How can you make employee surveys a real tool for change, at every level? There’s been a lot of practical research and trial-and-error; and we can conclude that there are things you can do which definitely work.
For many consultant, summarizing the data and providing recommendations is standard operating procedure, but it often leads to little action. That makes sense: most employees only get a little (if any) feedback, and the top managers are given a set of recommendations they can safely ignore or forget about.… Read the rest
Credibility of executives and supervisors was linked to visibility in our research.
We believe that, if a manager keeps their employees informed of the decisions and changes they’re considering (and their thought processes along the way), the employees can think along with the manager, or at least understand their rationale. Any decisions will not seem to contradict common sense or the manager’s previous stance.… Read the rest
Surveys can be used as a change tool in several ways —above and beyond the usual goal of gathering information.
First, simply having the survey tells people that change is coming, and that something will happen. That is a key part of the change process, known as “unfreezing,”which is needed for people to consider doing things differently.
One other subtle way that surveys affect change is by telling people what is considered most important.… Read the rest
Pareto analysis is a simple way to figure out the major causes for a problem. Though it’s mostly used by quality assurance people, pareto analysis is also useful for organizational development, because it is common in manufacturing (so many people are used to it), and because it is a clever system.
Typically, Pareto analysis is used both to kick off problem solving by helping to identify root causes (the basic, underlying issue which is causing the problem, as opposed to the “apparent” issue which may, in itself, be caused by something else – for example, replacing a defective voltage regulator which is allowing batteries to be damaged, rather than simply replacing the batteries).… Read the rest
Process re-engineering, quality circles, organizational development, team-building, job enrichment, balanced scorecards, … there must have been hundreds of management and leadership fads over the years. They come charging in with success stories, and fall out of favor as fashions change or failures mount; often, they came back with different names and slight changes.
Can we drill down to what they all have in common, and why they worked for some people but not others?… Read the rest
In general, the bane of custom surveys is not being able to provide norms.
That might not be as bad as it sounds.
While clients almost invariably ask for, or sometimes demand, norms for employee surveys and even 360° feedback items, we have found significant cultural impact on responses — which is to say that there is variance based solely on the organizational/regional culture where the questions are asked.… Read the rest