Why John Deere Measures Employee Morale Every Two Weeks

We’re big fans of small, frequent surveys. As organizations of all sizes examine the annual review and find it wanting, pulse surveys that serve as a quick check-in for employees are becoming more popular. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review looks at how John Deere has started to survey employees every two weeks — and at the results they get. Here’s what they have learned.

It Keeps The Company Competitive

The world of farm equipment has gone high tech, and the mighty manufacturer has to be as nimble as the newest startup if it wants to compete. Periodic surveys can give the company weekly insights into how employees are feeling, what their motivation level is and what concerns they might have about the direction of the organization.

These kinds of frequent surveys don’t have to drown you in data. Just a couple of effective questions can pinpoint how well processes are working and how people feel about the work they do, giving you an insightful reading into your organization. According to the article, team members are asked to answer the question “How do you feel about the value you were able to contribute in the last cycle?” on a 10-point scale. That’s all it takes.

Companies of any size can use this approach to keep themselves strong. Asking your employees about the value they feel they brought to the company in the past month or quarter can help identify people or departments who feel unconnected from the overall organization. Doing so frequently can help you fine-tune their work and where they fit in the process.

It Finds Problems Before They Can Get Big

Surveys can help identify dropping or flat-lining engagement before it shows up in performance or your bottom line. By the time a project is late or an employee gives a two-week notice, it’s often too late to fix the issue, and instead you have to deal with the consequences by managing a project that’s running behind or by filling an empty position.

Surveys can provide early warnings about issues that are beginning to fester, changing conversations from “tell me what happened here” to “let’s talk about how you’re feeling on this team.” And it doesn’t take a lot of resources to run these kinds of surveys: Quick, scalable pulse tools are exactly what you need to identify these kinds of issues.

It Helps Build Effective Teams

According to the article, John Deere uses biweekly engagement surveys to take a reading on team health as well as individual sentiment. Many factors can affect teams: New people may join in, a regular member might be going through a tough time at home, forces outside their control may affect employees’ ability to work effectively together. It’s crucial to keep team morale high so everyone stays coordinated, and regular surveys can help managers determine whether a team is working well together.

Think about the teams in your organization: Chances are you probably know how they work together, what they do well and what they might struggle with sometimes. What if you could tweak their effectiveness and get a reading on things that might push them off course a little, before it shows up in their work?

You don’t have to be a global manufacturer to use engagement surveys to improve your bottom line. It doesn’t take huge software platforms or teams of analysts to sift through data. A few targeted questions, asked every couple of weeks, are enough to give you a snapshot into how your employees feel about their work, and provide a road map for you to follow.

Road map to employee engagement

Talmetrix is a software company that measures and facilitates employee engagement, captures team feedback and maps relationships between employees. Organizations use that data to improve retention, build a better culture and boost performance and productivity. Contact us to learn more about our solutions.

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