Tuesday, January 4, 2005

I can't get no Employee Satisfaction

Written by - Martin Day 

I'm not happy. The printer has still not been fixed and now
my chair is broken. The problem with this place is that it
is falling apart. My boss is okay but has no clue what is
going on. That new guy that started last week, who no one
bothered to introduce, has been given a job that he has no
idea how to do; why didn't they just ask me? I could have
told them that a new set of drawings have been issued so
even if he did know what he was doing the drawings he is
using are obsolete anyway. Sometimes I don't know why I
bother turning up.

I went for a drink with some of the guys last night after
work. No one is happy and Sally from Accounts says that she
has just about had enough and is thinking of asking for a
rise and if they don't give it to her she is going to quit.

The management here just don't have a clue, we are
haemorrhaging money through our inefficiencies and they
think that sending out memo's telling us that they are
introducing new procedures for claiming expenses is going to
make a difference – whoopee do.

I think I'll ask for a pay rise, if Sally from Accounts can
get one I can.

And so it goes on.
These are the sort of thoughts that start to play on the
minds of individuals when a company looses touch with their
employees; the broken chair, the lack of appreciation, the
blaming of 'management', even questioning the futility of
what they are doing. Minor problems fester and a cynical and
destructive mindset develops. Can you be sure that it isn't
going on right now in your organisation?

Social events outside the office become nothing more than a
forum for complaints and negativity grows among people who
feel powerless to effect change. Dissatisfaction will often
synthesise into a demand for an increase in remuneration, as
though like a cheap fix more money will momentarily lessen
the pain.

Left by management, undiscovered and unaware, the concern's
of this employee will inevitable find solace with their
colleagues own individual concerns, where the only common
demand will be for an increase in remuneration, more paid
holidays and a reduction in working hours, all of which will
not fix the broken chair, ensure that new personnel are
properly introduced, trained and managed nor help management
identify areas of inefficiency.

Organisations have a habit of compartmentalising people,
either physically through offices, cubicles and workstations
but also in terms of responsibility. With effective and
strong management to support this structure it can be
productive, but as an organisation grows, and weak or
inappropriate management infiltrates the management chain,
it is inevitable that cracks will begin to appear.

From the top down all can appear rosy in the corporate
garden as the weak and inappropriate manager reports that
all is well in the engine room, oblivious to the fact that
their coal stocks might be dwindling.

Experience shows us that relying on a limited number of
indicators gives a skewed perspective just like a person
with only one eye has difficulty judging distance. Good
management will therefore establish procedures that sample
the mood throughout the organisation from different
perspectives providing a rounded picture.

The benefits of establishing good, frequent and extensive
communication channels are both direct and indirect.

A senior management team that is known to have their ear to
the ground will command great respect and will keep middle
managers from becoming complacent knowing that they can no
longer dismiss the senior managers searching "How is
everything going?" question with a glib "Fine"; In my book
if someone says "fine" you have to ask if they really know
what is going on.

Most principals of organisation will not have the luxury of
spending time walking the floor and discussing the issues of
individuals but through online surveys they can achieve the
same benefits.

Online surveys are the perfect mechanism for establishing
effective employer/employee communications. Using a survey
hosting service like www.surveygalaxy.com they can now be
created and published with ease and speed.

Using the internet and intranet surveys can be deployed in
seconds, easily completed by employees and results can be
displayed in real time allowing 'problems' and common themes
of dissatisfaction to be identified early.

Online employee satisfaction surveys have the ability to get
to the heart of an organisation, confirm not only that the
engine room is working but that there is sufficient coal in
the bunker.

The benefits that online surveys bring are considerable, not
only are the real issues identified, but employees feel that
their voices are being heard and that their views, right or
wrong, have a forum.

Online surveys won't in themselves resolve a problem but
they will give senior management the opportunity to address
the problems and concerns of their employees, at least if
people then leave the organisation they will be doing it for
the right and not wrong reasons.

The grass will always appear greener on the other side but
the underlying reasons for good people leaving an
organisation are rarely purely monetary, although is often
cited as the case, and more often to do with one or more of
the following:-

• the workplace environment;
• a lack of fulfilment;
• limited training and feedback;
• lack of career growth;
• over work;
• lack of trust and respect with their senior

A well planned employer/employee communications programme
that can identify the individual and common concerns of
employees will give senior management the opportunity to
address root problems and not just the symptoms of employee
dissatisfaction, allowing them to demonstrate to their
employees that they are not viewed simply as interchangeable
parts that can be used for any job at hand.

Employee surveys need to be customised so they are relevant
for each individual organisation.

About the Author

Martin Day is a Director of Survey Galaxy Ltd a web site that
allows anyone to create, design and publish online surveys.
Martin has provided survey consultancy to a number of
organisations who have then gone on to use use online surveys
as a tool to help establish and monitor employee satisfaction.
For more information please visit http://www.surveygalaxy.com

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