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Remote + On Site Working Experience

Remote Working Survey

Putting People First

Version history:

  1. 25/03/20: Info regarding language availability
  2. 26/03/20: Dealing with License limits
  3. 30/03/20: New Version including sections for on-site Workers plus link to sample survey; issue with translations for some users
  4. 31/03/20: solution for missing translation feature
  5. 01/04/20: more updates on translations for new Version and trick to still access old version
  6. 05/04/20: harmonised sign-up procedure, update on languages
  7. 13/04/20: Availability new standard translations plus Russian, Danish, Bahasa Malay and Swahili from Adessa
  8. 24/04/20: Full availability of Standard languages; new free translations from Adessa (Norwegian, Swedish, Turkish); tip on cleaning up data pre launch

Some guidance and tips on the free Remote + On-Site Working Survey from Qualtrics

SAP Qualtrics is offering a number of free XM (Experience Management) solutions to help organisations manage the changes enforced by the COVID-19 epidemic. You find an overview of the rapidly changing and expanding offering on this link: heretohelp initiative.

Some critics may say “ok, it’s free, but it’s still marketing and therefore inappropriate.” and in that case this applies to this article as well. However, if offering help is also improving your brand and improving your brand is not allowed in times of crisis, then the conclusion would be that organisations shouldn’t offer help. And the best free help offered can’t be effective, if there is no information about it, which in such cases could only be spread through campaigns. That’s why we, like Qualtrics, decided to risk taking some flak, but still be out there and offer support for organisations to drive business continuity, while putting people first – as long as we keep getting the feedback that it’s helpful.

What does the Qualtrics Remote + On Site Working Experience Survey do?

The solution was correctly labelled as “Remote Work Pulse”, as it’s meant to be sent on a regular basis to monitor trends (“feeling the pulse”). The purpose is to understand how your remote workforce is feeling and whether they have what they need to be effective in their role, to understand what there role is in the current context, and to maintain their physical and emotional well-being.

On 27th March, the solution was amended under the new name “Remote + On-Site Work Pulse” to also include on-site and office workers to understand how they are coping with the changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes sense, as every work context has its special challenges and front line workers in particular are anxious about their own safety. This new version comprises some new questions and others are re-worded. Questions aiming at one particular group are only shown to that Group, as their are some dynamic elements in the survey.

The solution is actually made up of two separate surveys and both come completely pre-configured and can be launched within an hour:

  • Remote Work Readiness EvaluationThe “Full remote + on-site Evaluation” (formerly “Remote work readiness Evaluation”) is a more comprehensive feedback starting with the emotional well-being but also asking about all aspects of remote working including organisation, communication, technology and belonging. Use this link to take a sample survey online.
  • The Quick Check-In is literally just taking a minute to check the pulse of emotional well-being. It Looks the same for remote and on-site workers, but there is still a Change to the original version as the mood barometer has now 7 rather than 5 levels and is no longer using weather-associations to reflect mood.

Remote Working Experience: Quick Check-In - Mood barometerHow do we Get Access to the Qualtrics Remote Working Survey?

You have all the information to access the Remote Working Experience survey under this link – find the “get started” button. The content is changing on an ongoing basis.

If you are already a Qualtrics customer you’ll have access to this survey in your brand: log into your solution (in English language!) and navigate to “Projects”, click “Create new Project” and choose “Core XM” (It’s not under Employee XM!). Then you’ll see the section of COVID-19 related solution and you can pick “Remote + On-Site Work Pulse”.

If you are not a Qualtrics customer yet, no problem. Following the “get started” guidance under the link mentioned, you’ll be able to request access to a brand (the Qualtrics name for an instance) in a two-step process

  • provide email
  • provide some simple infos about your organisation after receiving confirmation email (check your junk-folder!)

Important Notes:

  1. at the time of writing (5th April 2020), you will only get the latest version (including questions for non-remote workers and improved language overall), if you log in in English. If you log in in another supported language, you’ll get the old version, the “remote only” survey. This is going to change in the next few days. More details below in the section about localisation.
  2. at first sight, the Qualtrics overview documentation seems to suggest you have to load employee names and email addresses into Qualtrics. In fact, whilst this is possible, we don’t recommend this for most organisations, as it’s likely to delay the launch due to data cleansing and data privacy discussions. It is entirely possible to send the invitation link for the survey to all employees from your normal email system using a single re-usable link, which is anonymous, so individuals are not recongisable

What’s needed for setting up our Remote +On-Site Survey?

Qualtrics provides a comprehensive guide under this link, so I won’t repeat that, but only share a few tips or point the spotlight on the most important parts.

Most importantly: if you are not a Qualtrics expert or if you want to be quick, just follow the wizard. You’ll be surprised, how easy it is.

Wizard - Remote Working Survey A few tips to remember, while following the wizard:

  • The company name you provide will be used in addressing the participants in the survey, so use the colloquial name rather than the full legal name to make it sound nicer
  • You’ll be asked to provide regions / locations and organisational units. That’s for participants to choose from, so you can get a better picture in the reporting to spot things like “Colleagues in Germany tend to have internet bandwidth problems” or “The Sales Team in Kenya is missing social interaction”. This is necessary, as you are using anonymous links, so the system will not know, which employee has provided which answers (you could use non-anonymous as well, we’ll get to that later).
  • When amending the regional and organisational choices, make a quick list on paper first to decide on the sequence (alphabetical is easy to use). Then start by overwriting the given choices. Delete the last ones, if there are too many. Use “add” button, if you need more. This way you won’t need to go into the survey edit mode to change sequence etc. later, but can do everything in the wizard.
  • If the choices here are too detailed, it could be possible to identify individuals. Two ways to mitigate that risk:
  1. point it out to people and allow them to skip these questions (or add an NN option), if they don’t feel comfortable.
  2. Make sure the choices are high level enough to avoid this
  • Anonymous Survey LinkWhen you come to the survey distribution, I recommend generating the single generic link and send it out through your corporate email system with some appropriate introduction text. Resist the fancy options. E.g.: what good is the barcode that can be scanned by mobile phones? When people are working from home you have nowhere to put it. This way, you also save yourself the often time-consuming task of preparing data to load into Qualtrics.
  • If you capture some test answers (and that includes answers captured with the survey preview function), we recommend to delete them, before launching the survey, so you have a clean start and they don’t interfere with reporting. You can do this under “Data and Analysis” in your Survey Project. Select all answers by ticking the upper Right box on the list of answers and then use the menu “Tools” > “Delete Data” > “All Responses”
  • Once you’ve sent the first link via email, consider reminders after a couple of days. Make it very clear in the reminder email that it shouldn’t be filled in twice. The same applies, if you offer the link elsewhere, e.g. your intranet page.
  • It is recommended to follow up with so called pulses, probably mostly with the quick check-in pulse rather than the full survey. Use some signposting to tell people about this at the beginning, so they don’t think the follow-up pulse is just a reminder for the original survey and delete it.
  • Once the results are in, check out the standard report. There is a lot of valuable analysis available out of the box. Here’s just a brief glimpse with some sandbox data:

Feeling by location

standard reportIs this Qualtrics Survey localised?

The new solution is now (13/04/20) available in all UI languages except for Japanese:

  • Chinese (simplified and traditional)
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

However, you’ll only get one language automatically: the one you have set as account language at the time you create the survey. Other languages need to be downloaded from the support page and then uploaded to your survey, but unfortunately, this file is missing a number of questions from the long questionnaire (mostly releated to on-site work).

Adessa have compiled a full file with the complete Qualtrics translation for easy upload, which we will make available here for free download asap together with an upload methodology, which is in my personal opinion less prone to error than the one suggested on the Qualtrics support page. If you need them urgently, just contact me and I can send it by email.

The same applies to the additional translations Adessa is also providing in the same file. These comprise right now (more to follow):

  • Bahasa Malaysia (thanks to Nur Azlina Ismail!)
  • Danish (thanks to Anders Bang Christoffersen!)
  • Russian (thanks to Albina Dzhenbulatova)
  • Swahili (thanks to Mary Muthoni Mwangi)

Please note that

  1. to upload the translations into the Qualtrics project, the respective languages need to be selected in your survey translation section (you can de-select later)
  2. the Survey ID needs to match (see infos on our download page).
  3. Existing translations will be overwritten, so, if you have already made amendments, e.g. to your orignal language, you need to remove that language from the file (import into MS Excel for that Purpose)
  4. The uploaded translations only affect the survey questions. Messages and fixed parts in the report – if any, need to be translated manually. Most notably, this also applies to the thank you message at the end of the Survey.

However, you can also translate it yourself. You’ll find infos in the Qualtrics documentation. I recommend to make use of the built-in Google translation and use that as your basis. Note that some Google translations can go pretty wrong, so manual review is a must.

There are no localisations announced going beyond language. Qualtrics allows for amending the survey flow based on existing information, so you could ask different questions for, say, France. However, that requires some configuration and to some extend defeats the purpose of a quick to deploy out-of the box solution.

Note: Some users, who registered very early for the solution for <500 employees face an issue, where the translation feature as well as the layout changes (such as uploading logo) are not available. If you are affected by this and if it’s a problem, guidance from Qualtrics is to request a new access via this link.

What about Loading Participant Data into Qualtrics?

The beauty of the anonymous solution is that it saves you from two of the biggest barriers for quick deployment:

  • No data cleansing or data loading
  • No data privacy arrangements and discussions, because there is no data attributable to an individual kept in the solution

Data loadOf course, you can load participant data (if you are familiar with employee XM, note that it’s not taken from the employee directory, but from the contact directory). There are some benefits in that, as you don’t have to ask the demographic questions and have more relatable data to use in reporting. You could also configure the system to respond with direct automated actions to individual answers. But this would all contribute to an extended implementation time and take us away from the single day deployment, which is easily feasible with the out-of-the-box solution.

Also note that, unlike dashboards in employee XM, the reports in this solution have no minimum anonymity threshold.

Can we Amend the Standard from Qualtrics to Match our Bespoke Remote Working Context?

Yes, you can. However, as stated above, try to go lean on this as it may just delay the launch beyond the time, where it’s actually still useful. It may also require a lot of documentation reading and come with the risk of messing up, or alternatively need external consultants with Qualtrics certification to help.

However, if you have the resources to get it done quickly, some amendments may add value. Examples include:

  • Changing the layout – most notably adding your company logo
  • Adding or removing answer choices
  • Support lineMaking some answers mandatory
  • Hiding some questions not relevant for certain departments or locations
  • Adding steps dynamically that ask questions or suggest actions based on answers in previous questions. E.g., if someone answers they are feeling not well at all, you might suggest a phone number to call
  • Adding diagrams to the report to break down some more answers by geography or department.

Finally, a tip for existing Qualtrics EX customers: if your licence allows, the best way forward for you may be to create an engagement survey and import the questionnaire from the Remote Work Solution. That way, you can make use of the dashboard builder with anonymity threshold, the hierarchies, and the employee directory.

Help, I’ve hit a License Limit!

As this is a free version, it is to be expected that there are limitations to make sure there is anough capacity for the thousands of organisations actually making use of this offer and to avoid it being exploited for other purposes. There are two limits we’ve spotted, but those may vary over time depending on load:

  1. Number of Surveys:
    In our examples the number of active surveys was mitited to one active survey, but that shouldn’t be a Problem, as you would close the initial survey anyway before sending out a follow-up pulse, so, if you get this message, when Publishing a Change in your Survey, it’s time to close the last Survey.
    That’s done in the survey list, choosing “close” in the menu that opens, when clicking the 3 dots on the hight hand side:
  2. Number of Questions per Survey

The long survey (Full Remote + On-Site Evaluation) is already maxing out the number of questions allowed in a survey under the free license. In this context it’s important to know that pure text fields without real questions like the introduction text or section headers also count as questions, but that a list of items to choose from or a list of statements to agree/disagree with under one header (e.g. “Matrix Questions”) count as a single question.

So, if you want to add more questions to the out-of-the-box version, you need to re-purpose some of the existing “questions”. Easy, if you can replace one you don’t need. Otherwise you may want to get rid of section headers or combine single questions creatively into a matrix. The system will tell you as soon as you try to create a new question, if you have hit your limit.

When, If Not Now?

I appreciate that there is a lot of uncertainty and workload on HR teams at the moment. But when, if not now, is the time we should understand the experience our employees have working in difficult circumstances, and strive to improve? For those organisations, who still need a tool to make this listening exercise efficient and effective, the free solution Qualtrics provides is an option to achieve that with minimum time and resources. Therefore, I encourage you to look into it and deploy it with minimum amendments to be quick and without spending money on external consultants.

helping handLet’s make sure we understand the needs of our colleagues and that there is a helping hand, when it’s needed.

Post by Sven Ringling – SAP HCM solutions expert


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