DETERMINING EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION
In the new management model, relevant information is required to improve the system, not to fix blame. If a process goes out of control, information about that process is used to bring it back into control, not to seek out the responsible people and chew them out. This is true whether the process involves manufacturing a widget or managing people. it is the reason companies that embrace the new model need to do a better job of collecting information about employee satisfaction.
- Most companies determine employee satisfaction through an employee survey.
- Ben & Jerry's conducts a survey roughly every other year; BI has an annual survey. Both companies communicate the results to all employees/associates, analyze the results, and develop and implement ımprovement plans.
- For example, one of the lowest-scoring statements in BI's 1995 survey related to training in the company's different products and services. A Quality Improvement Team was formed to respond.
- As a result of monthly training sessions and a self-study product guide, the score on the statement rose 38 percent in 1996.
Problems with infrequent survey:
An infrequent survey creates two problems:
(1) an absence of data much of the time, and
(2) an abundance of data and ımprovement activities once a year or so. During the course of a year, the attitudes of employees may change significantly, but management will not be able to measure those shifts or respond appropriately until the survey results are available.
Solution of the problem:
One solution to this problem is being introduced by GTE Directories, which will soon begin surveying one-twelfth of its employees every month. Each month's results will be added to the previous 11 months' results to produce a rolling 12-month score for all survey items. The monthly surveys give the company more timely data about employee attitudes, but each employee completes the survey just once a year. in addition, human resource issues receive ongoing attention rather than the burst of activity that typically follows the annual survey.
Another solution involves using other means (in addition to surveys) of assessing employee attitudes, such as focus groups and interviews. Armstrong BPO has an employee survey, but its best source of information about how employees feel is its confidential, one-on-one employee interviewing process, which the company has relied on for more than 20 years. The interviews are staggered over 12 months (soon, 18 months) and include all salaried personnel and at least half of the nonsalaried employees at all sites. All employees who volunteer to be interviewed are accepted. The interviews are conducted by the industrial relations manager responsible for a site, and by a corporate organizational development person.