2 Surveys To Support Change Management
By Brittany Head, PhD - March 25, 2019
Many leaders have the impulse to suspend surveying during times of change, due to a belief that survey results will quickly become invalid as change implementation progresses. This is a mistake; surveying is, if anything, more important during change. Maintaining a strong workplace culture and morale during turbulence, growth, and upheaval requires an ongoing, meaningful conversation across the organization.
Change management surveys are particularly useful for monitoring employee perceptions and flagging trouble spots while change is ongoing. Annual census surveys are also useful, if the change is underway during the time of year when the survey is usually administered. This article will explore the benefits of deploying both types of surveys during periods of organizational change.
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Change Management Surveys: Taking the Pulse of the Organization During Change
Pulse surveys and continuous listening strategies are particularly useful during times of change, because they can be fine-tuned to monitor employee perceptions of change and the change process, and flag trouble spots for intervention or adjustment. (Tweet this!)
In addition to communicating rationales and details of the change to employees, pulsing and continuous listening allow for more regular feedback from employees, to keep conversation going within the organization. The data derived from change management surveys can be used to track trends and react more quickly to emerging trends.
Surveys are particularly useful for addressing these important aspects of change management:
- Clarity of vision and strategy
- Effectiveness of stakeholder identification, management, and engagement
- Engagement and visibility of leadership
- Bringing employees on board with the change
- Effectiveness of communication
The use of employee surveys during organizational change provides a valuable opportunity to obtain insights into these and other topic areas to inform plans and action.
In addition to communicating about change in the workplace, surveying through change at strategic milestones pinpoints when change is impacting different populations within the organization in terms of timing and magnitude. During the early stages, senior leader alignment is critical. During this period, executives may feel the impact of the proposed changes earlier than others in the company. While some organization-wide announcements may have taken place, the change is not as real for employees at other levels. As such, impact on day-to-day work life is not as pronounced. However, as the senior leadership group moves through the change process and comes to terms with what is occurring, the broader implementation becomes more salient to managers and employees.
Regular change management surveys throughout the change process will highlight the impact on employee engagement for different groups as change begins to impact their role. This allows coordination of communications and helps identify the training or other resources needed to support employees in the changing organizational landscape.
Conducting Annual Census Surveys During Change: Getting Your Bearings
If change is being implemented during the time of year when the annual survey is usually deployed, it’s important to stay on track and administer the survey as usual. Surveying at this time will provide valuable information about the impact of change on different departments, work units, and job types when compared with the data from previous census surveys.
Census surveys conducted during organizational change should include:
- Normal item sets to illustrate trends and understand shifts in workplace culture
- Benchmark items to provide stable external reference points
- Items relevant and unique to the change, to help leaders and managers understand what is going on during the change and allow employees to share their needs and perspectives
Comparing an annual survey conducted during change to data from previous surveys can help you define where employees and the organization are on the change curve—at the beginning; at the bottom of the curve; or starting to climb to a new normal. Comparison with the annual survey in the subsequent year will show if the change has become fully normalized within the organization.
Get the data you need to support change management.
Change is difficult, but with thoughtful change management, the end result can be positive. At Perceptyx, we can help smooth the way with annual and change management surveys designed to get the information you need to manage change and support ongoing engagement. Get in touch and let us show you how surveys can help your changing organization achieve the most positive outcomes.