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Virtual Team Building: The Ultimate Manager Guide

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Chapter 9

Measure: How to Assess Team Building Efforts

It’s easy to get caught up in new team bonding processes without realizing which strategies need fixing and which are driving results.

To drive thoughtful team building, managers need continuous feedback from their teams. 

That’s where employee pulse surveys come in handy.

If the idea of sending pulse surveys causes you to cringe, you’re not alone. Culture surveys are often associated with long-winded performance reviews or so-called anonymous HR surveys. For a busy team overwhelmed with todos, surveys are hardly the first solution for building a culture of trust.

However, when done correctly, engagement surveys can give managers a regular pulse on morale and areas of improvement. Gathering feedback during weekly 1-1s can be too vague. Spontaneous feedback is rarely thoughtful and honest. Surveys allow for more effort, shine a spotlight on trends, and help managers address burnout and isolation before they become much larger problems. 

The problem isn’t the surveys. It’s how we write them. Here’s where most surveys go wrong and how to solve them:

Your employee engagement surveys are too long.

Experts recommend sticking to 1-5 questions when sending out a survey. Teammates are more inclined to respond when survey answers are multiple choice or require minimal writing. Always keep in mind survey fatigue: 25% of people will put a random answer to get the survey over with if they’re exhausted by your questions.

Your questions are too vague or leading.

Keep your questions direct, specific, and objective. This ensures you don’t lead teammates and collect the most accurate responses possible. By understanding the key metric you’re using to measure team building (let’s use psychological safety for an example) you can ask a consistent question over a quarter to see meaningful changes.

Your responses are anonymous.

Anonymous responses in a team survey are often deceptive and unhelpful. Leaders do this to preserve privacy, but they make their surveys less actionable as a result. “Anonymous” rarely lives up to its name on a small team. Managers guess the respondent based on their answers and employees soften their responses fearing consequences. In a psychologically safe environment, anonymous surveys shouldn’t be necessary to get the truth.

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