Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Churches have a business model that is very different from other organizations. Members fund the operation. Volunteers do the labor, and employees facilitate the process.
This working model creates a unique employee experience that merits focus, attention, and care. Track employee satisfaction to learn about this experience.
People who work for a ministry do so because they feel called. This calling gives them the grace to work through the many challenges that come with being a church employee.
However, church leaders are responsible for ensuring that employees are supported, have the resources needed to do their jobs and that they are compensated appropriately.
Church employees need support because of the many challenges that come with working for a ministry.
Employees make church happen and often work with very limited resources – people, time, and money.
More importantly, these employees are required to manage processes and people – most of which are volunteers.
This can be challenging because the employee is at the mercy of the availability and dependability of church volunteers.
Church leaders need to keep a pulse on employees and do those things to support employee efforts.
This is done by helping employees understand what is expected of them, providing the tools and training to perform job tasks, and rewarding them for doing a good job.
Each of these pieces is important to creating a positive work experience and a culture of engaged employees.
It is also important for church leaders to have a good understanding of the employee experience. I used to tell employees that “I can’t fix it if I don’t know it’s broken.”
Meaning, that unless challenges and issues are brought to the attention of leadership, it is difficult to improve things for the employees.
So, how do you learn about the employee experience?
There is something church leaders can do to learn about the employee experience and that is to simply ask them!
The interesting thing about church employees is that many will accept things as they are and simply suffer in silence because they don’t want to be perceived as a complainer.
They often work with bad processes, poor communication, and comparatively low salaries.
This happens when church leaders don’t recognize the importance of the employee experience.
Taking care of the employees so they can fulfill their job responsibilities is one of the most important things church leaders can do.
Having engaged employees is critical to accomplishing church goals and ultimately achieving the mission.
When is the best time to talk to employees?
You can discuss employee challenges during performance appraisal time, or you can ask employees to fill out an employee satisfaction survey.
Each of these forums can provide great information that can be used to improve the quality of church operations.
There are several ways to learn about the employee experience. You can facilitate an employee focus group and just talk to them.
Following is an example of an employee satisfaction survey that you can customize for your organization.
Employee Satisfaction Survey Example
If you are a member of SCM you can log in to your account here to access editable copies of these documents.
If you are not a member and would like access to editable copies of these documents, you can learn more here.
8 Things to consider when soliciting employee feedback:
1. Understanding the why is key: Help employees understand why you are doing a survey.
Explain that the goal is to be supportive and to create a positive employee work experience.
2. Confidentiality: Make sure the process is confidential.
Employees need to feel safe with sharing their thoughts and will only be as honest as they feel their anonymity is protected. If you betray that trust one time, it will take years to recover.
3. Motivate participation: Offer incentives to get employee participation.
Be creative. Sponsor a drawing, award gift cards, or time away from work in exchange for their honest feedback.
4. Use what is learned: Create an improvement plan based on the information learned in the survey.
Create a detailed plan and address all issues or concerns – whether they can be fixed or not.
5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: Communicate what was learned from the survey and the plan for making changes.
Validate real issues and speak to perceived issues that cannot be addressed.
6. Identify professional growth potential: Encourage managers to use the feedback to identify professional growth opportunities and not overreact to negative comments.
We are all sensitive, but we teach managers to rise above offense and try to learn about their blind spots.
7. Follow through to gain trust: Once an improvement plan is developed, follow through to ensure that the plan is implemented.
Keep the plan included in monthly meetings and commit to finishing every goal and task.
8. Don’t even ask if you can’t follow through: If you do nothing with the feedback you receive, it is worse than if you had not asked the questions.
Be committed to making changes. And communicate those changes to employees as they are implemented.
Keep employees in the loop so that they recognize your commitment to improving their experience.
How To Collect Employee Feedback
Soliciting customer feedback is an industry in and of itself.
There are software products that can help automate the feedback process.
Or, you can save money by doing it yourself and simply creating a survey in google forms. You can send the form to employees and see their responses and trends in a Google Doc.
However, don’t forget about the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of the feedback you receive.
Lastly, if you spend some time learning about the employee experience, invest the resources to implement an improvement plan based on what you learn.
You should then see improved satisfaction scores for your employees.
But more importantly, you will be doing your part to help create a great work environment for those people who are committed to making church happen!
Learn more tips for managing church employees by enrolling in our Fundamentals of Church Administration course.