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Organizational Culture

Leading Places To Work Pulse Survey Themes

by David Goott

Eighty-seven (87%) of employees at Jewish organizations feel that they have colleagues who they can turn to for support. That’s one of many things Leading Edge is learning from a series of “Pulse Surveys” that have been conducted by over 90 organizations nationwide.

Leading Edge launched the Pulse Survey in May to empower nonprofit leaders to get frequent and ongoing feedback from their employees about how they are experiencing work in the current environment. Leaders are using results to understand and improve their employees’ work experience over time, empowering them to do their best work.

Like the Leading Edge Employee Experience Survey, which has been conducted annually since 2016, the Pulse Survey asks Jewish nonprofit employees about their experience at work. But this year, due to the pandemic, one long survey didn’t seem appropriate or useful, and year-over-year comparisons are not relevant because of the uniqueness of the current work environment. The Pulse Survey is a shorter, simpler, and more frequent way to check in with employees. As part of the survey process, Leading Edge offers pro-bono consultations to help leaders analyze their results and plan action.

Over 3,800 employees have used a Pulse Survey to let their leaders know how they’re doing during this turbulent time and how their needs and concerns are evolving. The combined data from all of the Pulse Surveys provides valuable insight into how employees in our field are experiencing the current reality. The overall picture they paint is described below.

Too Busy or Not Busy Enough  

  • 90% agreed that they have enough work to remain appropriately busy during this time
  • 65% agreed that their workload is manageable during this time

Given the difficulties balancing work with caregiving responsibilities, shifting priorities, and the myriad of other challenges brought on by the pandemic, it is expected that many employees feel overwhelmed. To address this, some organizations are allowing employees to work flexible hours while others are finding ways to reward employees who are going above and beyond during this time.

Direct Management

  •  86% agreed that their immediate managers are appropriately responsive
  • 84% agreed that they feel supported by their immediate manager during this time

During this difficult time, it is noteworthy that a large majority of employees feel that their supervisor is adequately responding to them and their needs.

Staying Connected & Supported

  • 87% of respondents feel that they have colleagues who they can turn to for support
  • 85% feel that their immediate team is finding ways to stay connected

Despite the lack of opportunities for in-person connection currently, a high percentage of employees feel supported by and connected to their teams. Still, staying connected is no easy task; organizations continue to explore various options to foster employee connection, including changing the frequency and length of meetings and adopting new channels of communication.

Health & Well-being

  • 83% agreed that their organization is taking appropriate steps to prioritize their physical health
  • 69% agreed that their organization is taking appropriate steps to prioritize their mental health

Figuring out how to support employees’ mental health is challenging as everyone is experiencing this time differently. Many organizations are already making an effort to support employee mental health and yet leaders are recognizing that there is more that can be done. Some organizations are implementing new programs, interventions, or policy changes, and others are engaging with mental health professionals to provide employees with training or counseling.

Organizational Values, Goals, & Policies

  • 87% agreed that they are able to connect their daily work to the larger goals of the organization
  • 87% agreed that their organization remains committed to its core values
  • 72% agreed that they have clarity around current organizational goals and priorities
  • 69% agreed that they know where to find their organization’s updated HR policies

Organizations are generally remaining true to their values, and yet many are reassessing goals and priorities to address the changing needs of those they serve. While the policy number is relatively low, many organizations identified this as an area of growth and are already working to ensure that policies are easier to access.

Setting Employees up for Success

  • 84% of respondents feel that they have access to the information they need to work effectively
  • 76% agree or strongly agree that they have the physical tools enabling them to work effectively
  • 78% agreed that leaders are sharing timely updates around organizational changes
  • 64% agreed that they are included in decisions that affect their work

In order to support employees in their ability to work remotely, some organizations are providing stipends for purchasing tools or technology to set up a home office. Given the quick decisions that leaders have made in response to the changing work environment, it is not surprising that some feel that they’re not being included in important decisions. Many leaders are working to communicate the reasons behind these decisions — even if they cannot include employees in the process.

About the Author
  • David Goott is Program Manager at Leading Edge.

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