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Derek Bishop

Culture Consultancy

Director

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So you know the answer, what next?

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Congratulations, you’ve carried out your annual employee survey and you are sitting on a pile of data which tells you all you need to know about the state of your organisation.  Or do you?  Sure, to get accurate comparative data you’ve asked exactly the same questions as last time.  Great, the analysis shows that in some areas you are doing better and in others worse but what does it all mean and what are you going to do with all of that information?

The trouble with employee surveys is that before you can act on the answers you need to know what the question really was and that means going beyond the bald words themselves and really getting to grips with how your employees are acting, feeling and how they are interpreting the question.  And that takes more than an analysis of tick box data. 

For example, let’s take the simple statement ‘I trust my line manager.’  Last year that question scored 4/5, this year just 2/5.  But what does the change mean?  Is there a new line manager, is the line manager so overwhelmed with work that they haven’t given enough time to their team, have employees not been engaged in process changes or have issues raised in the previous evaluation not been solved.  Act on the bald data from a simple questionnaire and the line manager is out the door.  Delve behind the question to a full evaluation and it may well be that the line manager is doing a sterling job but the organisational leaders are leaving something to be desired.

Our message to business is simple.  If you think that churning out a bald questionnaire every year is enough then don’t bother.  All you will do is waste the time of every employee.  We aren’t saying questionnaires aren’t useful; they can be, but only when they are seen as a small part of a proper evaluation and only when that evaluation is acted upon. 

Assessing company culture, analysing the level of employee engagement takes understanding.  In many cases the clues are already there.  Rising sickness levels, falling productivity, higher staff turnover rates, wastage, dissent, falling customer satisfaction levels; all point to a malaise which requires an urgent remedy.  But whilst a questionnaire may help in a small way to show employees that you are taking action, if having completed the survey no action is taken then the exercise will only exacerbate the situation.

Why should you care?  Well unless you truly understand your employees and take steps to actively engage them in the aims and values of the organisation then you might as well close the door now.  Disengaged employees don’t care about the work, the reputation of the organisation or the satisfaction of its customers.  Disengaged employees will individually and collectively drag the organisation down.  They may, when they feel like it, turn up in body but not in mind and soul.  And it is that mind and soul that organisations need for success. 

So when you get the results of your survey this year what are you going to do next?  Are you going to analyse it, crack a few heads together, select the best bits for inclusion in the annual report and then give some dry presentation to whoever is left?  Or are you going to use it as a springboard, as a catalyst for acting positively to understand and to engage, to act and to care?  Evaluation means more than ticking a few boxes.  Take it further and you may be surprised at how far your culture and engagement levels can change. 

Author Profile Picture
Derek Bishop

Director

Read more from Derek Bishop
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