Alerts and Positive Comments

Updated by Victoria

When employees participate in check-ins, they'll have the option on most questions to leave a comment about why they chose their answer to the question. When comments are submitted about hot-topic issues, we know leaders need to hear about it right away. WorkStep built Alerts to flag the most urgent comments that need prioritized attention. This allows you to respond faster to issues before they escalate and affect operations - enabling you to be proactive, rather than reactive.

When comments are marked as alerts, administrators and editors can assign alerts to others, reply to alerts, and track resolution directly within WorkStep. This enables better tracking of actions taken on alerts for legal and compliance purposes, as well as in ensuring employee satisfaction. 

What is considered an alert?

The WorkStep system flags comments as alerts on topics that are urgent and often require action.

  • Safety: Physical safety concerns, reports of unsafe practices, or a generally unsafe environment
  • Inclusivity: Discrimination based on factors such as gender, race, age, or characteristics of the like.
  • Harassment: Indications that there have been incidents of assault, sexual harassment, hazing, bullying, or threats.
  • Pay: Specifically, reports of issues/problems with an employees paycheck or lack there of (if an employee was paid the incorrect amount, for example).
  • COVID: Important feedback related to COVID-19 protocols, safety measures, or policies.
  • Dissatisfaction: Comments that indicate the employee is extremely dissatisfied to the point that they could be a flight risk. The system will be extra sensitive to feedback of dissatisfaction for check-ins issued in the first 90 days of employment.
  • Union: Union-related comments/concerns
  • Tools: Lack of tools or training that could lead to safety issues
  • Training: Feedback that raises concerns about training protocol or the employee's experience being trained for their position or on a piece of equipment.

We encourage employees to provide honest and direct feedback about their work life, in an effort to get you the information you need to retain your workforce. Because of this, you may find some employees provide feedback candidly, and at times, with less than savory language. In these cases, WorkStep will not flag comments simply because it includes foul language, unless the feedback also includes sentiment that aligns with an alert-worthy category.

You'll also have the ability to "un-alert" any comment the WorkStep system has flagged as an alert. Our goal is to surface the most common items that are sensitive or urgent, but realize that this may vary from company to company. See the "Not an Alert?" section later in this article for details.

Where can I see Alerts?

Alerts are organized as part of the comments section:

  1. From the navigation bar to the left of the page, open Feedback
  2. Select the Comments tab
  3. Alerts are the first section of your comments "inbox"

Depending on granted permissions and role/facility access, RETAIN users can easily view which alerts are new and require action

Note: Only users with administrator or editor access can reply to and assign alerts.

Your alerts are organized into four sections: Alerts, Assigned, Unassigned, and Resolved:

  • The Alerts section will show you all alerts, whether they're assigned or not.
  • Assigned and Unassigned alerts will be in their respective sections based on whether or not a particular user has been assigned as the designated individual to take next steps on an alert by an administrator or editor on the account.
    • The "Assigned to Me" section will only include alerts that have been assigned to the particular user signed in. As an example, if Joe is assigned an alert for his facility, Susan will not see Joe's assigned alerts when she views the Alerts page.
  • Resolved alerts have been given this status by a user after action has been taken - either with a response through WorkStep to the employee, or handled another way outside of the platform.
  • The All comments section includes an aggregate list of comments that have been submitted through check-ins.

You'll also notice above the alerts and comments sections that there are several filters available to help narrow down your alerts and comments based on the following criteria:

  • Locations - users will only be able to filter by locations to which they've been granted access
  • Roles - this filter will narrow down data by the position title of employees who have submitted comments
  • Alerts - this filter will show you only alerts based on the category chosen. As an example, if you'd only like to see alerts about harassment, choosing this category from the filter will update your results by alerts for only this category.
  • Themes - this filter will allow you to see comments and alerts organized by various themes or concerns.

Positive Comments

Below your Alerts, you'll see Positive Comments. These are flagged when feedback is received that presents positive sentiment about the company, a particular manager/employee, or a recent event. Positive comments are intended to help reinforce the elements of the employee's job that make them appreciate working for the company.

This may take the form of:

  • Kudos for a team lead or manager
    • "Jennifer is a very supportive supervisor."
  • Appreciation for a specific benefit provided by the company
    • "I like that we get 6 sick days a year and vacation time."
  • Note of a productive work culture or emphasis on teamwork
    • "We have great teamwork in our department, everyone pitches in and helps each other out."
  • Improvement in a particular area in the company
    • "Ever since we started having monthly safety training sessions, I have seen fewer accidents on the warehouse floor."

This is of course not an exhaustive list of examples, but the theme here being that the comment provides specific feedback about what the employee likes about working for the company.

Managing alerts

Administrators and editors can...

  • assign an alert to someone else
  • be assigned to an alert to take action on the alert
  • Re-categorize an alert
  • reply to an alert
  • resolve an alert without replying

Viewers can...

  • see alerts submitted by employees at the locations to which they've been granted permissions
Assign an alert

Users can assign an alert to another individual in their organization with administrator or editor permissions. Users who are assigned an alert will be notified via email that an alert is assigned. WorkStep will send one email per day with an aggregated list of all alerts assigned to the user that day.

  1. From the Alerts section, find and select the relevant alert.
  2. Click on the Assignee button, type in the name of the user to whom you want to assign the alert
The search feature will require you to enter at least three letters for a result to populate. You can search by first name, last name, or email.

In order to assign a comment, the comment will have to be flagged as an alert.
Recategorizing an alert

Users with administrator or editor permissions can recategorize an Alerted comment. To change the category of an alerted comment, users select the Recategorize icon from the action bar at the top of their comments inbox. From there, they can select from our category menu the new category they would like to assign to the comment. 

Reply to an alert

Replying to an alert allows the employee to know that their feedback has been heard, which in itself helps improve employee engagement and retention. You can reply to the employee who left the comment that triggered an alert and still maintains the confidentiality of the employee’s identity. When the employee receives the response, a notification is also included that informs them their feedback was shared confidentially. 

Here are some recommended guidelines when replying to employee feedback:
- Respond politely, even if the feedback is negative
- Let the employee know their concerns have been heard so they feel comfortable sharing feedback in the future
- If you plan to take action by purchasing new equipment or resolving a safety issue, share the planned action with the employee. 
- If follow-up from the employee is required, provide your contact information

Read more about our reply and response best practices here!
  1. From the Alerts section, find and select the relevant alert

  1. Click Reply
  2. Click into the free text field to compose your response. You'll be allotted 1000 characters for your response.

  1. Click Send
    A dropdown menu will appear with the following options:
    1. Send and Open conversation, this option will allow the employee to respond to your message.
    2. Send and resolve will make the comment a one way communication message which disables the option for the employee to response.
    Your response is delivered to the employee via email and SMS (if both types of contact information are configured and available in WorkStep) and is also logged in the system, keeping track of all actions taken in one place for each alert.

The response will indicate:

  • who sent the reply
  • the date of reply
  • the contents of the reply
Resolve and log a resolution

The Internal Notes feature can be used by your team to track the status of Alerts. Internal Notes are for internal tracking and is not visible to the employee.

When an alert is marked as Resolved, users can log an Internal Note by adding comments, such as “additional equipment was purchased”, “the safety issue was resolved”, or "no action is required for this alert." This resolution log is saved for your organization’s internal records and is not shared with the employee. 

We recommend following these guidelines when logging a resolution:
- The note should be relevant for your internal records on what resolutions are taken. Since this is not visible to the employee, you can include information that is helpful for your team but would not be shared with the employee. 
- This can be used to track the action that was taken for issues that could have legal implications, such as an employee not receiving their pay. 
  1. From the Resolved section, find and select the relevant alert.
  2. Click the Add Internal Note icon

  1. Enter your resolution or any additional information you would like to add.

Examples of internal resolutions could include: "Additional safety equipment or tools were purchased", "the issue was reviewed with the safety committee", or "the reports of harassment are being investigated".

  1. Click Save

Alerts from the Exit Survey

When an alert or comment is collected from an Exit Survey, the alert will have an Exit Survey tag added to the top of the alert. Exit survey information is included on comments and alerts collected from the Exit Survey so that comments collected from terminated employees can be handled appropriately based on the individual's employment status.

Not an Alert?

The WorkStep system flags comments as alerts based on topics that are urgent and often require action. If you feel the comment does not warrant the alert status, you can mark the comment as "Not an alert" by clicking on the red flag. This will remove the comment from the Alert list. The comment will still be visible under the All comments section.

Alternatively, if you see a comment and would like to flag the comment as an alert, you can select "Flag as alert" which will add the comment to the Alerts list. The "Not an alert" feature is restricted to Admins and Editors only. View-only users will not see this option.

Export Alerts

To export your alerts and the associated alert information, click on the Export button at the top of the page. This will export data to an Excel file so you can have a complete audit log of all your Alerts and the actions taken. The export will include the alerts seen on the page. If filters are applied to the page, the exported data will be filtered to the same results.

The export includes: 

  • Question
  • Answer
  • Category of Alert
  • Individual columns for each attribute value
  • Date alert was received
  • Assignee
  • Reply text sent
  • Resolution
  • Resolved by
  • Date of resolution

A user will only be able to export Alerts that the user can see on the page. For example, if my data access is limited to the Seattle location, I’ll only be able to export Alert information for the Seattle location.

Alerts FAQ

Q: Why don't I see the location for each alert? A: A location will only be shown in the Alert list if there are more than 3 respondents for the location. This is to protect employees' identity. This is a general confidentiality rule across WorkStep to hide specific details if there are fewer than three responses in a data set. Users will still receive an email notification for the alert, even if the location is hidden in the UI.

Q: Why are comments that fit the alert criteria not being marked as alerts? A: Our system will only alert one comment per user, per category. It is possible that a different comment fitting that category may have already been alerted for that employee.

See Comments in action!

Questions? Reach out to our support team at (213) 377-0974 or email us at

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