A few weeks ago, I read about the research done recently indicating that employee satisfaction across the country has tumbled to an all-time low of 45%. I listed one key to creating organizational satisfaction and in this post; I’d like to touch on two more. Here’s two reasons that organizations don’t often build a culture that drives employee satisfaction, and some ways to think differently about those challenges.
Organizations focus on accomplishments, not progress.
Many of the organizations I’ve worked for or with are laser focused on what they need to get done but pay much less attention to how they get better at doing those things in the first place. One recently appointed CEO announced, “We have everything we need… to be the best financial services company in the world. What we need to do now is very simple. We need to execute.”
The real question that begs is how do the employees, who have virtually the same collective set of skills, experience and knowledge tomorrow that they have today, execute any better? It’s akin to saying that tomorrow I’m going to run faster, in spite of the fact that I’ve done nothing today to improve my running muscles. Oh and by the way, if you believe the research about employee satisfaction, organizational faster running muscles may be degenerating pretty quickly. Companies and teams that focus on making their people better tomorrow than they were today won’t ever have to worry about how the organization will accomplish new and better things. Great leaders learn to ask – is my team any better this week, not just did they produce more. They produced exactly what their level of commitment and abilities should have produced, and they will produce that again next week if those things don’t change.
Organizations care about the destination more than the journey.
I’ve never seen a company meeting where they pull up the quarterly results and they have a column for engagement, excitement or satisfaction. I’m not suggesting that profit and loss shouldn’t be front and center but if you’re only paying attention to the results and not to the price you paid for it in employee engagement then the measurement is flawed. Burnout is real and people who dig deep without a real sense of accomplishment, will dig a little less deep next time. Too many times a business will celebrate a revenue number or a completed project but the people involved feel like it wasn’t a fair trade for the amount of themselves they gave up for it.
Just like we look at the top and bottom line on a profit and loss statement, good leaders understand that there is a cost for organizational achievement and if the employees feel like that is unbalanced, it may be that the real return was negative. We still have numbers to hit and projects to accomplish next month. Employees are either energized and excited about the next challenge, or they are dreading it. That energy, or lack of it, will go a long way toward determining the company’s success going forward.
A Simple Way To Know And Learn About Employee Satisfaction In Your Organization is Through Periodic Employee Surveys
Here are 5 tips to help you make the most of employee surveys.
1. Incorporate surveys into your planning cycle – You can learn a lot from employee surveys, but you need to make sure the information is available when you need it. For example, if you make budget decisions in April, you might want to conduct a survey in January so that you will have time to analyze the results before you make decisions on how to allocate resources. In scheduling surveys, work backwards from the time when you will need to use the results.
2. Use existing templates to develop survey questions – Developing survey questions does not need to be a difficult or time-consuming task. You can use sample questions on common employee concerns, including such things as: o Compensation
o Health benefits
o Having adequate resources to work efficiently
o Retirement benefits
o Opportunities for professional growth
o Communication with management
It is easy to customize these questions to meet your specific situation.
3. Keep survey responses anonymous – Employees need to feel confident that their responses to a survey will remain anonymous. If they fear their responses may be used against them, they will not respond candidly. Avoid asking too many demographic questions, such as, “How long have you been in your present position?” Employees mightdread that their responses will reveal their identity.
4. Use online survey software to boost value and efficiency – Online survey software offers a convenient, efficient way to conduct employee surveys. Online survey software enables you to fine tune your questions and determine how to analyze the data you will gather at the end of the survey. These programs also make it easy to create charts and graphs to clarify your findings.
5. Always respond to survey results – Employees will be more willing to take part in a survey if they feel that you are prepared to act on the results. David Chaudron, an expert on human resource management, makes this point crystal clear with his statement: “Never survey without acting”. Many businesses distribute a summary of survey results and an indication of how they plan to respond to employee concerns. Of course, sometimes you may not be able to give employees the response they were hoping for. Yet, it is imperative to let all employees know that their opinions are important and that they are making an important contribution to the decision-making process.
Let is Conclude One leader can make a huge difference. Go into any organization and, with your team, create a dream, focus on progress and help people enjoy the journey and it won’t be long before you’re in charge of an awful lot of people. If it’s your own business, try operating it that way for six months, and watch the difference it makes. Satisfied, engaged people who are growing and developing make your business better. It’s not rocket science unless you’re doing it at NASA but the results you get over time with these steps will become the giant leap needed to grow your business, not just for the quarter, but for years to come.