Understanding Your Employees Is More Important Now Than Ever. Here’s A Simple, Free Way To Do That.


Never in their lives have American employees experienced the level of stress they’re feeling because of the COVID-19 crisis.  As a result, it has never been more important for co-op leaders to understand their employees’ beliefs/feelings about their jobs and the co-op, the tension they’re experiencing between their work and personal lives, and their emotional state.  And, all it takes to do this is just a few survey items we’ve specifically selected for today’s difficult environment.

To lead effectively during these turbulent times, co-op leaders must understand how their employees are doing and what they’re thinking, and then adjust their leadership styles, communications approach, policies, and more to fit current conditions.

Below, we provide free survey items for you to use at your co-op to help you better understand – and track over the coming weeks – your employees’ thoughts on issues that are especially important as we work our way through the COVID-19 crisis.  Some of these items are adapted from our comprehensive survey that we are distributing this year to hundreds of electric co-op employees nationwide for our clients.  Others were selected specifically because of their relevance right this moment for co-ops.

We’re providing these survey items to you so you can deploy them using your co-op’s own survey platform if you wish.  However, we have extensive survey expertise at GreatCo-Ops, so if you would like to engage our team to do this for you, we would be happy to help. Please contact us if you would like our assistance.

If you choose to deploy this survey yourself at your co-op, we suggest that you ask your employees to complete the survey weekly to help co-op management track changes as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds.  However, even collecting the data one time will be beneficial to you and your employees.

We strongly recommend that you assess the results for employees working in “inside” jobs and “outside” jobs separately.  Our survey work with hundreds of co-op employees shows that there are oftentimes significant differences across these two groups that management needs to understand.  Larger co-ops may also find it valuable to assess the results across departments.

These survey items should under no circumstances be used to assess anything about individual employees.  Rather, these are to be used only for assessing groups of employees.  That way, co-op management can track the “macro sentiment” of their employees and make adjustments to leadership techniques and business practices as necessary.

The experienced survey team at GreatCo-Ops is here to help you in any way possible.  Please feel free to contact us anytime.

Suggested Language for the Email Introducing the Survey to Employees

[Co-op Name] truly cares about our employees and their families, and we would like to better understand how you are doing during these challenging times.  As a result, we are requesting that you complete a brief survey today if at all possible.  The survey will take five minutes or less.  Your responses will be used to assist co-op management in leading our outstanding team of employees as effectively as possible in the weeks ahead.  Your responses will in no way be used to assess you individually, nor will they be used to assess your supervisor.  Instead, co-op management will be looking at average responses for the co-op’s employees so we can understand how the employees are doing as a group.

Thank you in advance for your participation!  (Note:  The survey items were provided by GreatCo-Ops, and variants of these have been validated in previous large-scale studies.)

Survey Items

Please indicate the extent to which you agree with each of the following statements.

(Scale:  1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Somewhat Disagree, 4 = Neither Agree nor Disagree, 5 = Somewhat Agree, 6 = Agree, 7 = Strongly Agree)

1. I am clear on what my job responsibilities are these days.

2.  I have the resources and tools I need to get my job done.

3.  The people I work with most are cooperating well with me and each other these days.

4. I am kept up-to-date about important things happening at the co-op.

5. I am NOT having trouble balancing my work and my family/personal commitments these days.

Please indicate the extent to which you have felt the following ways over the past week

(Scale:  1 = Very Slightly or Not at All, 2 = A Little, 3 = Moderately, 4 = Quite a Bit, 5 = Extremely)

6. Excited

7. Determined

8. Strong

9. Enthusiastic

10. Nervous

11. Irritable

12. Upset

13. Afraid

14. If there is anything you would like to share with co-op management about your job, the challenges you are facing, concerns you have, or anything else, please do so here. (open-ended text field)

Item Scoring

Items 1-2:  Employee Job-Specific Items

These two items are a quick way to gauge role clarity and role conflict, with a specific focus on two issues that are likely to be a problem during the crisis.  Co-op management should review these two items separately (not combined together), averaged across all employees and/or subgroups (like inside employees, outside employees, separate departments, etc. as preferred).

Items 3-4:  Cooperation and Communication Items

These two items are critically important to both effective co-op functioning and employee morale.  Co-op management should review these as separate items (not combined together), averaged across all employees and subgroups as preferred.

Item 5:  Work-Personal Life Conflict Item

We suggest that co-op management review this item’s average across all employees and preferred subgroups.

Items 6-9:  Positive Affect/Emotion

Create a composite measure of positive affect/emotion by averaging all responses across these items for all employees and/or preferred subgroups.  In other words, you will want to find the overall average for these four items.

Items 10-13:  Negative Affect/Emotion

As with the last category, create a composite measure of negative affect/emotion by averaging all responses across all employees and/or subgroups for these items.  Again, find the overall average for these four items.