Thursday, May 28, 2009
A workplace that values adaptability, consistency, a clear direction and employee involvement is more likely to deliver better returns, sales growth, productivity and shareholder value, according to new research from the U.S.
The study by Denison Consulting has found that, when it comes to delivering positive, bottom-line results, an organisation's culture can make a huge difference."It's possible to measure, monitor and influence organisational culture, and we have developed scientifically valid tools to accomplish such vital tasks" said co-founder Dan Denison.
The organisation's latest study of 102 companies found that businesses with the best organisational culture earned an average return-on-assets of 6.3 percent versus 4.5 percent for firms with the lowest organisational scores.
Companies with the best culture also led in shareholder valueAnd companies with the best culture also led in shareholder value, with average market-to-book values (the ratio of the market price of its shares over its book value in total equity) of 440 per cent as compared with 350 per cent for firms with the lowest culture scores.
"These results represent a dramatic affirmation of the importance of organizational culture, and its link to real-world business results," said Denison research analyst Ryan Smerek.
"The companies that achieved higher scores on mission, consistency, involvement and adaptability earned $6,300 (£3,533) for every $100,000 (£56,089) in assets, while those with lower cultural scores earned $4,500 (£,2524) for every $100,000 (£56.089). "That's a huge difference – a return-on-assets difference totalling 40 percent," he added.
The researchers also took a longer-term look at the 102 companies in the sample. During a three-year period, the firms with the best scores around organisational culture significantly outperformed their industry peers, as well as the companies with the lowest organisational culture scores.
This outperformance came in all three outcome areas: return-on-assets, sales growth, and shareholder value. "Organisational culture is extremely important to business success, and the really good news is that it is not a soft science," said Denison. "With valid data on an organisation's culture, we can pinpoint areas for improvement and predict the positive business results that are likely to be achieved with the right interventions and action plans," he added.
There is no them.
Broken Keys. I was reading a good book on employee engagement. It was well-written and informative but I got irritated with the authors’ 5 keys to engagement. I won’t give the title of the book because it is not my intent to be negative about the book, it is my intent to suggest we need to be more inclusive and connected when we talk about employee engagement.
From Know to Reward. Here were the 5 keys to engagement the authors used and each of these keys was also a chapter title:
- Know Them
- Grow Them
- Inspire Them
- Involve Them
- Reward Them
Us and Them? I have no quibble with the first words know, grow, inspire, involve and reward. It is the second word “them” that rankles me. Whenever I hear about them it makes others sound separate or different than us. We will not create engaged, connected, and authentic organizations if we talk about us and them. We may fail to see that “them is us.”
Community of Us. I believe a huge part of creating authentic and permanent employee engagement resides in organization’s willingness and ability to create authentic communities where all are connected to each other, results, strategic objectives, customers, etc…
Different roles but all employees. I also believe if you work in an organization, regardless of role - CEO to custodian - you are an employee of that organization. Employees are not “those people.” Those people are us. So know us, grow us, inspire us, involve us, and reward us —and that includes all of us — employee engagement for all.
No more them. Employees are not apart from the organization they are an integral part of the organization and we would be better served and of better service by not referring to employees as them.
From Washington Business Journal
Layoffs leave the rest of the staff behind to do more work, and a CareerBuilder survey says that is starting to take its toll.Burnout can lead to lower levels of employee engagement, which in turn can lead to decreased productivity and can end up hurting businesses as much or more than the economic conditions that lead to the initial layoffs. Having a dialogue with employees about their levels of satisfaction, about the company's culture and effectiveness of communication can be accomplished though a simple employee engagement survey along with a follow-up action plan is well-designed and implemented.
The survey of workers at companies that have experienced layoffs finds 47 percent have taken on more work as a result with 37 percent saying they are now doing the work of two people. Nearly one third, 30 percent, say they are burned out.
To handle the extra workload, employees are spending more time at the office, working longer hours or weekends, the survey says.
“It’s critical that managers and employees work together to prioritize and to set realistic expectations, so work demands feel attainable and less overwhelming,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.
She suggests employees work with bosses to establish reasonable timelines for projects, and consider asking for flexible work arrangements.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Does the prospect of extracting survey results that are informative, yet not damaging to morale or management, make your skin crawl? Surprise! Research and first-hand experience with clients reveal that after an employee survey has been conducted, employees are much more interested in SEEING action taken than they are in hearing the results of the survey.
In short: Employee surveys have little or no value if nothing is done to make improvements at the organization -- which is why effective action planning is a critical component of successful employee surveys. Whether or not you choose Insightlink for your employee surveys, we hope you'll benefit from some of the tips our clients get from our Action Planning workbook and form-fillable worksheets.
- Review your survey results yourself and with senior management - the goal is to understand the main themes, identify the key strengths of your organization and decide the primary opportunities for improvement.
- Take a breath…and share a short, highlight or bullet-style summary of the results with your employees, both to give them a "heads up" that their voices have been heard and to prepare them for the action planning to follow. You do not need to address all the findings, but don't delay in sharing something meaningful!
- Name a coordinator (usually someone in HR) who is responsible for the Action Planning process. Remember that actions - not mere words -- are key to success!
- Set clear and specific goals for improvement at your organization.
- Create an effective and workable Action Plan to achieve those goals, with a concrete time frame for implementation and personal accountability built into the plan.
- As soon as possible, communicate select, relevant parts of the Action Plans to your employees -- it not only prepares them for the changes that will be taking place but also emphasizes accountability within the Action Planning process.
- Monitor and measure progress at achieving the goals in the Action Plans on a regular basis -- and be sure to celebrate successes as they occur!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
If you thought Google employees were the most engaged in today’s cutthroat and recession-riddled corporate world, think again. Despite receiving more than 700,000 applications a year to work for the planet’s most forward thinking Web 2.0 outfit, the company has seen hiring slow, been forced to cut back on some of its infamous perks such as afternoon tea and its annual ski trip and has even seen some of its most talented Googlers jump ship to competitors such as Twitter and Facebook.
So what has it gone and done? Well being the most advanced and innovative algorithmic genius in its class it’s gone and done what it’s best at doing - created an algorithm - but this time has taken employee engagement 2.0 to an entirely new and never-before-seen level. It has produced an algorithm so advanced and so ingrained in the employment and engagement process that it can supposedly crunch employee data such as appraisals, salaries and promotion history and decipher who among its staff is the most unhappy and who among the 20,000 engineers, developers and nerds it employs is the most willing to leave. Not only does it know every move we as web users make online, it can now pry into the work-life habits of its own and work out who should stay and who should go. It’s hard to fathom but Google’s boffins know the answers before their staff do.
Currently in a test phase, the system, if proved effective – and it would have to be faultless considering the information it gathers and the consequences it could have on people’s lives – could forever change the way businesses and their internal communications departments around the world vet and engage or even dismiss their employees.
The web giant has so far, however, discovered one key trend. Those of its employees that feel underused are more likely than others to leave. But the further it looks into the problem and examines employee reviews and pay histories the more I can imagine it will uncover more detail about how its workers think, behave, and react to certain emotions and situations. The key element will be to determine whether or not this research is effective in engaging more staff, unearthing those that are unhappiest and crucially, considering the economic times we are living in, what result this has on the bottom line. Could this be the ultimate tool, the Holy Grail, that we’ve all been looking for, to finally and accurately measure how we can effectively engage our employees and return a healthy profit in order to keep share and stakeholders happy? The possibilities, as with anything this company seems to do, are endless.
Google’s engagement algorithm – why now?
Crunches data from employee reviews, promotion and pay histories in a mathematical formula to identify which of its 20,000 employees are most likely to leave.
Google officials are reluctant to share details of the formula that is still being tested.
Google says the algorithm has already identified employees who felt underused, a key complaint among those who contemplate leaving.
Current and former Googlers said the company is losing talent because some employees feel they can’t make the same impact as the company matures.
Google's algorithm has been described by one HR commentator as “helping the company get inside people's heads even before they know they might leave”.
In recent weeks several top executives has left the company including advertising sales boss Tim Armstrong and display-advertising chief David Rosenblatt, Doug Bowman, engineering director Steve Horowitz and search-quality chief Santosh Jayaram, both of which have switched sides to Facebook and Twitter.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
By John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media (published December 29, 2008)
On-site back rubs, and keys to the exercise room might make employees relaxed and more physically fit, but one observer says it won't necessarily improve job performance. Those perks might not even be what employees want or value.
Debbie Paller, vice president of the Physician & Employee Business Unit at Press Ganey & Associates, says hospitals need to do a better job understanding what employees want. With that in mind, the healthcare quality monitor this month introduced a new "Employee Partnership" model that focuses less on recruiting gimmicks and more on employee engagement.
"Our historical approach was to focus on satisfaction. We used to measure engagement and improve engagement by leveraging satisfaction," Paller says. "Through our research we found that they are two very different psychological conditions that should be leveraged in their independent states to get the maximum benefits."
The Employee Partnership model centers around what Press Ganey calls "Five Partnership Principles," namely: systems and leadership, resources, teamwork, direct management, and engagement. Systems and leadership, for example, focuses on issues like job security, input on decisions, fair wages, and recognition. Direct management focuses on coaching, trust, communication, and feedback.
At first glance, the Five Partnership Principles appear to be the same old boilerplate and buzzwords we've heard before. Communicate with your employees? Recognize achievement? Of course! But it's more than that, says Paller.
"From a hospital's perspective, they may feel they are already doing this. The question is, Are you bridging that gap to where employees are perceiving it? Perception is realty," she says.
For example, hospitals try to recruit and retain employees with "wow factor" stunts like mortgage assistance or concierge services when they should be concentrating on bread-and-butter issues like wages, professional development, employer relations, and scheduling flexibility.
"What we have found is the basic stuff tends to get lost," Paller says. "The wow factors are great, but employees, especially in these times of economic uncertainty, are looking for things that give them that stable feeling of employment." The best way to find out what employees want is to survey them. "Ask the employees: 'What do you think? Are you receiving communication? Do you have the opportunity to speak up?'" Paller says.
Beyond that, Paller recommends questioning senior management to determine if they're on the same frequency with employees. It's a little tougher for senior management, because they have to determine if they know what employees want, and if they're getting their intended message through to employees.
"'Are we communicating? Are we getting information out, and are we receiving it back? How do we do that systematically?'" Paller says. "If you get to questions you can't answer or you're giving anecdotal answers like 'We've always done it this way,' that's probably a good indication that you don't have a very systematic way to deliver on those five principles."
When you have the employee surveys and senior management feedback in hand, compare them to find gaps between what you think you're providing and what your employees think they're getting. Once you've found the gap, look for bridges.
If your employees aren't getting the message, for example, it could be something as simple as the mode of communication. You may be proud of the reams of job-related data and daily institutional updates on your hospital's intranet. But, what if your employees can't access a computer, or they don't have time to sit down in front of one? Maybe they'd prefer an old-fashioned notice posted on the bulletin board by the time clock.
Paller says improving communication with employees and responding to their needs is an incremental process, as senior leadership gets feedback and adjusts. But she says it is progress that can be measured.
"Create partnerships with your employees and you do get significant organizational outcomes," she says, including improved safety, quality, productivity, and financial measures. "The lagging indication of whether or not you are making an impact is to take a look at those types of indicators," Paller says. "While it is a philanthropic reason that you want to improve employee relationships, ultimately you want to see the results on your bottom line."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Commins is the human resources and community and rural hospitals editor with HealthLeaders Media.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
At least four of the studies agreed on these eight key drivers.
- Trust and integrity – how well managers communicate and 'walk the talk'.
- Nature of the job –Is it mentally stimulating day-to-day?
- Line of sight between employee performance and company performance – Does the employee understand how their work contributes to the company's performance?
- Career Growth opportunities –Are there future opportunities for growth?
- Pride about the company – How much self-esteem does the employee feel by being associated with their company?
- Coworkers/team members – significantly influence one's level of engagement
Employee development – Is the company making an effort to develop the employee's skills?
- Relationship with one's manager – Does the employee value his or her relationship with his or her manager?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patricia Soldati is a former President & COO of a national finance organization who re-invented her working life in 1998. As a career fulfillment specialist, she helps corporate professionals enhance their working lives – both within the organization – and by leaving it behind.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Michelle Neujahr is an expert in Organizational Excellence Development. In a recent post, she offers her take on "10 Ways to Increase Passion at Work."
Get a good fit.
Communicate with passion.
BOTTOM LINE: "Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” Or in other words – nothing great will be accomplished in your business without passion."
Monday, May 18, 2009
By David Zinger
There are a plethora of methods and approaches to fostering and enhancing employee engagement. Actions can be launched by individuals, leaders, and organizations. When all 3 are working together we move beyond simple employee engagement to workplace engagement with engagement for all!
Yet, the workplace of today is asking more and more from everyone with less and less time to stop and determine what to do and how to do it. If we are given too many things to do we may give up or avoid them simply because we are overwhelmed and there are too many things to do already. It can be a challenge simply to remember to focus on employee engagement.
I recommend a 2 x 2 x 2 design structure:
What are 2 actions organizations can take to enhance employee engagement?
What are 2 actions leaders can take to enhance employee engagement?
What are 2 actions individuals can take to enhance employee engagement?
When everyone is taking action and working together we move beyond employee engagement to workplace engagement with engagement for all. You also get the multiplier effect as 2 x 2 x 2 = 8.
The multiplier effect from a systems perspective means: changes in one field of human activity (subsystem) sometimes act to promote changes in other fields (subsystems) and in turn act on the original subsystem itself. This becomes full workplace engagement when we are seeing actions from leaders, employees, and the organization.http://davidzinger.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/how-to-transform-employee-engagement-into-workplace-engagement-mmp-25/
Friday, May 15, 2009
Tom Long recently had a client that asked why culture is so important. Specifically, they wanted examples of organizations that were suffering because of their culture. Immediately, I thought of Home Depot and their former CEO Bob Nardelli. During his tenure – or his reign of terror – the stock went sideways and they lost market share to LOWES. He cut out recognition, railed on his employees, and slashed expenses in every direction. At the same time, they lost huge talent (100% of 100+ leaders left), and they started having trouble recruiting new talent.
In the end, Bob’s efforts to cut costs really wiped out morale, engagement, and retention. Their reputation got out in the market and qualified people stayed away.When he was fired, Newsweek magazine reported that employees were cheering in the stores. Since his departure, the new CEO has reinstituted many recognition efforts (including hand written thank you cards to store employees).
In the aftermath of this whole snafu, Inc magazine (April 2007) asked a panel of experts the following question: “Bob Nardelli’s departure left customers, shareholders, and employees of the Atlanta-based retail chain wondering whether it will ever recapture the entrepreneurial zeal that the co-founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank worked so hard to develop. How can the company go about refurbishing its good name?”
Tom Sternberg, the founder and former CEO of Staples and a partner at Highland Capital in Boston answered by saying:“First thing the company has to do is hang Bernie Marcus’s and Arthur Blank’s pictures in the lobby. They’re the two greatest entrepreneurs in American business history. They built the single best CULTURE of any business that I’m familiar with, and they built an extremely people-focused business in regard to both Home Depot’s customers and, even more important, its employees. Now you have Nardelli, this brash, abrasive egomaniac who destroyed the terrific culture in the name of efficiency, and that’s going to take decades to fix. I would try to hire back many of the phenomenal business leaders that Home Depot lost because of Nardelli. These are the folks who made Home Depot such a unique brand. I’d ask them to help put back in place the people-focused culture in order to get the company back to its prior standard of operating excellence.”
We all know that culture is important, and that is exactly why our business is so critical. Recognition drives cultures of excellence, and provides opportunities for people to appreciate one another. When you think of the havoc Bob created at Home Depot, it is easy to see how recognition is a crucial component in building a people-focused culture that really produces results. Are their costs associated with supporting a people-focused / recognition culture? Of course! Are their costs for destroying a culture? Ask Bob Nardelli or the hundreds of people he ran out of the company. Which strategy actually gets results? Is there any question?
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Link to Novacrea Research Consulting
Dr. Pi Wen Looi, who has led a global research team for Hewitt’s Best Employers Study, says, “If you have had a layoff, some of your employees are likely to take on additional responsibilities and have increased workload. Sometimes employees are asked to take on roles that they are not trained for and are beyond their current capabilities. At best, this can result in employee resentment and burnt out. At worst, it can cost your company its reputation and lose its customers, as employees who are not trained for their role are more likely to make mistakes and the quality of products or services will suffer.”
To avoid such a disastrous scenario from unfolding, training is the single most effective measure of keeping employees engaged when times are tough. Hewitt Associates’ Global Best Employers Study has tried to answer the question of what makes a ‘best employer’ through its survey conducted every year. The company clearly says that “best employers have a commitment to people that is more substantial than the latest fad in employee benefits”,and that this trait of a best employer is “consistent acrossnational culture, economic conditions, and political situations”.This would suggest that the current global economic downturn is no different a situation for those companies which take the responsibility for ‘taking care’ of their employees seriously.
While the specifics of how this is done may vary across industries and regions, there is no doubt that training plays an imperative role in keeping star performers engaged at a time when the economy as a whole maybe going through a tough time. Moreover, continuous learning opportunities reinforce the organisational values and commitment within the workforce and this especially helps in maintaining morale and motivation levels across all levels of employees.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Insightlink's 4Cs employee engagement survey is designed to be sufficiently engaging and motivating to achieve high participation and completion without the use of incentives. During our issues meetings with clients, we discuss the nature of the organization's work force to assess whether incentives are warranted. Incentives are something many survey providers grapple with, since there are pros and cons to using them. The issue of whether or not to use incentives to boost participation in employee surveys comes up regularly. Inevitably, somebody suggests encouraging managers to tell their employees that there will be a company-provided celebration (probably the most common is a pizza party or other type of lunch) for any department that can boast 100% participation in the survey. Other organizations set up "contests" where departments vie to see which can achieve the highest participation on the employee engagement survey - again, with some sort of company-sponsored prize going to the winner(s). A few have attempted to enter individual participants into drawings, often with multiple prizes. So what does Insightlink recommend?
As a general rule, we advise employee engagement survey clients not to make participation in the survey a competition. We generally recommend against individual winners or rewarding teams. If you do choose this route, however, be sure to communicate the incentive plan often and well. Be sure you have consistent and fair rules. Instead, consider a company-wide incentive. Make it meaningful to employees and feasible for the organization. For some, this may be donating to a charitable cause if they achieve their participation goal. Employees are less likely to view this type of incentive as a bribe, since it does not benefit employees directly.
Insightlink's employee engagement survey research team recently experimented with a new way to encourage survey completion that is employee-driven, not externally driven. Our client planned to have an "Employee Cookie Day" at the conclusion of the employee survey. So at the end of the survey, we added a question giving employees the opportunity to vote for their favorite cookie.The primary goal was to create a concrete way to show employees that HR was really listening to the survey results. A secondary benefit was that the symbolism of treating employees to a day with cookies, provided in quantities similar to the vote outcome, gave the organization time to do short, medium and long-term action planning. That such actions boosted participation was an added bonus.
Adding an employee engagement survey question about cookie preferences concluded the survey in a positive and unexpected way - and even provided a survey question that was okay to discuss around the water cooler. It created buzz about the survey and prompted more staff to want to offer their two cents - which they only could do by answering the entire survey, since the cookie question was strategically placed at the end.
P.S. Chocolate chip was the winner!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Many people mistakenly believe that employees leave jobs primarily for better wages, benefits, or both. The cause is more likely to be one of the following:
Lack of communication
Poor job fit
Understaffing Employees who survived layoffs and recessions with their jobs intact are working harder than ever. The reduced number of workers still shoulder the same (or larger) total workload that existed before staff-cuts. In 2002, worker productivity in the United States was at its highest level since the 1950s — 4.7%.
When productivity is high, organizations don't need to hire as many people. But it's hard for employees to be happy when, no matter how hard they work, they never catch up.
Most professionals have a backlog of 200 or more hours of uncompleted work, in spite of working harder. As a result, employees experience a strong need to balance the urgent demands of work and personal life without sacrificing either.
Lack of communication In focus groups, employees identified leadership's failure to provide a clear picture of the company's direction as a major reason for leaving a company. If you want to achieve better results and improve morale, clearly communicate where the company is going and why.
Employees want to know your vision and what, specifically, you want them to accomplish. Employees also want to know how you think they're doing — and not just during annual reviews. Regular and consistent feedback is essential for your workers to do the job you expect.
Poor job fit Many employees feel unfulfilled, bored, or "stuck" in their current positions. Cross-training gives employees more variety and managers more flexibility in the workforce. Adjusting job tasks can also increase worker satisfaction.
For example, UPS had a high turnover of drivers, a key position for the company. In talking with the drivers, UPS discovered that they hated to load their trucks but enjoyed the driving. So UPS designed a job classification of loading the delivery trucks, which cut turnover dramatically, because drivers no longer had to load trucks.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Communication is always an area of difficulty for organizations, and a recent review of survey answers found showed low scores related to communication from senior management to employees. In fact, only one-third of current employees (33%) felt communication extremely or very effective. Workers in industries such as Machinery/Equipment (17%), Petroleum/Petrochemicals (18%), transportation (21%) and Trucking (26%) also scored poorly in this area, although the nature of the workforce in these industries contributes to the communications challenge. Even with communications options available, only 17% of workers in the Computer-/Electronic Equipment industry were positive about communication from senior management.
Luckily for some organizations’ senior management, employees – especially ones in jobs where communication via email and other methods is limited or non-existent -- can still perceive leadership to be effective, even without desired levels of communications. Over half the employees surveyed (53%) indicate they see evidence of effective leadership from senior management. Food/Beverage/Restaurants (61%), Trucking (75%) and transportation (53%) scored high relative to how they assess communications. However, less than half of employees in the Computer-/Electronic Equipment (47%) and Petroleum/Petrochemicals (36%) industries thought senior management showed effective leadership.Source: Insightlink 4Cs Employee Feedback Database, August 2008
Latest Employee Survey Benchmarks Show that Industry Influences Key Variables
Less than half of current employees (44%) think the efficiency of their current organization is better than where they have worked previously. In some industries, only one-in-three employees think where they work now is more efficient than at their previous job (Computer-/Electronic Equipment 30%, Food/Beverage/Restaurants 32%, Education 37%). So are U.S. organizations really that inefficient, or are employees’ expectations of workplace efficiency unrealistic? What do you think?
Source: Insightlink 4Cs Employee Feedback Database, August 2008
Friday, April 24, 2009 by Chris Woolard
The last question in this series on five common questions in conducting an employee loyalty survey is, how do I use the information?One of the worst things a company can do is conduct an employee survey and do nothing with the results. It would be better for a company to do nothing than to ask for employee opinions and not act on them. What I have seen work best is to create a cross-functional team of 5-10 employees. Their job is to digest the information, help communicate the results, solicit feedback and suggestions, and create the final action plans. The team should be comprised of employees from various departments and positions, although I would not recommend putting an employee on their boss on the same team. You can have team work on all of the action items or have a different team assigned to each action item. I like having different teams (with maybe one or two common members across all teams to help coordinate and facilitate) as this gives more employees the opportunity to help create change in the organization. Not only does this create buy-in because it is no longer just an "HR" initiative but it also helps the employees grow and develop by doing something that is not part of their typical job but is valuable to the organization. These teams can be at any level of the organization. Some clients will have teams at the total company level only while others may have teams going on at different regions or even different departments in the organization. It really depends on the culture, size, and complexity of the organization as to the specific structure of the teams. Once action plans have been created, smaller implementation teams can be created to ensure the action plans are carried out. It is generally not necessary to have 5-10 people on the implementation team as the implementation team is more about execution and less about brainstorming. The implementation team's responsibility is to ensure the specific actions are carried through.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
5 Common Questions-How do I know what areas to work on?
Friday, April 24, 2009 by Chris Woolard
The next question I want to cover is figuring out what areas to work on after an employee loyalty survey has been conducted.One of the biggest mistakes I see companies make is they only work on the lowest rated questions. The problem with this is the employees may not care if you improve the areas they rated the lowest. No matter how much the organization improves those three areas, it will not have any impact on changing employee behavior and ultimately have no impact on the organization. There are a number of methods to determine which questions matter the most to the employees. You can ask a simple importance question along with the standard rating questions, a chip-allocation series can be used, and there are statistical techniques that can be used to derive importance. Each of these methods has their advantages and disadvantages. The point is if you use some sort of importance/impact measure and combine that with performance ratings, now priorities can be determined by seeing the entire picture and not just one piece. Often an area for improvement might be an area that is fairly positive but because it matters so much to the employees, even a small improvement in scores will have a large impact on employee morale. Another problem with acting on data is figuring out what specific change needs to be made. No survey is going to give you the silver bullet in determining the specific change that needs to happen. All good surveys will give you guidance though; perhaps things like development for the long-term, fairness of evaluations, etc. It is often valuable to read through the comments as these will help give you the specific "thing" that needs changed. Comments can help provide meat around the quantitative questions asked in a survey..
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
- The full-time voluntary turnover rate is 8 percent for the best employers versus 11 percent for others.
- The part-time voluntary turnover rate is 12 percent for the best employers versus 23 percent for others.
- Among senior leadership at the best employers, 74 percent believe that their organization is investing enough to develop the next generation of leaders versus 65 percent at other participants.
- Among the best employers’ senior leaders, 64 percent believe that their organizations have an excellent succession planning process for developing leaders versus 46 percent at other organizations.
- The 50 best employers who are publicly traded have an average compound annual growth rate of revenue (averaged over their past five fiscal years) of 16.4 percent per annum versus 6.1 percent at other organizations.
- When looking at average cash flow return (averaged over their past five fiscal years), the best employers come in at 13.7 percent per annum versus other publicly traded participants at 10.2 percent.
If that doesn't convince you, especially in this economy, that investing in an employee survey to measure engagement and take action on the results is a sure path to the success of your business, then maybe you should consider a different line of work.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
An interesting take on Employee Engagement by Scot Herrick of Cube Rules...
The latest buzzwords around productive employees used by management: employee engagement.
How companies can more effectively engage the employee, why employee engagement is necessary for a productive company, and how employee engagement works are all discussed in the blogosphere.
I’ve looked at about fifty of these types of articles on why employee engagement is necessary and how to go about it. They all fail the key component of an employee’s willingness to be engaged in the job: trust of management.
I don’t know about you, but I do my best work when I’m engaged in what I am doing. But management actions speak a lot louder than words when it comes to trusting an employee’s judgment. How willing are you to engage in the job you do when companies engage in the following practices:
Layoffs. For my two cents, the end result of management’s mismanagement is laying off people to get costs back in line. The threat of layoffs forces the smartest, most productive employees to continually evaluate their work against the probability of not having job when they come to work the next day.
Management by fear. How engaged would you be in your work if you walked into your manager’s office and were told — after five years of above average reviews under different management — that your work needed to fix what was broken “or I’ll find someone else who can?” I know that surely engages me in the right way to do my job.
Not listening to your business judgment. You are running a department and have done so successfully for years. Yet now your new management takes back all control of decisions for your area. The funnel of decision making now becomes blocked at one or two managers who now want to control everything. Makes me want to make decisions on my own.
Decline giving resources to do the work. Management comes in and won’t replace people who have left the business even though you are under budget and under headcount. Consequently, you or your people need to do more work to stay above the workload water line. I’m incented to work harder.
Management gives you no way to win. One day managers tell you one direction and the next turn 180 degrees the other direction turning all of your work in one direction to wasted time and effort. Dumps more workload on you. Something is broken and, even though it is not your area, you are required to work extra hours, nights, weekends, and holidays to get something done — with no measurable reason or results.
Note that the work prior was all considered successful. And now a new management team comes in and tells you all that you have considered successful is not. What you have done might not now be what is needed to run thebusiness.
But understanding of your work and teaching what now needs to be done is a skill that isn’t often used in these situations. Instead, it’s management by fiat. You will do what is told to you or you will be gone. In case you arewondering, that type of management makes me gone.
All of these things have happened to me in my long career. It’s not fun. It doesn’t make me want to engage in the work that I’m doing. That’s what’s missing from employee engagement articles — what a company does about engaging employees in their work speaks volumes more about engagement than the next five-point plan to engage employees in their work. Instead, these articles should be asking this: Where’s the trust?
Cube Rules is at http://cuberules.com/
Monday, May 4, 2009
Employee Recognition Ideas (no cost)
Post a thank you note on an employee’s door.
Take time to explain to new employees the norms and culture of your department.
Give special assignments to people who show initiative.
Arrange for a team to present the results of its efforts to upper management.
Encourage and recognize staff who pursue continuing education.
Create and post an “Employee Honor Roll” in reception area.
Acknowledge individual achievements by using employee’s name when preparing a status report.
Make a thank-you card by hand.
Give employees an extra long lunch break.
Establish a place to display memos, posters, photos and so on, recognizing progress towards goals and thanking individual employees for their help.
Swap a task with an employee for a day – his/her choice.
Establish a “Behind the Scenes” award specifically for those whose actions are not usually in the limelight.
Give a shiny new penny for a thought that has been shared.
Nominate the employee for a University formal award program.
Keep in mind that managers should serve as coaches to indirectly influence rather than demand desired behavior.
Present “State of the Department” reports periodically to your employees acknowledging the work and contributions of individuals and teams.
At a monthly staff meeting, award an Employee of the Month and invite co-workers at the meeting to say why that person is deserving of the award.
Recognize employees who actively serve the community.
Have staff vote for top manager, supervisor, employee and rookie of the year. Name a continuing recognition award after an outstanding employee.
Include an employee in a “special” meeting. Allow employees to attend meetings in your place when you are not available.
Create an Above and Beyond the Call of Duty (ABCD) Award.
Ask your boss to attend a meeting with your employees during which you thank individuals and groups for their specific contributions.
Pop in at the first meeting of a special project team and express your appreciation for their involvement.
Send a letter to all team members at the conclusion of a project, thanking them for their participation.
Start an employee recognition program.
Give points for attendance, punctuality, teamwork, etc.
Provide gift certificates to employees who reach certain point goals.
Find ways to reward department-specific performance.
Plan a surprise achievement celebration for an employee or group of employees.
Start a suggestion program. Privately recognize employee’s personal needs and challenges. Write a letter of praise recognizing specific contributions and accomplishments. Send a copy to senior management and the employee’s personnel file.
When you hear a positive remark about someone, repeat it to that person as soon as possible (Face-to-face is best, e-mail or voice mail are good in a pinch).
Call an employee to your office to thank them (don’t discuss any other issue).
If you have a department newsletter, publish a “kudos” column and ask for nominations throughout the department.
Publicly recognize the positive impact on operations of the solutions employees devise for problems.
Acknowledge individual achievements by using employee names in status reports.
Express an interest in employee’s career development goals.
Post a large “celebration calendar” in your work area.
Tack on notes of recognition to specific dates.
Create and string a banner across the work area.
Greet employees by name.
Practice positive nonverbal behaviors that demonstrate appreciation, such as smiles, or a handshake.
Support “flex-friendly” schedules. E
ncourage employees to identify specific areas of interest in job-related skills. Then arrange for them to spend a day with an in-house “expert” to learn more about the topic.
Encourage employees to participate in community volunteer efforts.
Share verbal accolades – forward positive voice mail messages. A
ctively listen to co-workers, especially when discussing their accomplishments and contributions.
Use 3x5 cards to write “You’re special because…” statements. People can collect the cards and refer to them when things aren’t going perfectly.
Have a recognition event created by a peer group that decides what they will give and why they will give it.
Keep a supply of appropriately funny notes that can be given as immediate rewards. Keep the supply visible – in a basket or box in your office.
Widely publicize suggestions used and their positive impact on your department.
When someone has spent long hours at work, send a letter of thanks to his/her home. Acknowledge and celebrate birthdays. A
rrange for an outstanding employee to have lunch with a dean or director.
Allow an employee to choose his/her next assignment.
Recognize a team accomplishment by designating that team as consultants to other teams.
Recognize those committed to personal health and wellness.
Smile. It’s contagious.
Although rather popular in business and consultancy firms, academic research on work engagement is rather scarce. Major consultancy firms such as Development Dimensions International (DDI), Gallup, Hewitt Associates, Mercer, and Towers Perrin define work engagement in terms of -a combination of- well-known concepts like affective organizational commitment (i.e., the emotional attachment to the organization), continuance commitment (i.e., the desire to stay with the organization), extra-role behavior (i.e., discretionary behavior that promotes the effective functioning of the organization), or job satisfaction (i.e. a positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job).
Friday, May 1, 2009
Surprising statistic: In the midst of the worst recession in a generation or more, with 13 million people unemployed, there are approximately 3 million jobs that employers are actively recruiting for but so far have been unable to fill. That's more job openings than the entire population of Mississippi.
Sound like good news? It's not. Instead, it's evidence of an emerging structural shift in the U.S. economy that has created serious mismatches between workers and employers. People thrown out of shrinking sectors such as construction, finance, and retail lack the skills and training for openings in growing fields including education, accounting, health care, and government. At the same time, the worst housing bust in decades has left the unemployed frozen in place. They can't move to get work because they can't sell their homes.
Read the full story on Buinessweek
Hard economic times are tipping the scale toward heavier workloads, higher stress levels and lower morale, according to a survey by Robert Half International.
More than 4,800 hiring managers in finance and human resources across 21 countries responded.
In the report, 32 percent of U.S. respondents, compared to 40 percent globally, said that their finance and accounting departments had been affected by the downturn.
Among that group, 49 percent of U.S. respondents have a hiring freeze in place, 47 percent have consolidated roles and 38 percent have experienced layoffs.
When asked how the current economy has affected their individual employees, 48 percent of U.S. respondents cited increased stress, compared to 39 percent globally.
The next most commonly cited effects, both globally and in the U.S., were heavier workloads and decreased morale.
In response to the economic downturn and its impact on their employees, the majority of managers surveyed -- 62 percent in the U.S. and 70 percent globally -- have taken some form of action to better support their teams. The most common tactics employers worldwide are doing include redistributing workloads, upping communication with staff and postponing projects.