express concern relative to their jobs. This is not new: I have an open-door policy and always want to make sure that anyone can approach me when they have something on their mind. Sometimes the concerns are minor and can be addressed easily, and other times I have to give them an answer that they didn’t want to hear. But this time was different. These concerns were not of the minor variety and because I felt that morale in our division was at risk, I felt we had to do more.

I met with the management team and asked them to help me plan and move forward with an employee survey. A new staff member took the lead with in-person interviews and collected the data from the online survey.

Employee surveys can be unsettling. The past three years were challenging and just like any organization, we had limited resources that simply outweighed our needs.

I understood and expected that salary issues would be front and center in our survey results.

I was wrong.

It’s just like what you read in every management article but sometimes don’t practice it as much as you should. A majority of our team desired more frequent recognition. Naturally, money helped, but they also understand the environment of working in a city with a tight budget.

Working together eight hours a day, five days a week, we are a work family and we have to remember that supporting and recognizing the value in what we do is important. We learned that most of our employees were happy at work and that a majority said they would re-apply for their jobs. Most of our employees desired increased recognition and to feel valued by the organization.

Employee feedback is vital to continued improvement. We know there are things we do well and we certainly understand there are things that can be done better. Top on the list of things we could do better was to develop methods to recognize our coworkers for their valuable contributions. And when we reviewed the results of our survey with them, we also outlined steps we would take moving forward to address some of the concerns.

Employee surveys are necessary for any business unit. The people who put in the time day in and day out are the reason our organizations are successful. It only makes sense that we take time to solicit feedback from our team. As managers, we give annual performance reviews. Shouldn’t our team members have the same opportunity to review the organization and provide feedback?

When was the last time you surveyed all the employees in your department?