The Survey Still Rules

An employee survey is one of the best tools companies have for getting feedback on everything from morale and engagement to deciding what to have for lunch.

“Employee engagement” has long been a metric for workplace satisfaction. Gartner reports that 80% of senior leaders believe good employee engagement is a critical part of achieving business objectives. They also reveal that, 74% (of organizations) will still use formal, large-scale surveys to gauge employee engagement.

Survey results remain a vital indicator of employee morale and business health. But surveys themselves face the same challenges that trouble internal communications in general. There's a struggle to digitize processes, low participation levels, and a lack of reach to all employees. These hurdles are especially frustrating to internal communicators already pressed for time and resources. However, abandoning one of the few established methods of receiving employee feedback isn’t a solution. In fact, despite the difficulties, employee engagement surveys remain one of the few direct channels for workers to share their cares and concerns with management. 

So, how do communications professionals optimize employee engagement surveys?

Making It Count

This was the question posed to Troy Griggsby, Communications & Brand Manager of US AutoLogistics (USAL). Based in Houston, Texas, USAL has more than 600 employees who deliver automobiles to dealerships across the United States. With over 80% of USAL’s workforce on the road and often disconnected from the corporate office, getting feedback was a challenge for Griggsby and his team.

“We had to find ways to be present and engaged with our driving associates despite the miles separating us. Developing a mobile communication solution was a no-brainer, and many of our associates asked for it. We found Staffbase to be a simple, elegant solution to add to our communication toolkit,” says Griggsby.

USAL’s employee app based on Staffbase, Flipper, quickly became a company-wide hit. With employees active both on personal phones and company-issued tablets, Flipper’s adoption rate is currently at 94%. Yet, the enthusiasm for the app has not stopped there.

USAL Employee App
USAL employee with Flipper employee app.

An App for Employee Engagement Surveys

From the day an employee starts at USAL, the Flipper app gives them a permanent, accessible platform for offering feedback. At the same time, it provides the communications team with an immediate way to reach everyone. This has transformed the way Griggsby thinks about USAL’s employee engagement survey. 

“Our surveys were a corporate initiative every two years, and we relied a lot on email to administer them, which meant we would see a return of only 30%–35%,” said Griggsby.

For their latest survey, USAL used the SurveyMonkey plugin to directly integrate their employee experience survey into Flipper. By linking the survey directly in the app menu, employees can give their feedback instantly. And they don't even have to leave the app. This simple step increased the survey response rate by 40% compared to previous email distributed surveys. 

With more than 70% of non-desk workers choosing to participate, Griggsby describes the heightened reach and participation results as, “a huge bonus for USAL. We’re asking about things that are important to [our drivers] in a format that’s finally accessible.”

Employee Survey
By linking surveys directly in their app menu, employees can give their feedback instantly.

Checking in During Change Management

This feedback loop was particularly useful when USAL introduced a new fleet strategy. Decommissioning equipment and investing in new tools was not only an enormous business investment. It was a step that directly affected workers’ abilities to do their jobs safely and successfully.

“The tractor-trailers are the drivers’ offices and the tools they use to do their work, so they care about every detail. It’s important for us to respond and have our associates be heard— especially our drivers. We need to understand them on an operational and personal level,” says Griggsby.

While the bi-annual survey is an extensive review of company culture, Griggsby and his team also used their employee app for quicker check-ins during the change process. Tools like pulse checks and happiness surveys were a simple and efficient way for the teams at the headquarters in Houston to stay in touch with remote employees and for non-desk workers to feel involved in the decision-making process. 

Employee Pulse Survey
Pulse surveys are a simple and efficient way for headquarters to stay in touch with remote employees.

USAL’s example of giving employees smaller, more frequent opportunities to offer feedback is a growing trend within internal communications.

A recent Gartner report shows that, “59% of organizations use engagement data from sources other than formal surveys.”

When paired with proven review methods such as an employee survey, such data can help communication and HR professionals better understand and encourage employee engagement. An employee app makes collecting this data simpler than ever before.

As a Flipper administrator, Griggsby can generate in-depth reports on interaction, downloads, and viewing data. Additionally, he can see a general overview of engagement in the app’s dashboard. These measurements give USAL’s communications team the context they need to tie their efforts to the company’s greater business goals. An d it allows them to keep the focus on what matters most, their people.

Putting People First

Ultimately, USAL sees the Flipper employee app as an extension of their “associate-first philosophy.” 

“We want our employees to come to work feeling good about their role in the organization,” says Griggsby.

USAL’s decision to implement an employee app and use it to solicit feedback has effectively boosted the company’s employee engagement and has been an important step in rounding out their holistic approach to company culture. 

To find out how an employee app will directly benefit you organization, check out our whitepaper, The ROI of an Employee App. And to read more about employee app use cases, visit our informative blog.

Read more about employee communication best practices: