Responding to Employee Feedback
When asked about whether employees will tire of providing feedback, we often respond by saying that there is no such thing as survey fatigue, only inaction fatigue. In fact, David Shanklin, CultureIQ’s Head of Culture Strategy, argues that collecting feedback from employees and not acting on it can be even more detrimental to employee sentiment than not collecting feedback in the first place.
Why is it, then, that so many companies with well-intentioned leaders face inaction fatigue? It’s often because one of these challenges gets in the way:
1. Leaders experience analysis paralysis and don’t take action
2. Leaders try to fix everything at once
3. Leaders take action, but don’t communicate their efforts to the rest of the company
To overcome these challenges and effectively follow up after a culture survey, we recommend distilling your findings down to two or three main storylines, focusing efforts around these, and communicating this journey to employees. Culture survey follow-up is a process that CultureIQ customer 1st Global, a Dallas-based CPA firm, does particularly well. Jeff Kramer, their AVP of People, offered to share this journey. After their employee survey in January 2016, 1st Global launched a campaign targeted at what the data revealed as their three key drivers of employee engagement: (1) leadership and future outlook, (2) survey follow-up, and (3) career and team development. The campaign consisted of a series of initiatives organized by each employee engagement driver. In addition to addressing the action hurdles described above, the campaign stands out because it bakes accountability into the follow-up process. You might also notice that some of the initiatives could be considered “low hanging fruit” and others are deeper, behavioral changes. Both are important for culture, and the combination helps employees feel the changes in an immediate and meaningful way.
Driver 1: Leadership and Future Outlook
These initiatives focus on providing clarity and transparency to their employees with respect to strategy, results, purpose and values. Engage @9 – Every Tuesday through Friday morning the whole company participates in a 10 minute “stand up,” in which they touch upon the company’s core business objectives, provide updates on recent happenings, and recognize any milestones or achievements. Employees across levels and departments are able to lead the meetings. The idea for this meeting came from an idea-sharing session 1st Global had with fellow business in the North Texas Community who instituted something similar a few years back. “N” Correspondents – 1st Global has four central projects called “N” Projects that are focused on re-engineering workflows and processes in the company. Each project team has a team member, the “N” Correspondent, who acts as a liaison between project and the rest of the company by reporting on its progress and status. Engage Events – 1st Global hosts monthly team-wide events to recognize achievements, provide updates on company goals and have fun. Events include “Engage Recognition” events, which are quarterly off-sites, and “Engage Connect” events, which are smaller, in-office gatherings. Recently, 1st Global has focused on including more leadership exposure at these events, so they had an event featuring the CEO as well as an “Ask the Executive” panel. The “Transparency Channel” – Every morning and late afternoon 1st Global casts their “Transparency Channel” on all of office TV screens. This slideshow features important company updates for the week, such as the status of their annual company goals, employee recognition shout outs, and fun facts about employees and customers. The Leadership Circle Profile – 1st Global has focused on having leaders that are self-aware, continuously improving, and mindful of “how they show up” to employees. To support leaders in this effort, 1stGlobal launched an initiative called the Leadership Circle Profile, which is a 360-degree assessment of leadership traits followed by executive coaching. In 2016 every leader at 1st Global will participate in this program and create a personal development plan based on their results.
Driver 2: Culture Survey Follow-Up
If you thought we were exaggerating about the importance of responding to survey feedback, think again. 1st Global identified survey follow-up as one of their top three drivers of employee engagement. Therefore, they take a series of intentional steps after closing a survey so employees know that leadership is listening to and taking action on the feedback. 1. 1st Global publishes the survey results in their entirety on TV screens throughout the office.2. The Head of HR presents the full results to the whole company. 3. The AVP of People partners with the Head of Marketing/Communication and the company President to create the action plans. 4. The Head of HR hosts three team-wide meetings throughout the course of the year to update employees on the status of their action plans.
Driver 3: Career and Team
These initiatives are designed to demonstrate that 1st Global invests in the professional development of their employees and in fostering a culture of teamwork and collaboration.Individual Development Plans – By the end of 2016, 1st Global plans to have Individual Development Plans for 100 percent of its employees.Job Description Revisions – 1st Global is revising all of its job descriptions to include well-articulated and essential job functions.Compensation Transparency – 1st Global is working on developing pricing grades and ranges behind every position at the company. Once the process is complete, they will share the exact methodology used to reach their conclusions. Corporate Citizenship – 1st Global recently launched a corporate citizenship initiative through an alliance with Entrepreneurs for North Texas.The Empowerment Dynamic (TED) – The folks at 1st Global have long embraced the learnings from the book The Empowerment Dynamic (TED) by David Emerald. Therefore, one of their Guiding Business Objectives is “Being Great to Each Other,” and they sponsor several voluntary forums on TED to reinforce these concepts and how employees can apply them to their everyday work.
1st Global is around halfway through their 2016 Engagement Campaign. So, what’s next? In addition to their continued dedication to transparency around the progress of these initiatives, the company closed a CultureIQ survey in August. They are currently analyzing the results and will be sharing them with the company shortly.