As part of our efforts to continually improve the employee experience, AbstractOps has been using a work culture survey to measure the impacts of company decisions and initiatives on our Operations team. Here we describe our initial experiences.
Quick and Easy Measurements
Our Operations team is a talented group of highly experienced individuals tasked with the challenge of supporting the operations of startups…while supporting the growth of their own startup simultaneously! We don’t want to take their exceptional work for granted, though, and so the AbstractOps Culture Club discussed ways to quickly and frequently check how the team is doing. We decided to partner with a great company, Happy at Work, to power our survey needs.
Each week, we send a Pulse Survey to the Operations team. With just 30 seconds, we can capture 3 important data points on the team:
- How satisfied are you at work? (sliding scale)
- How is your workload? (sliding scale)
- Comments for management? (free text)
Using Happy at Work has allowed us to chart responses over time, giving us a powerful window into how our team is doing and where responses are trending. The data has helped us make decisions about capacity and team wellness in a more proactive manner.
Promoting Psychological Safety
At the turn of the century, research pioneered by Dr. Amy Edmondson identified psychological safety, which is roughly defined as the perceived risk of contributing ideas or information in a group setting, as a key element of a collaborative and creative workplace (1). While AbstractOps always strives to have open and respectful conversations with the team, we know not everyone has the same comfort or perceived risk level in the same settings. We wanted to implement a solution that would allow anyone at the company to share their honest thoughts about their work at AbstractOps without concern.
Happy at Work creates a safe space by anonymizing survey responses. Respondents can also have anonymous chats with management through the platform.
Every Once in While, We Go Deeper
Every few months, we plan on issuing a survey with a few more questions. This July, we sent out our first Extended Survey. While it has about 10 questions, we still wanted to keep the experience as quick as possible. Respondents can finish the survey in about 3 minutes, and the extra data points help us better understand the team. We focused our questions around the following core themes:
- Do you feel supported by company leadership?
- Do you feel your work contributes to the company’s broader goals?
- Do you have a clear sense of the mission and strategic direction of the company?
- How was the experience with our new semi-annual performance review process?
Next Step: Listen
As we gather data through weekly surveys and regularly-timed extended surveys from the team, we’ll learn new ways to support their continued growth and better foster a positive employee experience. We are also looking to expand on the success we’ve had with the Operations team to make Happy at Work a company-wide tool.
The most important thing we can do now is listening. We are excited about what comes next for our young startup!
- Edmondson, Amy C., and Zhike Lei. "Psychological safety: The history, renaissance, and future of an interpersonal construct." Annual review of organizational psychology and organizational behavior 1.1 (2014): 23-43.
Acknowledgements: This work was made possible with the help of Kristin Bass, who conducted vendor research and manages AbstractOps’ implementation of Happy at Work.