Turning Employee Survey Data into Strategic Action. An Overview of the Action Catalyst Model C A T A L Y S T

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1 Turning Employee Survey Data into Strategic Action An Overview of the Action Catalyst Model C A T A L Y S T SirotaScience Webinar April 19, 2012

2 Welcome to the SirotaScience Webinar Series SirotaScience Webinar Series Regular review of current workforce trends Purpose: explore topics, share insights, and exchange ideas Discuss data, academic research, and your observations from the field Format 30 to 45 minute presentation followed by open discussion Please hold questions until open discussion Looking ahead to May May 16 Sirota Leadership Advisory Webinar Values Misalignment in the C-Suite 2012 Sirota Survey Intelligence 2

3 Scene: A Sophisticated Cocktail Party 3 So.what do you do? And you ah enjoy this type of work? And you think your surveys really make a difference? Why is survey research so exciting for practitioners but so underwhelming for everyone else?

4 4 Today s Agenda Setting the Context What we know about survey research and actioning survey data Ensuring your Survey is a Catalyst for Action 8 Steps for you to consider Questions

5 About Sirota 5 Since David Sirota founded our firm in 1972, our mission has been to Improve the lives of employees and Enable organizations to achieve sustained business success by Creating strong and productive partnerships On-Boarding Assessment Engagement Leadership Effectiveness Organization Effectiveness Exit Surveys Employment Life Cycle Integration EVP / Brand Company Culture Stakeholder Partnership Values / Culture Human Capital / ROI

6 We survey over 1m employees a year from best in class companies 6

7 Our Normative Database includes 200+ items measuring 25 Topic Areas 7 Company Leadership Company Effectiveness Performance Management Communication Decision Processes Job Security Workload Treatment Engagement (Satisfaction, Discretionary Effort, Pride, Loyalty, Commitment) Corporate Responsibility Resources Teamwork Safety / Working Conditions Customer Service Local Leadership Rewards/ Recognition Job Satisfaction Involvement Training and Development Pay and Benefits Advancement Innovation Voluntary, Intentional Turnover / Willingness to Stay

8 So 8 What is the single most important item that we -- as I/O & OD professionals -- should pay attention to on employee surveys?

9 9 Our 2010 Normative Results on Various Items Relationship with co-workers Pride Safety Job Satisfaction Extra Role Behavior Confidence in future of company Customer Focus Fairness Company Ethics Diversity Overall Satisfaction Worklife Balance Total Comp Job Security Trust Senior Leaders Career Goals Benefits Pay Survey Utilization Decision Making Average 2010 Benchmark 70% favorable Survey Utilization ranks 125th out of 127 items

10 Why should Survey Utilization be our primary concern? Surveys create expectations for change The mere act of data collection creates expectations that data collection will have consequences (Nadler, 1996, p. 180) 2. Lack of action leads to frustration I have taken at least three of these surveys and nothing has changed I believe this survey is a good idea, but resent the fact that when we did this survey three years ago, none of our concerns were addressed. 3. Survey Utilization is statistically related to Employee Engagement Survey Utilization emerged as a key driver of Engagement in 13 out of 25 recent Sirota Studies

11 Recent Client Example 11 When employees felt..their Engagement Levels were at Survey will be utilized Survey may be utilized Survey won't be utilized % 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

12 Framing the Dilemma We Face 12 Surveys are popular Surveys of employees seem widespread, if not universal (Kraut, 2006) The organizational survey is one of the most prevalent and longstanding data-driven methods for organization development and change (Falleta & Combs, 2002) But their utility is limited Only 48% of employees in our normative database agree that surveys led to action Based on discussions with 30 survey practitioners, Kraut (2006) found that lack of action was the most commonly identified failing of organizational surveys If there is any doubt that a lack of action is the Achilles heel of the survey process, this extraordinary indictment by survey practitioners themselves should convince us (Kraut, 2006)

13 Why might this be the case? Some Observations Some organizations are focusing on the wrong part of the survey process More focused on front end than back end The survey has become the end, rather than the means to the end 2. We, as survey researchers and practitioners, are defining our roles too narrowly From researcher to change agent From constructs to coaching From relative weights analysis to real impact 3. We seem to be operating with a flawed basic assumption If we build it they will act But action doesn t just happen

14 So What Can We Do? 14 We decided to go back to the drawing board Our ACE Model explains how to create Engagement *Adapted from Sirota s Book: The Enthusiastic Employee Wharton School Publishing, 2005 Leadership Practices Achievement Service Camaraderie Engagement Innovation Immediate Management Equity Productivity But it doesn t explain how to create Action Our new Action Catalyst model is designed to help survey practitioners create readiness for action and sustain action campaigns C A T A L Y S T

15 15 1. Build Commitment for Action C A T A L Y S T Surveys are likely to lead to action when there is commitment from five critical stakeholders C-Suite Division and Function Heads Employees Human Resources Immediate Managers

16 The Best Way to Build Commitment is to Design a Strategic Survey 16 Determine what your leaders and managers want to know about and you will create immediate interest and buy-in 1. Let s start by focusing on the business. a. What s your business strategy? b. From a competitive standpoint, what s critical to your success? c. What are your biggest concerns? Business Effectiveness Customer Experience Strategy Challenges 2. Tell me a bit about your employees. a. What stands out when you think about your employees? b. How motivated or engaged are your employees? c. What would you say are the critical needs of your employees? What are the keys to creating a motivated workforce at Starwood? d. Do you think there is a link between employee attitudes and your business success? Why or why not? 3. What s the culture like here at XYZ? a. What s good about your culture? b. What isn t? Culture Employee Experience Leadership 4. What are the biggest challenges that your organization is currently facing? a. From a business perspective? b. From a people/employee perspective? c. From an organizational effectiveness perspective? 5. What do you want to learn from the survey? a. What information do you need to help you lead your employees? b. What critical topics do you think we should ask about? c. What would make this survey a success?

17 17 2. Establish Accountability C A T A L Y S T Clarifying Spheres of Influence Employee surveys often focus on a broad array of topics, including items that ask about everything from leader behavior to pay satisfaction. As leaders and managers review their results, they may wonder: how am I going to take action on topics such as pay and benefits that I have no control over? To prevent these types of concerns from derailing action, we work with managers, leaders, and HR to clarify spheres of influence before survey results are delivered. Focus Groups with SMEs Which items ask about Local day to day topics Strategy, culture, and mission Business Execution Aspects of the employee deal Clarified Spheres of Influence Manager Senior Leader 1. Pay Satisfaction X 2. Clear Strategy X 3. Teamwork x HR

18 18 3. Train Managers C A T A L Y S T Receive Report Interpretive Lenses Numbers Reaction Context Priorities Desired Outcomes Basic Story, Questions, Possible Actions

19 Training Example: Processing Emotions 19 Receive Report Interpretive Lenses Numbers Reaction Context Priorities Desired Outcomes Basic Story, Questions, Possible Actions Process your Reactions How did you feel when you first reviewed your results? Caution: Don t under or over-personalize your survey results Did any results match your expectations? Did any results surprise you? Where are scores better or worse than you expected? What are your initial concerns, based on survey results? What are your initial questions? Do any results confuse you? Where do you need more information, clarity, or feedback?

20 20 4. Align Actioning Efforts Throughout the Organization C A T A L Y S T Executive Team Reviews Survey Data Key themes Time HR Business Areas review their survey data Key themes Communications Immediate Managers review data in the context of organizational themes Key themes Employee feedback meetings - clarify & prioritize Issues within direct linemanager influence/control Issues outside direct line-manager influence/control Local Action Plan logged and implemented Feedback up the line-manager hierarchy Feedback to higher level management / shared service Feedback

21 Action Alignment Example: Improving Decision Making 21 Senior Executives Build a Decisive Culture 1. Clarify business case for better decision making 2. Model effective decision making 3. Examine decision making de-railers Function Heads Focus on Decision Making vis-à-vis Execution 1. Identify inefficiencies across units 2. Clarify decision-maker authority Decision Making Direct Managers Improve Day to Day Decision Making 1. Practice Better Decision Making 2. Empower employees HR Provide training and support 1. Train Managers 2. Work with Function Heads and Senior Execs to change culture

22 22 5. Utilize Learning Practices to Promote Deeper Change C A T A L Y S T The best surveys facilitate individual, team, and organizational learning Guided reflections and Best Practice Sharing can help Guided Reflection Manager: Jane Jones Think back over the past year: What are the top three things you have learned about yourself as a leader? What are the top three things you have learned about your team? What have been your biggest challenges over the past year? When you consider your survey results, what do you think are the

23 23 6. Use Yardsticks to Build & Sustain Momentum C A T A L Y S T Deadlines facilitate decision making and performance But surprisingly, many organizations do not set clear action timelines Receive Results Orient Conduct Feedback Meeting Explore Week 1 Week 2 Plan & Align Act Evaluate Week 3 & 4 Develop Action Plans Week 5 to 8 Week 9 Conduct First Evaluation Adjust & Continue Week 10 to 12 Attend Training Synthesize Feedback & Discuss with Boss Initiate Plan Provide Status Update & Adjust Plan if Needed

24 # of Business Units Support Managers Who Need Additional Help C A T A L Y S T Identify Lowest Scoring Leaders Drive Improvement from the Bottom Up 100 Bottom 10 th Percentile Has lifted an average of 5 Points since 2007 While the Top 10 th Percentile is Remaining Stable % Favorable With coaching and support, we ve seen the client s lowest scoring units improve their Engagement scores an average of 14 points (vs. 1 point in other units).

25 25 8. Provide Tools & Technology that Facilitate Action C A T A L Y S T We provide our clients with various online tools to help leaders and managers take action in an efficient way Our web-based reports allow managers to review their results and identify critical actioning opportunities Our Action Tracker provides leaders and managers with a centralized searchable repository for identifying, developing, recording, and sharing action plans Our online training programs help managers understand how to analyze their data, prepare for feedback meetings, and develop effective action plans

26 Pulling it All Together: Eight Recommendations 26 Commitment Establish a clear mandate for action from Senior Leadership and critical stakeholders Accountability Ensure everyone understands who is responsible for what Training Train managers to be analysts, facilitators, and change agents Alignment Align actions across the organization Learning Practices Promote deeper change with learning practices Yardsticks Keep everyone on track with yardsticks Support Systems Provide additional support to leaders and teams who need it Tools & Technology Use state-of-the-art tools to facilitate change

27 27 Observations from the Field: Your Responses In my organization. Based on 61 respondents We have set clear expectations for action 69% 20% 11% We provide...analytic tools and techniques 64% 23% 13% The senior leadership team values our employee survey 64% 20% 16% We provide...state of the art web-based tools and technology 62% 18% 20% Our leaders understand how promote employee engagement 61% 18% 21% We do a good job assisting leaders who need additional support 59% 23% 18% We utilize learning practices to produce deep insights 57% 20% 23% We use yardsticks to keep leaders on track 56% 20% 25% We align action plans across the org. 54% 28% 18% We do an effective job training our leaders 52% 30% 18%

28 Final Thoughts Surveys are only useful if they lead to strategic organizational action 2. Based on data from employees, managers, and practitioners, many organizations struggle to turn employee survey data into action 3. As I/O and OD professionals, we have an opportunity (and a responsibility) to help organizations improve their ability to turn data into action 4. Based on our experience, survey actioning campaigns only succeed when the entire organization is prepared for change 5. Our Action Catalyst model is designed to help survey practitioners create readiness for action and sustain action campaigns C A T A L Y S T

29 Final Thoughts Surveys are only useful if they lead to strategic organizational action 2. Based on data from employees, managers, and practitioners, many organizations struggle to turn employee survey data into action An attitude survey is like a hand grenade once you pull the pin you have to do something with it. Otherwise it may hurt you rather than help you 3. As I/O and OD professionals, we have an opportunity (and a responsibility) to help organizations improve their ability to turn data into action 4. Based on our experience, survey actioning campaigns only succeed when the entire organization is prepared for change (Vitales, 1953) 5. Our Action Catalyst model is designed to help survey practitioners create readiness for action and sustain action campaigns C A T A L Y S T

30 Your Thoughts & Observations 30 C A T A L Y S T 1. What works in your organization? 2. How can we, as organizational psychologists and professionals, learn from each other to make surveys more impactful? I/O & Social-Organizational Psychologists OD Practitioners Coaches Change Agents Organizational Learning Specialists

31 Thank You 31 Questions, Comments, Observations For Additional Information on our Action Catalyst Model Organizational Self Assessment: https://survey.sirota.com/catalyst White Paper: Turning Data into Action Additional Questions Patrick Hyland:

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