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Employee survey case study

A key driver in achieving high organisational performance is conducting an employee survey. An employee survey is integral to enhancing working relationships within an organisation. The factors of effective communication, trust and adequate recognition and reward programs are often critical elements in increasing employee engagement and achieving employee satisfaction, as demonstrated in this case study.

A Victorian organisation recently undertook an employee survey. This organisation’s employee survey results showed that encouraging positive communication between parts of the organisation is the key to creating improved working relationships between departments. HR and management learnt their departments should be encouraged to learn about and respect what each individual area does and how every role contributes to the bigger picture. These key lessons from the Insync Surveys employee survey were well received by HR and management. They immediately began work on increasing cross skilling and collaboration between departments.

Employee engagement results and actions

Employee engagement levels were also poor, suggesting that recognition and reward initiatives could be enhanced. The employee survey highlighted that leaders need to recognise staff contributions whenever and wherever possible. Insync Surveys suggested a particular technique that may create a stronger sense of being valued by using structured recognition and reward programs in the workplace to boost employee engagement. We found out that for this organisation, effective reward and recognition is dependent on the skills of local managers to identify and reward staff for high performance. Results from the employee survey showed that there are varying levels of recognition felt by staff across the organisation. It also showed that while some clusters of staff felt valued there was a high majority that feel this area is lacking.

Insync Surveys helped this organisation understand the need to address the ability of local managers to understand and appreciate the value of rewards/recognition/praise, and their ability to fairly distribute rewards and recognise employee effort. In order to facilitate wider usage of reward and recognition, alternative options need to be made available to local managers. This organisation discovered that stronger skills in these areas are likely to create a lift in employee morale and lead to reductions in staff turnover and absenteeism in their workplace.

This organisation hopes that their next annual employee survey will also be likely to yield stronger results in all areas of the survey, including employee engagement. To achieve this, Insync Surveys recommended that systems be reviewed for consistency and effectiveness. The organisation can build or enhance some formal and informal reward and recognition programs in response to the comments from their employee survey.

Using the employee survey to address staff turnover

This organisation also discovered that to help employees felt valued and recognised it can also assist in the retention of talented employees. Insync Surveys suggested that the organisation explore whether there are other issues contributing to staff turnover. In conjunction with the employee survey results, a review of HR metrics was undertaken to determine whether turnover is a real or perceived issue or whether keeping skilled employees is more related to feelings of value.

Some improvement ideas that are being addresses are:

  • Analysis of entry survey and exit interview data
    • Identifying emerging trends in reasons for leaving
    • Identifying the extent to which factors identified in the top 10 gaps contribute to attrition
    • Determining if there are other impacting factors
  • Measuring and benchmarking employee turnover, identifying if results change as a result of completion of any initiatives arising from the employee survey
  • Analysis of comments provided in relation to recruitment processes as provided in their employee survey

Improving the transparency of processes to facilitate cooperation and trust

Trust also emerged as an issue for staff from the employee survey. The qualitative comments further illustrated that there are many concerns about the transparency of processes and in certain circumstances, confidentiality being upheld. When the results were broken down by department, trust appeared as an area requiring attention at all levels highlighted throughout the employee survey. It was recommended by Insync Surveys that the senior management team take a focused and proactive role in getting to the bottom of what may be causing a lack of trust among employees, as well as looking at ways of further improving communication and cooperation between departments. It was also important for this organisation to identify ways to keep employees informed of the roles, responsibilities and current projects of other work areas. With several different departments operating within the organisation, it was viewed as essential to establish expectations and consistency between them.

Underlying trust within the organisation is ultimately defined by the strength of the relationship between employees and management. Employees expect the organisation and the management team to treat them fairly, to invest in them, to keep their promises and to be honest and transparent in their communication. Senior management could use the communication of employee survey results as an opportunity to demonstrate that they are listening to their employees and taking their suggestions onboard. Honesty is paramount to the communication process as employees need to see that their opinions, both positive and negative are important to the organisation. Following through on employees’ suggestions demonstrates that senior management place trust in their employees’ ideas. This would go a long way to creating an atmosphere of reciprocal trust within this organisation. There may also be scope for more joint planning between departments to assist in breaking down barriers, and problems may be overcome by a close examination of some of the systems and processes in use. Visibility of senior leaders is also a powerful technique to enhance credibility and leverage from the positive elements highlighted within the employee survey. If staff can see that management are visible and involved, it equates to higher levels of trust and accountability.

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