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Feedback during COVID-19 benchmark and trends (March '20 to October '20)


Since we launched our Emergency Response and COVID-19 Response surveys in March and our dedicated COVID-19 Wellbeing and Prepare for Returning to the Workplace surveys in May, we’ve had ~2000 companies globally use these questions amongst Engagement and Inclusion templates to proactively seek feedback from their employees. Companies have used this feedback to understand their response, how their employees are tracking, and their preferences for returning to the workplace. To simplify the user experience, we have combined questions from all of these templates into a single benchmark named 'Feedback during COVID-19'.

TIP: Add this benchmark to your survey by searching for the name 'Feedback during COVID-19' on the comparisons page to add either the global or regional cuts of data available for North America, Asia, Oceania and Europe. You can access background information such as regional and industry breakdowns online.

This benchmark contains 167 questions. Data is taken from over 2,600 surveys and over 1,107,373 responses. The insights we share below reflect all data collected during the COVID period of March - October 2020.

About the benchmark data set

Before we get into the valuable benchmark insights, we wanted to pause and outline some descriptive statistics and limitations to keep in mind in reference to this data set. 

  • Location of the organizations who have launched: well over a third of the data (46%) comes from North America, followed by Oceania (23%), then Europe (16%), with much fewer companies getting feedback in Asia (6%) and the Middle East (2%), and with almost no data coming from other parts of the world. Given the different phases and severity of COVID-19 that each region is experiencing, this data should not be overly generalized or assumed to represent the employee experience in less surveyed regions. High-level regional slices of this benchmark are available in the Culture Amp platform.
  • Profile of the organizations that have launched: around a third of all surveys launched are from companies in the Tech and IT industry (34%). This reflects the pattern we saw in the early COVID-19 response survey participants, whereby these types of organizations are likely able to pivot faster in their response and be more agile in gathering employee feedback. The remaining data is spread somewhat evenly across a range of industries, including Non-profit (4%), financial services (3%), investment banking (3%), insurance (3%), marketing (2%), hospital and healthcare (2%), food and beverage (2%), management consulting (2%), real estate (2%) and construction (2%). We also see a skew towards small and medium-size organizations with 52% of surveys launched by companies with 200 employees or lower and 22% between 200-500. 22% is from larger organization's (500-5000 employees) and just 2% from companies with 5000+ employees who have launched the surveys. 

How to use this benchmark

Regardless of which COVID-19 survey template questions you have used, you can load this benchmark as a source of comparison within the platform. This means that you are able to mix and match questions across our different COVID-19 survey templates and will only need to upload a single comparison file. 

While interpreting, keep in mind the limitations mentioned above. This benchmark gives you additional context on how your response compares to other organizations. It shouldn’t be seen as a target to hit.

Each company’s experience is unique, especially during this time. While some organizations have been working remote for years, others are unable to complete their roles from home. Some businesses are growing 10x while others have seen their business slow to a trickle. In these times, it’s even more important to use your own organization as a benchmark. See where you are scoring relatively low compared to your other questions, and how your results change over time.

Trends we're seeing

Overall, we are seeing a good level of participation for our COVID-19 surveys, with the median participation rate at 82%. This is inline with the participation we see for our standard engagement surveys.

Favorability scores range from 34% to 97% which is a broader range than what we see in engagement survey data. Our original COVID-19 response benchmark saw very high favorability (around 80-90%) but the range spread increased as we added the Prepare for returning to the workplace, COVID-19 Wellbeing survey templates and increasing number of engagement results also.

Engagement was quite high initially and we hypothesised that it would fall as more and more companies started gathering employee feedback in the workplace. However, even between July and October engagement scores have remained consistent.

Generally the biggest trend since July appears to be slight declines in perceptions of fairness and equity, confidence and ability to manage juggling work and life demands as well as the belief that organization's are adequately meeting employees needs in terms of support and wellbeing.

Confidence in remote work appears to be dropping (-4/5 pts) but so is confidence in a smooth return to onsite work (-4 pts). Workplace issues remain confusing and changing COVID-19 requirements and the realization that remote work is not enjoyed by all employees are probably driving those results.

On the other hand, there seems to be greater investment in changes in behavior to improve wellbeing, though managers may not be living those messages as well as ICs.

Most positive movement is seen in the COVID-19 Wellbeing questions, especially in regards to people have more positive perceptions of working in their organization (+3 pts). Somewhat contradictory to previously mentioned trends, there is a cohort of people who are taking up their organization's offer for flexible working that do feel more supported (+2 pts), are able to take breaks (+2 pts) and access resources to manage stress (+2 pts).

For greater detail, view our spreadsheet showing the score changes comparing July - October scores with March - July.

Drivers

As this is a combined benchmark and therefore contains multiple outcomes indexes, there are no specific drivers. For insight into the top drivers for the individual survey templates, check out the relevant Insights page: (Insights pages yet to be updated with most recent data from October)

Most favorable items

Across the different COVID-19 survey templates, here are some of the highest scoring areas. 

Template Question Favorability %
COVID-19 Response I know what I need to do to keep safe and healthy during the COVID-19 Pandemic 98
I am able to access the work systems/technology I need to do my role from home 95
I have been treated fairly by my colleagues during this time 94
COVID-19 Wellbeing [Company] is supporting employees during COVID-19 91
My manager shows that they genuinely care about my wellbeing 89
I understand my company's current policy on flexible work arrangements 87
Prepare to return to the workplace I have the resources/equipment to continue working remote should I need to 88
I believe our team/department would benefit from some degree of remote working in the future 87
I feel confident that I would receive support from coworkers if I needed it 85
Engagement & Inclusion I understand how my work contributes to %ACCOUNT_NAME%’s mission 93
I know how my work contributes to the goals of %ACCOUNT_NAME% 91
The work that we do at %ACCOUNT_NAME% is important 90

From this we can see that organizations are demonstrating strength in how they equip their people with regards to keeping safe and healthy and having access to the resources needed to work from home on an on-going basis. Employees are also feeling very positive towards remote work overall. Kudos to the HR and IT teams who have likely pivoted quickly to respond on this front. And despite reports of increased xenophobia across the globe, employees appear to be being treated fairly in their organizations. Managers have also stepped up to support their direct reports.

Least favorable items

Across the different COVID-19 survey templates, here are some of the lowest scoring areas. 

Template Question Favorability
Prepare to return to the workplace I would feel comfortable traveling for work related purposes (e.g. attending offsite meetings) when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted 34
I will feel safe being in the workplace when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted 38
I would feel safe traveling to the workplace when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted 38
COVID-19 Wellbeing   I am able to effectively switch off from work to make time for rest 52

During these challenging times, I feel able to bounce back as quickly as I normally would

59
Most days, I can accomplish all I need to during my normal working hours 60
COVID-19 Response  I feel equipped to manage both personal and work life demands right now 71
I feel equipped to look after family/dependents should I need to 82
I know where to find [Company]'s most up-to-date COVID-19 Pandemic policy 83
Engagement & Inclusion When it is clear that someone is not delivering in their role we do something about it 50
I have seen positive changes taking place based on recent employee survey results 52
My manager, or someone else, has communicated some clear actions based on recent employee survey results 55

In relation to preparing for returning to the workplace, employees are concerned about their safety traveling for work and being in the workplace. On the wellbeing front, employees are struggling to switch off and manage their workload. And when it comes to the initial COVID-19 response data, the lowest scoring items are around those with dependents being about to juggle their caring responsibilities. Additionally, companies are struggling to keep employees up to date on changes to policies. 

 



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