One of my biggest challenges as an employee experience researcher was mediating the discussions among the members. The discussions often became emotional, and resulted in the sole decision of the leaders, which discouraged other members to say what they think. I created a survey to understand how the members are satisfied with their job. The result of the survey showed that two lowest scores were for the job satisfaction – routine / tasks and career paths. Therefore, I planned workshop sessions for side projects, and 1-on-1 sessions focusing on future career.
On 1-on-1 sessions, some members said they hesitated to say their opinions openly when they talk to the leaders because they are worried about how the leaders think about themselves. As we were a startup in the very early stage, our decision making process was mostly based on the decision of the leaders. Therefore, some employees told me that they talked less in the discussions and conversations about the product because they thought their opinions did not matter anyway. The leaders and I did not want that to happen, so I decided to do the survey to understand how everyone thought about their work lives.
I created a survey regarding the job satisfaction, openness, psychological safety, and teamwork because those aspects were important for us at that time. I refer to Google re:work, Korea Health Personnel Licensing Examination Institute, and QuestionPro to create a survey. Among the questions on the list, I chose the ones those are well-matched to our situation. I mixed the categories and randomly assigned the order of the questions. I chose more questions on psychological safety because it was one of the reasons that I decided to do this survey.
● I am interest in what I am doing right now.
● The work I am currently doing is suitable for my abilities.
● My current work is helpful to my career.
● My company gives an opportunity for individual career growth.
● I think I grew compared to 6 months ago.
● My opinions are well reflected at work.
● When I make business decisions, it’s easy to gather the information I need to make better decisions.
● I am well aware of who to ask for help when I have an unexpected problem.
● If you make a mistake on this team, it is often held against you.
● Members of this team are able to bring up problems and tough issues.
● People on this team sometimes reject others for being different.
● It is safe to take a risk on this team.
● It is difficult to ask other members of this team for help.
● No one on this team would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts.
● Working with members of this team, my unique skills and talents are valued and utilized.
● When I need, my teammates help me.
● I am happier at work than I was 6 months ago.
● Generally, I am satisfied with my work.
The lowest score was for job satisfaction regarding routine and tasks. The lowest score among the question was “I am interest in what I am doing right now.”
And the second lowest score was openness – “When I make business decisions, it’s easy to gather the information I need to make better decisions.”
Impact and Reflection
I was worried about the psychological safety but the survey showed it was not the biggest issue. However, I knew it was important factor, so I kept my eyes on it and opened my ears with 1-on-1 meetings.
With the result of the survey, I decided to talk about the routine and everyday tasks with the employees at 1-on-1 sessions and try something new.
Since we had to focus on growing the business and there were a lot of tasks to finish, we never had time to try something new. On the week of less burden, we tried a “side project day.” Everyone decided on a project they had thought of and worked on it for one day and present briefly about what they did. The purpose of the side projects was to let them work on something they wanted to do. I received a feedback that the side project time was valuable and they wanted more of it.
One of the limitations of this survey was that I only had a few questions for some aspects. For example, I only had one question for teamwork, so it is hard to say that the answers represent people’s opinion well for same aspects. Also, how the different positions work differently could have influenced the answers to this survey. I understood that survey might not be the best way to gather people’s thoughts because we are a tiny team, but I wanted to add anonymity to my research. I wanted to make sure I could hear something that they could not say to me directly. However, I still thought talking to each member was the best way to understand employee experience.