Quarterly SRE Health check

At $WORK I’m one of the people responsible for our SRE community and in addition to the day to day mechanics of ensuring everyone is willing and able to meaningfully contribute I’ve been looking at ways to gain a higher level, people focused, view of how they’re feeling about their role. With our move to quarterly missions now department wide it seemed like the perfect time to try our first “Quarterly SRE Health check”.

As someone more comfortable asking about system implementation than personal feelings I heavily ‘borrowed’ the great questions from How to Tell If You’re a Great Manager and reworded some of them a little. For our initial survey I ended up with fourteen questions, all except the last were multiple choice with the canned answers of ‘Strongly disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree and Strongly Agree.

  • I know what is expected of me at work
  • I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work
  • At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day
  • In the last seven days, I received recognition or praise for doing good work
  • My line manager, or someone at work, cares about me as a person
  • There is someone at work who encourages my development
  • At work, my opinions seem to count
  • The mission/purpose of my program makes me feel my job is important
  • My co-workers are committed to doing high-quality work
  • I work with people I consider close friends
  • In the last three months someone at work spoke to me about my progress
  • In the last six months, I had opportunities at work to learn and grow
  • It’s OK to make mistakes in my role
  • Any comments or feedback you would like to leave (free form response)

In order to keep the implementation as simple as possible, the answers being the only thing that actually mattered, I created a Google form, added a disclaimer explaining what the questions were for, who would see them and that it was completely anonymous and then emailed it to the SRE teams. Each of the finished questions looked like this:

A question with 5 checkbox answers

I then closed the tab and waited for a few days to see what would happen. I’m fortunate to work somewhere that’s very open and willing to participate in this kind of engagement attempt and within a few days 75% of our SREs had responded. A quick slack reminder and a few days later the poll was closed and a meeting was scheduled to go over the results. After the initial read through and presentation to the department heads we’ve spotted positive trends to encourage, and a couple of early warning signs to address. Considering the information it brings, and the small time investment required it seems it’d be worth doing again, with a couple of question changes, at the end of the next quarter.