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Sunday, 24 April 2016

How Satisfied Are Your People? Use This Classic Test to Find Out!

How often have we been told that dissatisfied staff will never achieve satisfied customers and how often do we actually do something about it?  In fact, how do we know whether the staff are satisfied, happy and productive or just the opposite?

The really big question for all of us is, does this reflect the way that we are seen by our customers or do they actively like working with us?

It is far more important to ensure that the people in the business are satisfied with their employment rather than starting at the other end of the conundrum and checking customer satisfaction.  For example, if we find that customers are generally unhappy in their interaction with us, what do we do about it?

A recent issue brought to the members of my Vistage CEO peer group questioned the level of employee satisfaction and how this could be tested.

A series of initiatives had already been put in place that were showing very good results including an exceptional increase in sales of a retail business.

Admittedly this was for one moth only but it seemed to be significant in view of the improved morale on the shop floor.

The initiative involved the CEO meeting a selection of members of staff taken from departments across the board in a strictly informal manner, in fact over breakfast, and asking two significant questions:

·      How do you think that your work here can be improved?

·      What help do you want from me to assist you to achieve it?

In addition a rage of ideas were implemented intended to increase the “fun” element of working in the business with some competitive games and ways of injecting enjoyment into the working day.

This proved very powerful and in fact one of the participants told the CEO that they didn’t need to meet again as the very fact that he had sett up this initiative showed that the company was interested in what the staff had to say and was listening.

Crucially when ideas were put forward they were visibly implemented so that everyone would see that it was not just a PR exercise.

There is an intention to check the satisfaction level in a measurable way rather than just by feel and this will be done on a regular basis to see how effective the initiatives have been.

The international polling organisation, Gallup, have for many years conducted surveys of companies across the globe and have evolved a series of twelve questions aimed at assessing the level of employee satisfaction.

The surveys have covered literally thousands of companies and organisations and Gallup say that they have tested some 25 million people in the process.  That should make the survey credible to say the least.

The twelve questions that incidentally require only a yes/no answer are:

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the equipment and materials I need to        do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4. In the last 7 days, have I received praise or recognition for good work?
5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8. Does the mission or purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important?
9. Are my coworkers committed to doing quality work?
10. Do I have a valued colleague at work?
11. In the last 6 months have I talked with someone about my progress?
12.This past year have I had opportunities to learn and grow?

This can need a change in culture but it seems to me that if we take really seriously the fact that we employ people then in order to achieve a reasonable return on that investment (and that is at the lowest level of concern) then we should pay them the compliment of taking their opinions seriously.

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