Photo of bird following crumbs. Photo Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

Just because you are the boss doesn’t mean your team will blindly follow your instructions. You can spot signs that your staff members are rebelling against you in the workplace. But don’t use surveys. Surveys don’t work.

10 reasons why staff surveys don’t work

  1. Staff surveys are usually poorly designed by amateurs.
  2. Staff surveys are a lag indicator – you need to design, distribute and collate them.
  3. Staff either lie because they fear they’ll somehow be ousted (positive bias).
  4. Some staff may have an axe to grind (negative bias).
  5. Staff can feel interrogated and defensive. (“You’re the boss, you work it out!”)
  6. They don’t give you insight into what is going on beneath the surface, their feelings on their job security, leadership, quality of supervision and company policies.
  7. You have to be careful about asking too many questions. This can make people feel interrogated and defensive.
  8. Staff surveys are boring for employees.
  9. Staff surveys take staff away from their work.
  10. The results are ‘interpreted’ incorrectly.

You don’t need surveys to tell you, the staff leave breadcrumbs all over the store. Try observing. These observations don’t focus on an individual, but the whole team.

Sometimes the manager can spot the problems such as staff not wanting to participate in team-building or activities that are all hands on deck related.

Staff talking behind the customers’ backs can also be a bellwether to problems.

But these are subtle and require an insider to spot them, and the insider (manager) might also be poisoned.

But you can find the breadcrumbs through external observation.

12 breadcrumbs which measure culture

  1. General untidiness such as rubbish bins (trash) in common areas not emptied.
  2. Not wearing uniforms correctly.
  3. Not pitching in to help each other.
  4. Talking at the counter among themselves while customers roam the store.
  5. General lack of speed/urgency when it’s busy.
  6. Frequent stumbling blocks to customer problem-solving.
  7. Not doing the ‘little things’ with conviction.
  8. Going through the motions with their greeting.
  9. Answering a question without explanation or expansion (“Buy this” V “Buy this because”).
  10. Not closing a sale (“Can I take that to the counter for you?).
  11. Not cross-selling (“You know what would go really great with that steak/dress/computer…?”).
  12. Not following up with a customer when they promised to.

Someone not working at the store/branch can spot these issues. Even if they are a visiting regional manager. Or you could employ mystery shoppers, not to measure the service, but to gauge the culture.