20 questions: How to use surveys to engage your team

Surveys are a powerful tool for gathering insights–-and not just from customers. Internally, surveys are a quick, anonymous, and easy-to-implement way to measure engagement at your agency.

According to a recent study, nearly half of small businesses do not measure engagement. This is a huge missed opportunity to gather data from your teams, as more engagement usually equates to better performance and more revenue. 

Over the last few years, we have used surveys at Design in Mind to improve morale, inform management decisions, and streamline processes. Here, we’ve shared the strategies and questions that have made the most impact.

Ask about allocations and workload to avoid burnout.

Work distribution is always a hot topic, and one that can be awkward for teams to discuss openly. Surveys offer the chance for anonymous and honest feedback, so your project managers can keep a pulse on the team’s work/life balance and shift priorities and assignments accordingly. Maintaining a sense of fair and balanced work distribution keeps everyone feeling good about doing their part.

  1. Do you feel work is being evenly distributed amongst the team?
  2. In the last month, do you feel you’ve worked more, less or about the same hours as your teammates?
  3. Think back on your last three projects. Would you have benefitted from more support from the team? If so, how?

Assess new tools and processes before you invest.

At agencies, it’s essential to hone efficiency in order to keep projects on track and profitable. Implementing new tools and processes that support your growth is critical, but takes precious time and energy. From discovering pain points with software to evaluating potential bottlenecks, regularly asking about work-flow helps dial things in with less trial and error and address frustrations before they eat up project hours and budget. 

  1. In general, do you feel your assignments are clear and you have all of the information needed to deliver? If not, what type of direction is missing?
  2. Our project managers assign “max hours” to each task. Do you feel you are given enough time to complete the work? Are there certain project types that should be awarded more time?
  3. Google Docs have become a bigger part of our workflow. How would you rate your experience thus far? Please share any pain points you’ve had using them internally and externally, with clients.
  4. Lately, we have been doing fewer design reviews in person. Has feedback been clear and actionable without discussion? For what project types might live review be more helpful?

Shape agency culture with responsive policies.

Policies build the scaffolding for agency culture to grow strong. Good policies meet both business and employee needs and are ultimately more successful with team-wide buy-in. Your agency can use surveys to collect opinions about topics such as flexibility, professional development, social responsibility, and company events. Creating responsive policies that align with their priorities can mean the difference between simply showing up for work and truly committing to your place on the team.  

  1. If we were to implement a flexible start-time policy, what time do you anticipate you would start your day?
  2. We know that professional development is important to you. Are there any specific classes, workshops, conferences, or growth opportunities you’re interested in for the upcoming quarter?
  3. Last month our team volunteered at the Sacred Heart food drive. Which of the following volunteer opportunities are you most interested in next?
  4. Do you feel management addresses your concerns and does their best to act on the feedback you provide?

Boost company morale by celebrating wins.

One of the most significant and unexpected ways we’ve used surveys has been to uplift our teams. Including prompts that highlight wins is a low-effort, high-impact method of making people feel good about their work. Questions prompting everyone to reflect on their contributions (as well as their teammates’) encourages us to celebrate unique talents. They help build a culture of support, unity, and positivity.

  1. What do you consider your biggest feat this month? What contribution(s) are you most proud of? Maybe it was overcoming a design challenge, building a new client relationship, or seeing great results…
  2. Please share a compliment you have for another member of the team….think of this as an opportunity for “silent kudos” and to recognize the hard work and unique contributions of your colleagues.
  3. How have your managers helped you achieve your goals this quarter? What additional resources and support do you need?

Make collaboration a regular discussion topic.

Even at a small agency, it’s all too easy to lose the spirit of collaboration to deadlines. (Headphones on, coffee in hand, go!) In reality, we all know that open lines of communication and having more eyes on our work is a chief asset in design. Spark conversations about the best ways to collaborate, like brainstorms, shared tasks, and regular peer review. Opinions will vary, but asking for this feedback helps set expectations and encourages more collaboration to happen organically. 

  1. In general, do you feel connected to the team?
  2. Which of the following methods best encourage collaboration during your projects?
  3. Do you feel your teammates are receptive of your ideas, comments, and constructive criticism?

Encourage growth through structured self-reflection.

Surveys can be used as a way to step back from the grind and evaluate performance. During quarterly reviews, we use them to encourage self-assessment, reflection, and personal goal setting amongst the team. This holds everyone accountable to their own standards and creates the mindset of looking for ways to do better. It also provides managers with valuable insights about where the team could use support in overcoming challenges, ultimately increasing the quality of output.

  1. What goal(s) would you like to set for yourself over the next three months? What goal would you like to set for the team?
  2. What have been your biggest challenges and accomplishments this quarter?
  3. What skillsets do you need to improve to continue to grow at this company and in your role?

Surveys are so much more than customer feedback. They have the power to transform the way that your agency collects information and makes decisions by creating more transparency among managers, employees, and business owners. Employees who feel that their voices are heard are 4.6x more empowered to do their best work, so showing that you care enough to get their opinion pays off.

 

Quick tip:

When it comes to sending out surveys, we love working with our client SurveyMonkey. Easy set up and versatile features help us collect honest feedback so that we can grow stronger together.