The development process of an organization is too often based on the results of an employee survey. However, most of the time, whether these surveys are good or not, they don’t reveal anything about what the employees see as the most significant factors in work. The fact is that if a company doesn’t learn how to excel in those factors that are most significant to its employees, its talents will seek work elsewhere, where they hope things will be different.
As we thought about this problem, we understood that a traditional employee survey will only help you understand those issues the management or HR regard as important and worth measuring. This means the results are skewed right from the beginning, from the point of view of employee commitment and motivation. There is also the risk of focusing on those issues that have received the worst feedback without really thinking about the impact. In this situation, the most meaningful factors for the employees will receive less attention as there has been no prioritization. The road from results to action will often be very long, as the development work is not seen as significant by the employees. For the same reason, the goal that has been set on the basis of the results tends to be forgotten as the year progresses.
If the results of the employee survey are repeating, it’s beneficial to consider whether we are measuring the correct factors and whether we are measuring them correctly.
What if the organization based its development work on those factors the employees see as the most significant? Would the survey then result in employee insight instead of understanding the employee experience? The interests of management and HR would lie in understanding the reasons for employee experience instead of its “symptoms”. I claim that development work based on employee insight will affect your business better than surveys based on employee experience. The fact is, it doesn’t matter whether you are mediocre, good, or excellent in the issues that the employees don’t care about. By measuring and improving these things you are merely creating the illusion of success.
In September, we will publish Siqni, a different kind of employee survey, which we also call an employee insight survey. Siqni will go straight to the heart of the employee by figuring out which factors are the most significant to each employee. More precisely, it is a survey that communicates “we care about the things you care about, and we don’t claim to know them beforehand”. Reports from the survey will direct the discussion towards issues that the employees regard as most significant.
Siqni’s results will also be directly linkable to the infamous performance review (e.g. HS 30.5.2016) by changing their focus and making them more meaningful for both the manager and the employee. Our new point of view will cover developing managerial work in the workplace. This happens by focusing on the essential instead of traditional training packages. Through Siqni, managers will understand what their team cares about the most and how well these factors are realized in their day-to-day work.
Instead of materializing the human behind the talent into mere work output, we should build an environment where talents want to give their best. Right now and in the future too, this kind of environment will be built through a humane company culture that recognizes the individual. It will not be possible to define the commitment of talents through generalizations in the future. We cannot expect each talent to value the same thing as the next.
Development develops, and so should our basic assumptions about management. Caring about the individual requires a Finnish engineer manager to have the courage to start building a meaningful relationship with the employees. An individual must be seen as a complete person. Only by understanding the talent can we build for them a meaningful company culture, and it is only through a meaningful company culture that we can gain a competitive edge to add new talents to our team.