Many organisations now use surveys to see how they are doing. Some are focused at customers and clients, whilst others look at how the employees think their workplace is.
The majority of employee surveys fell out of a brilliant piece of work by two researchers at Gallup – Curt Coffman and Marcus Buckingham – and led to their iconic book ‘First Break All the Rules’.
They found that how employees responded to just 12 statements about the work experience would dictate the profitability of any team, department or organisation. They called these Q12.
Using Q12 required a licence from Gallup (and hence why they aren’t shown here, though you can find them if you Google them), so many organisations pinched the concept and just wrote the questions a bit differently.
In fact, over time they have added significantly to the 12 original statements, with many employees being asked to respond to up to 50 or more. Which rather defeats the object! Still, many HR and leadership teams couldn’t help themselves when given the opportunity to confuse and irritate their people!
A couple of the questions related to the employees experience of their manager. These related to interactions the manager had with them – and how recently, so I can share a story.
Jim (name changed) had faced a dire problem. On his promotion, he had inherited an operation with problems all over the place, which he’d had to fix. In the first year, sorting out core issues had been a focus expected of him by his own superiors.
When the employee survey was in, he didn’t do so well in the measures of him (though some results might have related to the previous guy too). In year two, he made a very conscious effort to be more visible to his people; to speak with them more often and to, well, be a bit happier too!
The year two results showed him still below the average for managers like him, but they had improved by over 14% on the previous year.
The moral of the story? If you want to engage better with your people (= be more effective with them), get out there and spend time with them – all of them.
You know it makes sense.