Have you asked your team recently “Are you happy?”

As you know, business metrics such as turnover, profit last quarter, and headcount are all figures you know off the top of your head. But what about the level of happiness of your staff? Do you know?

In a world where attracting talent is getting progressively more difficult and expensive, retention and development have become top priorities for many CEOs. Building the right culture and environment where people genuinely enjoy their work and are fully aligned with the vision and purpose of the business is one of the key drivers of business performance, if not the most important one.

Time and time again, we see improvements in ‘best place to work’ metrics translating into customer satisfaction performance and subsequently to profit performance. While there may be a time lag in this sequence, it always follows, without exception.

When working with founders, we ask a lot of questions. For this topic, here are some examples:

  1. What is your current level of employee satisfaction?
  2. Specifically, what do your employees like and not like about working for you?
  3. What is your desired level of employee satisfaction?
  4. Do you have actions in place to improve on the key satisfaction drivers?

I ask these questions because if you can answer them with confidence, you are in a great place. It means you are managing this integral issue with the same level of intensity as other key drivers in your business, such as Product/Service Delivery, Sales Performance, Margin Performance, Profit Performance, etc.

However, what many CEOs struggle with is measuring and tracking employee satisfaction in the same way as other ‘more tangible’ areas of the business. Reliable data can hold us back. Likewise, taking action based on our own perceptions rather than hard data can often lead to misguided initiatives or policies that may do more harm than good. Worse still, no data can lead to no action, as ‘what gets measured, gets done.’

It is therefore critical to ask your employees what they like and don’t like and to focus your actions on things that actually make a difference. Just the act of asking often improves satisfaction levels, provided, of course, you share the results and the resultant action plan. It shows that you care about what they think and how they feel.

In several cases, management perception of satisfaction levels before the survey has turned out to be radically different from what employees have actually said when survey results have been collected and analyzed. A recent client called it a ‘real wake-up call, which gave me the kick up the ass required to radically change my approach.’

Getting the Right Data

I advise the practice of aligning the Employee Satisfaction measurement approach with Customer Satisfaction measurement. We recommend using the NPS (Net Promoter Score) philosophy for both. So we regularly get eNPS and cNPS data flowing into the business and can systematically build improvement strategies around both. (NPS revolves around the core question – to what extent would you recommend our business to a friend or colleague?)

This works well as both are intrinsically linked, and everyone gets to understand the language and the absolute importance of both of these measures to the health of the business.

One of the barriers to doing these surveys is that leaders are afraid of what the results may be, or employees are afraid of telling management what they think. This might mean that some work on culture is required before you set off down this path. A no-blame culture is a prerequisite for listening carefully to your team and being committed to making whatever changes are required.

Moving Things Forward

The good news is that many of the things that employees want are often very simple, very quick, and very low cost to implement. Common themes are usually communication, flexible working, opportunities for learning and development, office environment, work scheduling, etc. Within this topic, small changes can have a big impact.

When making action plans, the outcomes can be amplified if you involve the team in making and implementing the plan. It then becomes a collective mission to make the business a great place to work for everyone. Ownership is then with all team members, not just with the CEO or the leadership team.

In summary, treat employee satisfaction as a key business driver. Give it the leadership focus it deserves and manage it as you would any other key driver. Measure the current state, analyze the results, then build and execute an action plan, measuring the impact. Then systematically rinse and repeat in pursuit of constant incremental improvement.

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Written by admin | Date: 26/09/23