Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The actions to be taken immediately and by whom.
The actions to be taken in the medium- and
longer-term, and the parties responsible for these actions.
Employee recommendations or expectations that cannot be implemented (at least over the short term) and the reasons why the organization cannot meet these expectations at this time. As the implementation process unfolds, it is also important to send periodic updates to employees regarding the status of each major Action Plan item. This communication will lend additional credibility to the survey process by reminding employees that the ideas, suggestions and concerns they expressed were clearly heard and are being acted upon. Just as important, this periodic communication will increase the accountability of those responsible for carrying out the Action Plan. It is important that employees recognize the value of their participation in the survey process by regularly seeing both improvements and progress reports. Remember to share successes so that organization-wide communications can reinforce everyone's efforts and contributions to the process.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Get additional clarity to your survey results.
Understand the root causes of underlying problems.
Hear suggestions for improvements from those who live with the key issues day-to-day.
Determine and prioritize the opportunities, especially in terms of deciding what changes are likely to have the most impact on employees themselves.
Monday, September 28, 2009
When preparing your Action Plan(s), you need to decide the following for each action item you select:
Decide on the steps to take, target dates and metrics for determining success.
Identify potential team members who could help with the development and implementation of your action plan.
Obtain buy-in from other key stakeholders.
Manage employee expectations by setting boundaries on what can and cannot be done at your organization or within your department, site or function unit - say "no" when necessary but provide a reasonable rationale for the negative response.
Share your Action Plan with all employees at your organization or within your department, site or functional unit.
Describe why and how the solutions should improve the work environment.
Model the behavior you are working to improve.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Identify the key issues at your organization that need attention and set goals to address these issues -
What are the potential causes of the problems at your organization?
What are your organization's key opportunities for improvement?
What changes can you implement immediately?
What are your medium- and longer-term goals?
Establish a series of individual action items -
What specific action steps will you put in place to achieve each of your goals?
What is your plan of action?
Communicate the plan to your employees -
How will you let employees know what your plan is and that the plan came about after listening to their input?
Implement the Action Plan and institute regular follow ups -
How will you put your plan in place? How will you know if it is effective?
While the planning stage is important, the real key to make action planning successful is ACTION. The implementation of Action Plans is critical if you want to see improvements in overall results at your organization. Action Planning should be conducted in a timely manner. On the one hand, you should not react so quickly when you get your employee survey results that you cannot give careful consideration to the planning process but, at the same time, you need to avoid taking so much time as to lose momentum. It is essential to ensure that your employees do not believe that their participation in the survey process was in vain. Furthermore, the best organizations communicate their progress and successes to all employees at every step of the process. Not only are Action Plans implemented but employees also know that the actions taken link directly back to the results of the employee survey. This approach helps to ensure that employees clearly recognize the value of participating in an employee survey.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
One of the key goals of any action plan should be to increase overall job satisfaction, since the impact of higher job satisfaction extends beyond employee attitudes to affect such factors as lower employee turnover, greater operational efficiency, higher customer satisfaction and even improved financial performance.
Projecting the impact of your Action Plan(s) on overall job satisfaction needs careful consideration. Setting too low a target may diminish the potential returns, while an unrealistically high goal can lack credibility and affect confidence in the survey process. Based on Insightlink's experience, overall job satisfaction increases an average of 7 percentage points between surveys. This result can be used as the basis for establishing your own anticipated increase.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Each goal set should be analyzed via S.M.A.R.T. before it can be incorporated into an Action Plan:
SPECIFIC - For each goal you set, you need to answer: Who? What? Where? When? Which? Why?
MEASURABLE - You must set concrete criteria for measuring your progress toward the attainment of each goal.
ATTAINABLE/AGREED-UPON - You are unlikely to meet goals that are too far out of your reach but, at the same time, a goal needs to stretch you and your site so you feel you are committed to achieving it.
REALISTIC - All goals must represent an objective toward which you (and your organization) are both willing and able to achieve.
TIME DEFINED - All goals must be linked to a specific time frame.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Which issues are in your control to change?
What resources do you and/or your organization have available in order to resolve the issue?
How long will it take to correct the issue?
How will implementation of the proposed solution provide value to your employees?
All goals established for Action Plans should be divided into three categories:
Short-term "quick fixes" that can be implemented immediately.
Medium-term objectives that can be achieved in 2-3 months.
Longer-term goals that are more ambitious and likely require 6 months to a year to achieve.
Also, you should record the goals that cannot realistically be handled at the site level or cannot be tackled at this time. You need to let your employees know what these goals are and why they cannot be addressed at this time.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
All Insightlink 4Cs reports include "quantitative" results, which are the responses to all of the rating scales (such as "extremely satisfied," "very satisfied," somewhat satisfied," "not very satisfied" or "not at all satisfied") in your employee survey, and "qualitative" or "open-ended" results, which are the written comments made by your employees on questions such as what they like best about working at your organization.Some guidelines for analyzing your 4Cs quantitative results are to:
Look for the general patterns and trends in your results and take note of the consistencies (i.e., are the issues raised in the open-ended comments also corroborated in your quantitative results?)
A good starting point is the overall level of job satisfaction at your organization - this single score will have an impact on many of the other measures in your employee survey. Our experience with employee surveys is that organizations should target having an overall "top two box" satisfaction score of 65% because this is the point at which organizations really start seeing the benefits of an engaged and committed workforce.
Remain objective when reviewing your results and avoid analyzing them "defensively." Don't try to "explain" the negative findings away. Rather, it is critical to work to understand what is driving those negative results.
Use the Insightlink industry and national norms judiciously. Remember that benchmark norms are simply "averages," not guidelines, and are useful primarily for giving context to findings. For example, if the overall job satisfaction at your organization is 62%, it is useful to also know that your industry benchmark is 55% and the national average is 56%.
Record both the strengths and the weaknesses at your organization or, if applicable, within your own department, site or functional unit. In addition to addressing the weaknesses, you also need to acknowledge, celebrate and maintain the strengths. At Insightlink, we use "top two box" scores on many of the scale measures as a useful and effective method for summarizing substantial amounts of employee survey data. Here is a useful framework for interpreting "top two box" results:
90% or more = A highly meaningful favorable response 75% - 89% = A very meaningful favorable response 65% - 74% = A somewhat favorable response 35% - 64% = A result that requires further study and context 25% - 34% = A somewhat unfavorable response 10% - 24% = A very meaningful unfavorable response Less than 10% = A highly meaningful unfavorable response This framework is for guidance only. When reviewing your own Insightlink 4Cs employee survey findings, you also need to compare your results with the relevant industry benchmarks. For example, you may not be surprised to learn that overall satisfaction with pay among all employees is much lower than overall satisfaction with their jobs!Analysis of Qualitative/Open-Ended Responses
While open-ended questions provide an opportunity for self-expression, the analysis of such questions is difficult. However, open-ended responses can really help you understand your quantitative Insightlink 4Cs employee survey results.When reading through the comments made by your employees, it is important to look for main themes and to pay attention to the ideas and comments that are repeated, rather than focusing on the outrageous "extremes" or "outliers." Also, watch for good suggestions and specifics to help you better understand your opportunities for improvement and never try to guess the author of a comment or use comments for reprisals. It is essential that all employee comments are and must remain anonymous.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
As summarized in the Workbook, the key steps to take following any employee survey are to:
Review your Insightlink 4Cs survey results yourself and with senior management in order to understand the main themes from your employee survey, identify the key strengths of your organization and the primary opportunities for improvement.
Share a 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. Since all employees should attend an Employee Survey Feedback Session, make sure that you hold enough sessions to accommodate for different schedules, locations, etc.
Name a coordinator (usually someone in HR) who is responsible for the Action Planning process, in addition to naming sponsors and/or Task Forces for each of the major issues addressed in your Insightlink 4Cs report.
Set clear and specific goals for improvement at your organization. Depending on the size of your organization, you may need to set goals both at the corporate level as well as at individual department, site or functional unit level.
Create an effective and workable Action Plan to achieve those goals, including establishing a concrete time frame for implementation. If your organization is large enough, your organization should develop both a Corporate plan and separate department/site/functional unit plans.
Communicate the applicable Action Plans to your employees, which not only prepares them for the changes that will be taking place but also establishes accountability within the Action Planning process.
Monitor and measure progress at achieving the goals in the Action Plans on a regular basis and celebrate successes as they occur.
Conduct regular follow-up employee surveys in order to evaluate the overall success of your Action Plans and to establish additional opportunities for improvement.
By Lara Sanders Fordis, Senior Research Director, Insightlink Communications
Even at organizations committed to employee engagement, employees still decide to leave. Of course, you hate to lose your best talent and “top performers” to competitors, not to mention the laborious replacement process that lies ahead. So how can you make something positive come out of attrition in the short- and long-term, while you simultaneously scramble to fill the gap?
An exit system like InsightEXIT gets the job done and even automates the process so you can focus on other tasks. Meanwhile, for every departing employee surveyed in a systematic way by InsightEXIT, you’ll move you another step forward in your efforts to:
Understand the factors that drive employees to leave
Identify problem supervisors who could lead to repeat turnover
Identify other barriers to job satisfaction
Save money by reducing human capital costs related to future turnover
Evaluate how well the expectations set when new employees join your organization are met in practice
Increase retention and reduce employee turnover
Increase employee satisfaction, engagement and morale
Increase employee productivity
Manage and mitigate the risks of employee departures
Move towards becoming an "employer of choice" and a place that voluntarily exit employees could recommend to others
Of utmost importance is whether your organization could have done anything could to avoid it the departure. At Insightlink, we deliberately measure preventable vs. non-preventable losses. Preventable attrition generally stems from employee dissatisfaction, poor management and a perceived lack of advancement opportunity. Non-preventable attrition includes attrition due to spouse relocation, career changes and other factors over which an organization has essentially no control.
You can probably guess where the lemonade comes from and where savvy HR professionals should invest their energy – focus on the factors that contribute to preventable attrition. InsightEXIT makes it easy with a system that puts in your hands the ability to drill-down by any variable, including job type, department and supervisor.
Need tips and suggestions to help you maximize the benefits of conducting your exit surveys? Insightlink’s Exit Survey Best Practice Guidelines include information about exit survey content, setting up an exit system process, what to communicate to your employees and how to interpret exit survey data. Designed to maximize the effectiveness of InsightEXIT, you’ll see why companies of various sizes turn to Insightlink for solutions.
To find out how Insightlink can help you make lemons into lemonade -- when you’re ready to explore how your organization can benefit from systematic exit surveys -- go to http://www.insightexit.com
Monday, September 21, 2009
With the deepening recession, widespread layoffs and mounting financial crisis, motivating employees in 2009 may seem like an impossible task. The importance of motivating employees in this economic environment is more critical than ever for your company's long-term success. Employee surveys can play a helpful role in understanding the deeper reasons employees are unmotivated and disengaged. Even in a tough economy when budgets are tight, investing in your employees can have both short-term and long-term pay offs in increased levels of commitment and productivity.
In stressful economic times, especially if layoffs or cutbacks are a reality or a risk, giving your workforce the opportunity to voice their concerns can have a profound effect on morale.This recently published article from Wharton University of Pennsylvania examines the issue. In a paper titled, "Does the Stock Market Fully Value Intangibles? Employee Satisfaction and Equity Prices," the stock returns of companies with high employee satisfaction are compared to various benchmarks -- the broader market, peer firms in the same industry, and companies with similar characteristics. Research indicates that firms cited as good places to work earn returns that are more than double those of the overall market.With those kinds of returns, investing in employee satisfaction should be a no-brainer, yet management is sometimes slow to realize the benefits. Insightlink can help you. Investing in an Insightlink 4Cs Employee Survey and taking positive action with our 4Cs Action Planning Guide can be a bridge to higher profits as well as tool for improving employee satisfaction.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Indeed, if an organization has an annual turnover rate typical of the U.S. average (15%) and offers benefits (medical and otherwise) valued at as little as 15% of an employee's salary (most companies' benefits may of even greater value), the approximate annual losses to turnover for that organization are in the tens of thousands annually. Of course, the greater the number of employees and the higher the salaries of those departing employees, the more costly the turnover is to an organization. If these results seem shockingly high, consider what they include. The direct costs associated with employee turnover include:
Termination and hiring administrative costs
Formal and informal training time
A new employee's learning curve
Taking all these costs into consideration means that it generally costs at least 25% of a departing employee's annual salary to replace that employee. Not to mention how exactly you'll go about finding these new "fully engaged" replacements in the real world!There are also indirect costs like lost institutional memory, the impact on morale, and risk diminished employee engagement among others likely to follow suit are not easily measured, but their toll on an organization is palpable and make employee retention a high priority for pro-active HR departments. The bottom line is: Keep them, and keep them engaged.In the long run, improving both employee satisfaction and employee engagement can not only reduce your turnover costs but can significantly increase your company's profitability.
Investing in employee engagement is a win-win on both sides of the equation.Luckily for organizations willing to examine themselves and take actions accordingly, to a great degree, voluntary turnover is preventable. Investing in retention solutions that result in even a small reduction in an organization's turnover rate can realize substantial reductions in turnover expenses over the long term. Only by conducting regular employee engagement surveys to measure the pulse and climate of the organization and by augmenting those surveys with a systematic method of conducting effective exit interviews can HR managers understand the key motivators of loyalty and commitment among their employees and implement strategies to decrease voluntary turnover.
So if you are ready to see what's happening, hear about concrete actions designed to impact change and set to move forward on a meaningful path to improving your organization, call to talk to a member of our research team today at 866-802-8095 x705...or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a conference call or demo to learn more.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
However, our experience analyzing numerous employee studies is that employee engagement alone is not a sufficient barometer with which to gauge organizational performance, particularly in terms of influencing more concrete measures such as predicting turnover. In fact, our experience with employee engagement as a survey measure is very similar to the conclusions of the article "Work Engagement in Japan: Validation of the Japanese Version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale" that (a) all engagement items load on a single factor (rather than the multiple factors included in the Work Engagement Scale), which means that the scale is evaluating just one construct, and (b) that work engagement is positively related to job satisfaction. In other words, we place much more emphasis on the measure of employee satisfaction (using the 5 point scale "Extremely satisfied," "Very satisfied," "Somewhat satisfied," "Not very satisfied" and "Not at all satisfied") as the key predictor of organizational well-being. Our approach has been validated by a recent article from Wharton University of Pennsylvania called "Does the Stock Market Fully Value Intangibles? Employee Satisfaction and Equity Prices."
To obtain a copy of the full article, contact us at email@example.com For this study, they examined the stock returns of companies with high employee satisfaction and compared them to various benchmarks, including the broader market, peer firms in the same industry, and companies with similar characteristics. They concluded from this evaluation that companies with high levels of employee satisfaction earn returns that are more than double those of the overall market. Our own model of employee satisfaction uses a range of factors to help explain an organization's level of employee satisfaction, which we summarize as the "4Cs": Culture, Commitment (which includes engagement), Communications and Compensation. These findings are then used to highlight both the main strengths of the organization and its primary opportunities for improvement. In all Insightlink 4Cs surveys, we also create what we call the "Loyalty and Engagement Matrix," which is a four-quadrant calculation that combines the level of employee satisfaction with anticipated tenure (a measures that has been proven to be an accurate predictor of eventual behavior) to create the following segments:
Committed Loyalists: Extremely/very satisfied with their jobs and plan to stay 2 or more years
Satisfied Opportunists: Extremely/very satisfied with their jobs and plan to stay less than 2 years
Dissatisfied Compromisers: Somewhat/not very/not at all satisfied with their jobs and plan to stay 2 or more years
Change Seekers: Somewhat/not very/not at all satisfied with their jobs and plan to stay less than 2 years
In most cases, we've found that the sum of Change Seekers and Satisfied Opportunists is usually pretty close to the organization's actual level of employee turnover. In response to a question about the engagement level of Millenial employees (specifically, "of course I think about leaving all the time -- I'm young and I have a long career ahead of me, but that doesn't mean I'm not engaged"), we would place more emphasis on their likelihood of leaving, since that can easily translate into turnover regardless of their level of engagement.
On a related note, we find the prospects of advancement within an organization can be just as important as current engagement in terms of preventing turnover, although many companies do not pay enough sufficient attention to the importance of career advancement/enhancement in their HR management. Our main focus of analysis, however, is on the Dissatisfied Compromisers. Since they are not satisfied with their jobs but plan to stay, they can have a very detrimental impact not only on individual productivity but also overall morale. We focus our analysis on determining what changes the organization needs to make to shift them into becoming Committed Loyalists. The good news is that we find that, when organizations commit to creating Action Plans based on the survey results, they can see improvements in overall satisfaction, with similar declines in the other segments. On average, we measure an increase in 7 percentage points between studies in top two box overall satisfaction.
To learn more about how Insightlink approaches the issues of employee engagement, commitment and satisfaction or For a guided Webinar walking you through Insightlink's 4Cs survey process, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-802-8095 x705.
Insightlink offers a variety of professional services that can help organizations both improve employee engagement and evaluate their reasons for leaving. Our services include: Insightlink's 4Cs Employee Engagement Survey - a comprehensive diagnostic tool to determine how your employees feel on all 4Cs of employee satisfaction: Communications, Culture, Commitment and Compensation.
Insightlink's Exit Survey System - a powerful online exit survey management tool that provides survey results in real time and the ability to create aggregate summaries as needed.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Create an Action Plan, including specific action items designed to address the key opportunities,
Share the plan with all employees at either at the organization as a whole or at their department/site/functional unit,
Work to implement each of the action items, including monitoring the progress on each item, and
Help to assess success for each action item at the end of the process.
The anticipated time commitment from Task Force members is generally about 5 hours per month over a 3-6 month period. Ideally, look for Task Force team members who:
Are able to devote the necessary time to the process.
Possess the skills needed to assist in developing solutions, especially those with special expertise in the areas of concern.
Are highly creative/articulate individuals, who are more likely to come up with "out-of-the-box" solutions.
Are people with high energy and enthusiasm, who tend to get things done and keep others excited.
Have good teamwork skills.
Are able and willing to implement the necessary corrective actions.
Each Task Force should hold regular Action Planning meetings, which should focus on setting goals and deciding on viable action items. Some useful tools and tips for effective goal setting are:
Brainstorming: Encourage diverse ideas and don't censor any suggestions. Record all the ideas given and potential solutions offered, since even the strangest suggestion may represent the "germ" of a worthwhile solution. "Good" ideas are the end product of a process of evolution that usually starts with ideas that are flawed … often seriously. (Idea Generation)
Strategizing: Take the opportunity to "grow" flawed ideas by identifying the positives, including 1 or 2 advantages that are not immediately obvious. At this stage, both wishes and concerns are powerful sources for raising the ceiling on ideas. (Appraisal that Adds Value)
Removing Barriers: Start to tailor and transform the idea to keep the positives while eliminating the flaws. (Tailoring and Transforming) Each Task Force needs to be responsible for producing a written Action Plan that specifically outlines what specific action items will be implement to address the goals agreed to by the Task Force. For this step, each action item needs to include the following:
Completion Target Date - Target dates are dependent upon your best estimate of when the action steps will be completed. They can range from almost immediate for the "quick hits" to very lengthy for more serious issues.
Responsibility - Every action plan should have an "owner," who is accountable for the outcomes and the final results.
Updating - It is essential to regularly update your Action Plans, so that you, your stakeholders and your employees can see the progress being made. Recognize, though, that circumstances may require you to change your time line because of new discoveries or unidentified barriers.
Share Best Practices - Learn from your colleagues on what has worked well or not so well with their Action Plans.
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 organizations.
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. These are not insignificant differences. And in today's economy any company that is not looking at every available option to increase profitablity (or halt a slide in profits) would be well advised to consider the modest investment in employee engagement surveys that has proven over time to be a major factor in the success of many organizations.
Insightlink's 4Cs Employee Engagement Survey - a comprehensive diagnostic tool to determine how your employees feel on all 4Cs of employee satisfaction: Communications, Culture, Commitment and Compensation.
Insightlink's Exit Survey System - a powerful online exit survey management tool that provides survey results in real time and the ability to create aggregate summaries as needed.
Leveraging the Connections between Employee Engagement, Customer Satisfaction and Organizational Strength
Companies with high levels of employee engagement earn returns that are more than double those of the overall market" While there is no magic pill or instant solution for employee engagement, Insightlink's years of experience with organizations of different sizes and spanning various industries reveal clear connections between employee engagement and organizational strength. One of the strongest connections is often customer satisfaction. Connection is the link - whether it has the strength of a chain or the precariousness of a thin thread - that correlates employee engagement to an organization's strength (most typically financial strength).
Engaged employees function as the beginning of the link and, ideally, the other side or end is the organization's strength as a whole…the customer satisfaction in between is the crux of the link. That link takes the strength of employee engagement and leverages it into revenue growth and profitability. Engaged employees perform in a manner that leads customers to act more loyally, which generally leads to greater profits and future growth. Disengaged employees (such as what Insightlink's 4Cs framework calls "Dissatisfied Compromisers") do just the opposite.
So how do we help organizations build and strengthen this link? When it comes to employee engagement, the process and practice for appropriate alignment of survey results with subsequent action planning optimally include:
Leadership involvement from senior executives, particularly the top executive
Clarifying and establishing overall objectives
Determining drivers of engagement
Effectively communicating the objectives to the internal audience at all levels
Aligning to objectives, including appropriate accountability
Measurement of the work-life environment
Acting on the results
The underlying premise is that successful organizations need to retain people who care about their work, who care about how they perform it and who care about the overall success of the company. Ready to see how you can benefit from increased engagement? Get an instant quote now or call us at 866-802-8095 x705. Like so many of our customers who return year after year, seeing an average of 6-7% points improvement in their overall employee satisfaction, you'll be glad you did.