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Don’t Just Listen, Act: DocuSign’s Listening Program Transformation

  • Developed a vibrant employee listening program; revising our existing surveys, expanding internal and external listening channels, expanding feedback methods, adding new surveys, and accelerating action planning across the organization.
  • Gained widespread commitment to action planning, significant increases to ratings of many of our survey items, and an increase in employee survey participation for our GlobalPulse/Engagement Survey.

This case study represents one of the submissions for i4cp's 2024 Next Practice Awards, winners were honored at the i4cp 2024 Next Practices Now Conference. You can also view other Next Practice Award case studies.

Business challenge

At DocuSign, we strive to not only listen to employees, but act on their feedback. Prior to our company-wide Listening Program improvements implemented this year, transparent and visible action on employee feedback was a challenge. Below are details of our historical Employee Listening Program before the new changes were implemented:

  • Our Onboarding and Exit Surveys were only reviewed on request and many of the People Team COE team members who should be acting on results did not know they existed. In addition, there was no follow-up on survey results to better understand issues through additional feedback methods such as focus groups.
  • Our Global Pulse Survey was launched to our Employees sporadically and generally only occurred once per year. Reporting of results from this survey was not consistent to our employees in the format of how data was shared or what was shared. In addition, reporting by each department (e.g., Finance) to see differences and pinpoint issues was not possible due to limited resources. 
  • Action taking and accountability to improve was based only on C-Suite selected overall results. However, there were no clear and specific goals to improve at the department level or manager/team level. Therefore, departments and teams were not expected to take action based on their respective results. 

If no action is taken due to surveys, employees not only stop completing the surveys due to non-action fatigue, but the survey can be a detriment to the company culture. Rather than serving as an important source of feedback and a resource for innovation, the surveys can become an example of inaction and a stagnant culture. We wanted to change to a culture of action taking.

Solution – Scope & Innovation

To transform our Employee Listening Program, we chose to heavily invest time and effort in this area. In the past year, we’ve taken the following actions:

  • Refreshed our survey content in our Global Pulse Survey, Onboarding Surveys, and Exit Survey to align with our company goals, ensuring that they are meaningful and actionable for stakeholders, and that they reflect the latest research, trends, and topics in the respective spaces. This included adding an Onboarding Survey at the 90 Day timeframe, in addition to our Week 1 and 30 Day Onboarding surveys. 
  • Incorporated analysis results from the Onboarding and Exit surveys into department quarterly reviews, enabling our Executive Staff and associated HRBPs to drive any needed action.
  • Rolled out a twice-yearly regular, predictable cadence for our Global Pulse Survey so that all employees know when they’ll have the opportunity to share feedback and teams understand the timing for action planning. Revamped our Global Pulse Survey reporting, committing to sharing our results with all employees during live Town Hall meetings. Managers now receive access to results 48 hours after the survey closes and are empowered to quickly meet with their teams to review results. In addition, all Executive Staff and associated HRBPs receive department reports with comparisons to the most recent survey and DEI breakouts to understand the experiences of all groups. 
  • Created new resources for Executive Staff, managers, and HRBPs around interpreting results, how to share results with teams, and guidance on action taking. Regular training and office hours are now available immediately after survey close.
  • Established clear expectations for action planning at the overall company, department, and team-level. Transparency has been a key part of this process, with goals and action plans being published either on the intranet or within our survey platform.
  • Incorporated new feedback methods (e.g., focus groups), listening channels (e.g., review of Glassdoor data), and rolled out three candidate surveys to understand candidates’ experience with the application, interviews, and holistic hiring process. In addition, added candidate survey feedback analysis to our Monthly Talent Acquisition Metrics briefing.

Results & Impact

In the past year, we’ve seen improvements to our employees’ experience, including increases to our average employee rating for our Global Pulse Survey in areas such as:

  • A 22 point increase in employees’ average rating of DocuSign’s communication
  • A 10 point increase in employees’ average rating of their likelihood to recommend DocuSign as a great place to work
  • A 7 point increase in employees’ average rating of their intent to stay at DocuSign
  • A 7 point increase in employees’ average rating of their happiness to be working at DocuSign

In regards to developing action plans based on Global Pulse Survey results, we achieved a 100% completion rate with our department action plans for two survey cycles along with high rates of completion for managers since launching our revised Global Pulse Survey.

We increased our Global Pulse Survey participation rate to 94% in our most recent survey cycle, demonstrating that employees feel it is worth their time and effort to provide feedback. This is the highest rate that DocuSign has ever achieved in the five-year history of the Global Pulse.

In addition to our Global Pulse Survey successes, other surveys and focus groups have helped us decide where to invest both time and money. Examples include:

  • Leveraging our onboarding survey has not only allowed us to holistically understand employees’ experiences, but also pinpoint improvements that could be made in certain countries (e.g., creating more resources to explain benefits).
  • Our Future of Work Collaboration Focus Groups helped highlight specific themes which enabled our Chief People Officer (CPO) to make decisions on next step commitments to the workforce for improving collaboration under our new workplace model.


We’re delighted with how far we’ve come, but are continuing to evolve and improve our employee listening program. 

  • We plan to add additional surveys to our program to make it even more robust, including:
    • Hiring manager survey to understand managers’ satisfaction with the hiring process, the support they receive for hiring and onboarding, and their new hire performance
    • Internal candidate surveys to ensure that our internal hires have the best possible experience
    • Promotion surveys to understand the tools, training, and support that our promoted employees leveraged and ensure that we are supporting them in their new role

In regards to our next Pulse survey cycle, we will be testing a new automated reporting approach allowing us to share overall results and department results in a third of the time it has taken us to report previously. In addition, we’re working to replace our live manager and HRBP training with just-in-time learning in the form of short videos and how-to documents to enable and empower our teams to efficiently and effectively understand and act on results, without having to wait for training or watch a long recording. We are also looking forward to leveraging AI to assist with qualitative analysis of the ~30,000 comments we receive from employees each year by launching an update to our Survey Tool in our next fiscal year.