If you’re going to ask someone their opinion about something that matters to them, you have to care enough to listen and let them know that they have been heard. This is a lesson that all employers should heed when conducting ‘Employee Opinion Surveys’ as whilst employees value the opportunity to contribute positively to change within an organization, this good will quickly evaporate if after contributing their time and thoughts and they receive little or no feedback and worse still see no change. Even if you are not going to put their recommendations into effect, it important to have the courage to let people know that their input has been listened to. Ultimately the core value present at the heart of the most engaged organisations should and must be ‘Respect for People’.
From an evidence-base of more than 300 Australian companies with over 52,000 respondents, when asked “What four things would most change (your organisation) for the better?” Employees consistently rated the following as priorities:
- Higher wages
- Improve Communications
- Effective Leadership
- Make people feel valued
When we drill down further and ask ‘How Can We Improve Communications’? The following answers are prioritised:
- BE HONEST AND FRANK: Open, up-front, no lies, no secrets, put the cards on the table, less sidestepping
- THROUGH EFFECTIVE MEETINGS: Sharing information, more updates, feedback, don’t waffle
- CONSULT AND LISTEN: Get staff input, no decisions behind closed doors, tell us before not after
- INVOLVE EVERYONE: Not the select few, get everyone involve
These Employee Opinion Surveys are built on a strong evidence based framework, the Baldrige model of operational Excellence, a globally recognised Employer of Choice award. Your survey results reveal the level of engagement that exists in your organisational culture, across a range of business and personal engagement themes that are known to impact the performance – including growth, profit and other ‘hard’ metrics.
Many senior sponsors fall short of completing the survey process by focusing only on numerical data and not exploring the meaning of that data. Worst of all, they neglect to provide feedback, reducing the likelihood of participation in any following surveys.
What engagement is all about subjectively, is wanting to give of yourself and make a difference. People have an interest in making a contribution, having their say and being heard.
How to avoid the common mistake of dis-respecting your staff:
- Thank people who contributed
- Report back within 30-60 days to the whole organisation on the survey results, along with any specific actions or decisions that have been formed as a result
- Announce any new initiatives that have arisen as part of the process.
- Link this message to the organisation’s vision, values and strategic direction
- Explore through further dialogue in smaller groups, areas that are unclear or sensitive
- Deliver in person as well as though other media
This is a critical time for leaders to remember the core value present at the heart of the most engaged organisations: Respect for People.
If you’re going to ask someone their opinion about something that matters to them, you have to care enough to listen and let them know that they have been heard. Even if you are not going to put their recommendations into effect, have the courage to let people know that their input has made an impact.
E.g. ‘You have created an opportunity for new perspectives to be taken and while there are no simple answers right now ‘. new things are emerging – and we WILL keep you posted!”
If you would like to know how an Employee Opinion Survey can help your staff feel more valued and increase the level of engagement and productivity in your organisation, please contact Sue Tsigaros.