Engage and Innovate

I love talking about our office projects and events, especially when I discuss how we use our survey platform, Engage, to plan nearly everything. As a member of the Happiness Committee and Product Committee, I see firsthand how useful Engage is — it allows you to keep everybody informed and organized.

Recently, the Happiness Committee, or “HapCom,” planned an internal Chili Cook-Off. So I created a survey that served as a registration page for people who wanted to make chili and those who would bring side items. During the event, I distributed a survey asking my colleagues to rank their favorite chili recipes. And, when voting was done, I ran a quick Bar Graph report that let me almost instantly determine the contest winners.

As a member of the Product Committee, or “ProdCom” as I like to call it, I’m the point of contact for all feature requests and system issues for clients and employees. To streamline the process of recording and sending these requests to our engineering team, I created a form that everyone can use. By enabling Rules & Alerts, I receive a copy of every submitted ticket, which I then send to the engineers. I use the collected data to trace ticket origins and filter responses based on request types. This becomes incredibly useful when we’re choosing features for the next release.

While these are definitely innovative uses of our survey platform, by far the most “important” way we use surveys internally is to stock our snack closet. Every two months, our administrative assistant sends a multiple text box question to the entire office asking for our snack requests. She then runs a verbatim report and uses the responses as the shopping list.

Honestly, I love having Engage as an internal resource — we’re always finding inventive ways to use the platform. I encourage you to also “engage” and innovate.

Quantifying Happiness

Fortune recently named Google the best company to work for — yet again. Not only have they revolutionized our on- and offline lives, but Google now hopes to transform the way we work. Their data-driven culture has seemingly found a way to quantify employee happiness.

But what have they really learned?

It doesn’t take much data crunching to realize that providing gourmet meals, onsite dry-cleaning and exorbitant bonuses will increase happiness and productivity. Ditto for generous leave time and flexible schedules. Now Google wants to use their data to answer fundamental questions about worker productivity such as, “Are leaders born or made? Are teams better than individuals at getting things done? Can individuals sustain high performance over their lifetimes?”

These are fascinating questions. And I have no doubt the geniuses at Google have the wherewithal to answer them one day. But I don’t need copious amounts of data to know what makes a healthy workplace environment. As one of millions of people who spend the majority of their days, nay, lifetimes, at work, it boils down to a few simple things: trust, feedback, respect.

My company may not be as big as Google (yet), but the leadership is committed to creating a work environment where those values are stressed. It’s amazing how far something as simple as mutual respect will get you. Or trusting your employees and providing them with constructive feedback.

So while I admire Google’s efforts to quantify workplace happiness, I know that it’s still the small things that matter to most people.

On the Fly

Being a member of the Client Services Team has definitely taught me that no two days are the same. On any given day, I could be conducting trainings or working independently to launch a client’s initiative. Between ongoing projects and (sometimes) shifting deadlines, I also field calls and emails for the Support Line.

To be perfectly candid, this can be potentially disastrous for someone unable to make adjustments on the fly. While I enjoy checking items off my to-do list as much as the next person, I often have to ignore it altogether to have a productive day.

And while this can be true for any role, I’d say it’s doubly true for Support personnel — we support co-workers in the office and remotely, along with the entire Zarca user population and survey participants. As such, there have been many mornings I arrive at work confident about what I’ll get done that day. But, inevitably, by 10:00 a.m., I receive an email from a client asking me to craft a new initiative or a colleague requests my help editing a questionnaire due by the end of the day.

Adjusting your schedule on the fly can be difficult. But flexibility is one of the most valuable attributes you can possess as a teammate. This doesn’t mean you necessarily drop everything when you’re asked for help, but it does allow you to manage expectations so that you’re able to assist your fellow teammates when necessary.

Being flexible — and practicing good time management — means you can have a candid conversation with a colleague about competing deadlines, and then adjust your day accordingly so that you can assist colleagues and clients while still paying attention to your own work. Because true workplace value is measured by your contributions across the entire company, not just within your own department.

In This Life

Sometimes you observe a situation and realize that common knowledge isn’t all that common. Rather than heap scorn, this is actually a chance for you to speak up and share your “common sense” with others — leading to one of those magical “Oh, I didn’t realize” moments.

I recently had an encounter like this at my office. Faced with a rapidly approaching deadline, my colleague became increasingly frustrated because she couldn’t figure out how to quickly send multiple documents to a waiting client. Observing her growing angst, an opportunity presented itself.

Now if you’re unaware of how to do this, it could appear to be a daunting task. But, secure in my knowledge, I calmly maneuvered her mouse and, in a few click and drags, all 74 documents were attached to the email she was composing.

Her reaction was priceless. “Oh, I didn’t realize it was that easy!” The task done, peace ensued.

Although there are many things that may be common knowledge to you, you should always be ready and willing to assist others — your information can provide a timely solution to their problem.

Whether it’s mundane tasks or complicated procedures, don’t be afraid to share what you know. Speaking up can save a colleague, friend or stranger from misspent time and aggravation, and promote a smarter and more collaborative work environment.