The 30,000 Foot View: Actionable Surveys for Impactful Results

The 30,000 Foot View: Actionable Surveys for Impactful Results image
  • Share:

Our COO breaks down the importance of conducting internal surveys and how they have lead to collaborative, real action at FCS. 

Over the past 12 months, FCS’ leadership team has distributed 6 surveys to our internal teams. The COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges, new concerns, and a new corporate culture to navigate. And, while the number of surveys we sent increased this past year over years prior, our leadership team has historically made a habit of gathering feedback across our teams and offices as a best practice in our company’s operations. Pre-pandemic, we sent an average of 2 surveys annually. Why do we send out so many internal surveys to our staff? What do we do with the information and feedback? How does it impact FCS employees for the better? 

Why Surveys Are Important

In a company with a distributed work-force, across locations and time zones, it can be challenging to get casual and candid feedback like we might if we were face-to-face. Nonetheless, it is critical that we give all our staff a voice and a venue for open feedback. To achieve that, our leadership team distributes surveys that are 100% anonymous. This has proven to be an effective and valuable method in collecting honest feedback on an array of topics employees may otherwise not be comfortable sharing. We average a 60-75% response rate from our staff of 65. This open forum also helps facilitate ongoing communication between staff and management which ultimately improves and increases employee engagement.

To make assumptions is wrong; to be informed is right.

With our heads down and focused on deadlines and projects, it can be easy to get caught in a ‘business as usual’ mindset.  Our leadership team knows better. To make assumptions is wrong; to be informed is right. We invest a lot of time designing our surveys to be efficient, actionable, and often backed by hard science. The wording of our questions has mostly been tested in similar business models and/or industries, and the specificity in the questions and answer scales provides us insights that enables us to benchmark against other companies.

What do we do with the information we get back? We take action immediately. Our team meets to review, digest, and discuss the results. After looking at historical trends and possible anomalies, we formulate actions that can be taken to either address or improve the results. When needed, we seek out more details if the action to be taken is not clear. The survey design is crucial, and the challenge is for FCS is to ask actionable questions so we can take actionable steps and drive impactful change.

How Surveys Have Driven Change at FCS

How can we most significantly improve our company and performance? And most importantly, how can we most positively impact our staff? The key are our surveys. 

Our Employee engagement surveys are distributed annually and helps us make strategic decisions and take tactical actions to improve our work culture, our workplace, and our leadership. The 360-Degree surveys are distributed annually as well and help us collect direct feedback from each employee’s Supervisor, direct reports, peers, and colleagues. This provides us a broad range of feedback designed to help our staff know what they are great at and where they can improve from the recommendations of their ‘work circle.’ These are reviewed during the staff’s annual performance review meetings and should lead to meaningful conversations.

The Employee COVID-19 Check-In coupled with the How Are You surveys enabled us to get a sense of how our staff were feeling during these unprecedented times. The surveys have led to real change in our company policies, our priorities, and our communications. The frequency of our communication regarding the impacts and the way out of the pandemic was driven by feedback we received that more transparency was needed. Other results revealed that employees need more wellness resources and we found out our staff was struggling to work as efficiently at their home as they do in the office environment.

With the aggregated results, our leadership team was tasked to provide more information and ultimately demonstrate more support through various facets. This helped begin to build the basis for the next survey, the How Are You Follow-Up, and the initiatives we did to improve as a result of each survey’s feedback.

  • Ensured proper safety and medical equipment (e.g., masks, sanitizer, etc.) are available at all office locations for those that may need to drop in.
  • Created the one-time Reimbursement for employees to upgrade their at-home office set up.
  • Created a monthly internet reimbursement for most employees to help subsidize costs of their internet access.
  • Held a Human Resources Q&A Learn Over Lunch to specifically answer the questions being asked by the staff about the direction of the company on topics regarding COVID-19, returning to work, and benefits relating to the pandemic.
  • Created a plan to assist working mothers who work from home during the pandemic.
  • Started a weekly ‘Happy Hour’ meeting for staff to meet socially outside of work.
  • Added several ‘Teams’ channels that help staff learn about and give tips on wellness, healthy living, and information about the pandemic.
  • Made company-wide COVID-19 email communications more frequent (weekly) to help educate the staff.
  • Created the FCS -Well-Being Brochure which provides valuable links, articles, and best practices regarding benefits, programs, and self-help tools. 
  • Launched a monthly internal newsletter to consolidate communications, tools, and updates so that employees do not have to search for the information they need.

With our Return-to-Work survey, we are currently using this to assess how comfortable our staff is in returning to work when appropriate and safe. With the results, we will take the necessary safety steps to ensure those who want to return to an office can do so knowing all proper safety and health measures are taken. For those that wish to remain working from home, we will continue to look at ways to provide resources for a work-at-home environment. 

These are just a handful of examples of our staff’s feedback leading to collaborative, real action. We pride ourselves on a collaborative team approach to success, and we could not do that without engaging our team in a way they feel comfortable to provide feedback. Our surveys have proven invaluable to building our corporate culture. With them, we have been able to build mutually successful operations for our staff, our clients, and our business model alike.  


Are you interested in joining our collaborative team at FCS? We are always on the lookout for sharp, energetic team members excited to share their ideas and make an impact.  

Check out our current career opportunities to learn more.  

About the author

Patrick Schultz

Patrick Schultz thumbnail

Patrick is responsible for working collaboratively across all FCS operations and business units to deliver outstanding services and products to our clients worldwide. With over 25 years’ experience in operations management, process improvement and project management, Patrick most recently joins FCS from First American Corporation, where he was the Vice President of Strategy, responsible for management and oversight of over $40 million in capital projects. Prior to that, Patrick held positions including Divisional Chief Operating Officer, Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Business Development at First American.

Patrick is a native of Washington state and now resides in Orange County, California. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.

How we can help

In an ever-changing regulatory and sustainability environment, FCS understands the challenges you face. Our highly qualified environmental specialists, energy management consultants, and technical experts deliver integrated, industry-specific solutions that move your project forward—so that you can focus on what matters.