How this survey company uses its own tool to support employees

For a company whose business is all about surveys, Momentive–formerly SurveyMonkey–has exactly the kind of strategy you might expect for an organization aiming to find out what employees want and what the company can do better to help them: surveying them.

The tech firm has long relied on employee feedback, but that strategy has never been more embraced–and important–than during the pandemic. Momentive has regularly sent employee engagement surveys, COVID leadership surveys and pulse surveys to learn the answers to a slew of questions about its 1,500 workers. That includes: How are you feeling? What are your biggest challenges? How can we help? How can we support you working from home? What tools and resources do you need?

Becky Cantieri is the chief people officer at Momentive.

“It’s been core to our leadership–being able to manage effectively through a really, really challenging period of time,” says Becky Cantieri, Momentive’s chief people officer. “All of our surveys have been the best source of insight and information and inspiration [for what] we could do to really support our employees along the way.”

That information has prompted a number of changes at Momentive, including beefing up communications, adding certain benefits and choosing to embrace flexible work going forward, she says.

A recent change the surveys drove? A summer office shutdown to allow all of its workers to recharge. After discovering that many employees were fatigued and stressed, Momentive gave all employees off from July 5-9 to allow them to recharge without having to use vacation time. That’s in addition to employees’ individual paid time off and other holidays the company provides.

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Like many employers, Momentive noticed employees holding on to their PTO since they weren’t able to travel because of COVID-19.

“[The extra week off] gave the team the opportunity to rest, recharge, regroup and catch their breath a bit,” Cantieri says.

Momentive’s summer holiday week comes as a handful of employers turn to collective weeks off for employees. Those include Mailchimp, LinkedIn and Bumble. But Momentive’s summer move isn’t the first time it’s embraced a collective week off–the company has closed down its office between Christmas and New Year’s for the last few years.

Related: Inside Mailchimp’s burnout strategy: collective PTO, summer hours

The summer and holiday resets have been a big success, Cantieri says. And, of course, its internal surveys confirmed their popularity: Momentive’s benefits and perks survey–conducted once a year heading into open enrollment and defining offerings for the upcoming year–found the most highly valued perk and benefit is time off. Employees specifically mentioned the summer recharge. “They’re already campaigning to keep it for 2022,” she says. “In my universe, that’s what success looks like.”

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Employee feedback–through surveys and focus groups–most recently is informing the company’s plans about flexible work models going forward. While the firm’s workers were largely office-based prior to the pandemic, that changed over the last year-and-a-half. And while some employees are itching to go back into offices, others are happy staying home. That’s why, going forward, Momentive will embrace a hybrid work arrangement, Cantieri says, that will “support employees working in a model that works best for them to be both productive and work in a way where they do their best work and manage responsibilities inside and outside of work.”

“[Employee feedback] has been core to the formulation of our plans,” she says.

Cantieri says listening to employees is vital to make them feel heard and stay loyal to the company–an especially important strategy today, considering the employee-driven job market the country is now in.

“We are in one of the hottest talent markets that I’ve ever experienced, and if you don’t put your team at the center, they have lots of great options out there for them right now,” she says. “I’m certain [employers] will experience them taking full advantage of those options if they aren’t able to demonstrate their ability to listen, be empathetic and build great strategies to address areas of concern.”

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.