Conducting successful 360-Degree Feedback

When used correctly multi source assessment, or 360-degree feedback, is a most useful personal development tool that can be used not just for personal development but also for talent and performance management in a positive sense.  If it is not undertaken independently and confidentially, the process can result in a destructive situation from which it can take some time to recover.

Multi source assessments, 360 degree feedback as the process is more often called, are where feedback is sought by an individual from themselves, his/her peers, customers, stakeholders, superiors and subordinates or any combination. The assessee must always be one of the respondents because their opinion of themselves is at the very heart of the assessment.

Multi-source assessment is a very sensitive activity that touches people to the very core of their personality. As such, it should be completed sensitively and empathically.

In our experience  of conducting multi source assessment for our clients, these are some of the factors that have resulted in a successful outcome.

CULTURE

Organisations that have used multi source assessment successfully have a positive culture, where openness and trust is a given and honest feedback is part of a constructive continuous improvement strategy, in terms of both the organisation and the individual.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Multi Source assessment is best undertaken in a situation where confidentiality can be guaranteed and maintained. The main reason that organisations have come to us to conduct their 360 feedback is that we can provide an external, impartial and anonymous service. This encourages candid responses from all participants.

QUESTIONNAIRE

The questionnaire itself is a major factor in the success of the multi source assessment process. It’s vital that the questions are written in a clear manor, with no element of ambiguity at all. It’s always helpful to include open ended comments, as these often provide excellent insight into the reason for the answers given as well as giving the participant a chance to add their own views. We would recommend that these are optional though, as having to make personal comments can make some people feel uncomfortable.

COMMUNICATION

Organisations should have a clear communication strategy for disseminating the purpose aims and intentions of the multi source assessment project. Crucially, when considering the process, organisations should make sure they have buy-in from all the participants involved before the process is started. We often conduct assessments from the top down, with the senior leadership team undergoing 360 reviews first then rolling out the process to middle managers. This shows everyone in the organisation that the leadership team are leading by example.

SUPPORT

Be supportive of individuals post assessment. Give the assesse time to digest and accept the feedback and ensure they have the opportunity to discuss it in confidence at a time and place to suit them. There may some difficult aspects, but focus on opportunities for the assessee to develop and improve their skills, behaviours and working relationships. Assessees should be able to agree a personal, needs led development plan as a result of the process.

Finally, here are a few ‘Don’ts’ which should go without saying every time…

  • Don’t conduct a 360 for anyone who isn’t fully on-board
  • Don’t link the outcome of the process to merit, pay or reward
  • Don’t use any negative feedback punitively towards the assesse
  • Don’t use the 360 process in isolation, without follow up actions or post-assessment support
  • Don’t compromise confidentiality
  • Don’t produce excessively long, wordy outcome reports that lack clarity

Find out more…

INSPIRING offers a huge range of options when it comes to feedback, from a full 360-degree assessment to a more focused approach. This enables you to choose the option that is best for your business needs, helping you to get the feedback you require. Call us on 0800 612 3098 or email info@inspiring.uk.com for more information.

4 ways to encourage better teamwork in your business

In a teamwork culture, team members work collaboratively to further their team’s objectives, perhaps even placing these objectives ahead of their own individual goals. Organisations where employees work alone or in silos will arguably become less productive over time compared to organisations that encourage teamwork.

The message should come from the top, with your Senior leadership team communicating the clear expectation that teamwork and collaboration are expected. However, there are some key issues which should be dealt with as a team leader or line manager, in order to maintain a positive teamwork culture. We’ve highlighted 4 ways that you can encourage better teamwork, based on both our experience of working with organisations on their employee engagement and leadership development strategies and by looking at trends within the employee surveys that we’ve conducted for our clients.

Leaders are only as good as their teams (and vice versa!)

As a leader or manager, you are setting the tone for the rest of the employees in the workplace and your positive attitude and energy will help to motivate and inspire your team. There is lots of good advice out there on how to be a good team leader but I’ll highlight a couple of issues that often come up in our clients’ survey results.

  1. Try to adopt a coaching approach rather than a ‘do as I do’ attitude, allowing team members to demonstrate what they can do without constant interference. Giving clear instruction without micro-managing will prove to your team members that you believe in their abilities and efforts.
  2. Consistency is key when it comes to managing your team. It’s impossible to build trust amongst your team is there’s perceived favouritism. Make sure team members feel they are treated fairly and equally, and take care not to exclude anyone from group decisions or activities. It seems obvious, but conduct team meetings on a regular basis and allow your team members the opportunity to volunteer or get involved with special projects or tasks.

Encourage open communication

Encouraging a culture of open communication will help develop great teamwork and will undoubtedly have a positive on your team’s overall performance. Communication is often an area which scores poorly in the Employee Surveys we conduct. In our experience, many employees often feel that they aren’t being listened to, whether it’s by their immediate managers or the senior leadership team. Your team should be confident in sharing their ideas, points of view, and feelings and not be afraid of doing so.

Let employees know their contribution is valued by introducing rewards for feedback and suggestions. Encouraging contributions from teams rather than individuals will help get team members working together more closely so make sure you offer rewards for collaborative efforts as much as recognising individual contributions and achievements.

Define and share responsibilities

The more clearly you define your team members’ roles and responsibilities, the more effectively they can meet expectations. The team as a whole, as well as individual team members, must have clearly defined responsibilities and objectives in order to focus their efforts. Your team should be encouraged to recognise each other’s role on the team, helping one another when needed. No one completely owns a work area or process all by themselves. As a manager, make sure your team members have opportunities to cross-train others in the team so that the team’s contribution to the business and service to customers is reliable and consistent. This inspirational quote sums up the point perfectly: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” (Phil Jackson)

Resolve Conflicts

You spend many hours of your life at work, so getting along with your colleagues is very important. Conflict and ‘politics’ amongst team members is a major cause of stress at work. For example, our clients surveys have revealed instances such as team members arguing in public, others giving each other the silent treatment and where one person was left to do all the work while their team members allegedly ‘slacked off’. As a manager or team leader you’ll need to make sure that any tension is resolved as quickly as possible to prevent long-term damage to your team dynamic. Put in place a clear process for employees to raise and resolve issues, so they know they are being listened to, taken seriously and that issues will be dealt with fairly. Teams which include people that do not get along with one another will quickly collapse, become inefficient and unproductive.

 

Team up with INSPIRING…

At INSPIRING, we’ve helped thousands of organisations with Employee Engagement issues over the last 15 years and we’d be happy to share our experience with you. We are also an approved CMI centre providing leadership and management training at different levels with the option of CMI qualifications.

Call us on 0800 612 3098 to find out more or email info@inspiring.uk.com or get in touch using the form.

Could 360 degree feedback help rejuvenate your workforce?

If you’re thinking about running a 360 degree feedback exercise, you may find our objective look at the pitfalls and advantages of 360 degree feedback useful in deciding if it could help rejuvenate your workforce.

Three Common Pitfalls of 360 Degree Feedback

1. 360 degree feedback is a very sensitive activity that touches people to the very core of their personality and it should be completed sensitively and empathically. If the purpose, methodology or understanding of multi-source assessment is misunderstood, it can result in a destructive situation from which it can take years to recover.

2. 360 degree feedback should never be linked to merit, pay or reward. Under ideal circumstances multi-source feedback is used as an assessment for personal development rather than evaluation. Certainly, the results should never be used as a way to punish the individual in any way.

3. Some would agree that 360 degree feedback can take people outside of their comfort zones and result in some difficult conversations. People may be afraid to give honest answers, perhaps in fear of lack of anonymity or they’ve been encouraged to collude with others respondents to give false opinions.

 

Three Advantages of 360 Degree Feedback 

1. In some cases, 360 degree feedback can be used to reduce tension, for example, if an employee is having difficulties with their manager or there is a perceived ‘personality clash’, the end results averaged and weighted by feedback from others could offset or diminish potential personal misjudgements.

2. The 360 degree feedback process is a good way of improving communication within your organisation and can be a useful tool in the run up to a company restructure and to help implement change. The process can help break down barriers between areas in the company and create a culture of openness and trust.

3. Different people often have vastly different views of who we are. To know what we look like in another’s eyes provides a strong enabler for personal development and growth. Being able to gather and analyse the perceptions of colleagues, not just those we report to, can be extremely powerful in helping us understand how our actions play out from many points of view, other than our own.

 

Tips for success

  • Have a clear communication strategy for disseminating the purpose aims and intentions of the assessment
  • Develop an unambiguous questionnaire which includes open ended comments
  • Have a properly constructed competency framework and link this to your organisational goals and values
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • View criticism positively and as an opportunity of personal development
  • Have a plan of support and development in place for candidates following the assessment.
  • Provide clear, consistent and easily understood results reports.

 

If you would like to speak to one of the team at Inspiring about 360 degree feedback, call us on 0800 612 3098 or email info@inspiring.uk.com or get in touch using the form. You can also visit our 360 Degree page for more information.

The Happy Employee: Transparency

When it comes to the workplace environment it can be difficult to ensure total transparency. The phrase ‘you are the face of the company’ is something that employees often hear, and whilst this is designed to encourage employees to represent the company as best as they can, it is also true.

As an employee, you are responsible for various company procedures, as well as client interactions – acting as a major part of the company. Which is why transparency in business is important; how can you represent your company without total understanding of how the business runs? By implementing transparency in the workplace, you can effectively increase overall employee productivity.

Information

Some companies limit the information that they provide to employees; both client related and internal. By including employees in communication about the company’s profits and achievements, a positive connection is forged – as employees can understand how their hard work contributes to the company’s success. The same can also be applied to losses and any setbacks, as employees will feel invested and increase their efforts to ensure the company gets back on track.

Authority

By providing authority to employees, you can motivate them to become empowered. Employees who are given authority become more inspired to be decisive and take responsibility for their actions, both of which are strong elements in great employee performance. This also reduces time wasted on waiting for approval from a higher authority, and allows employees to continue with the work that they are given at their own pace.

Communication

Giving your employees an opportunity to discuss ways for the company to move forward, improve operations or point out areas that require development, allows you to establish a connection with your team. Show them that management appreciates and values employee thoughts and suggestions. Consider implementing the changes and requests your employees offer, where applicable, as this further cements your relationship with your employees and demonstrates that they are an important part of the business.

Deliver on your promises

As management, it can be easy to offer incentives to your employees to encourage them to work harder and more productively. Whilst these incentives can be an effective tool, often we can forget what we have promised – or put it to the side so we can focus on more important things. However, by not delivering on your promises to your employees, they can become unhappy, resulting in a lower standard of employee performance. By ensuring incentives are given to employees, big or small, and providing everyone with the chance to receive these bonuses, you are ultimately encouraging employees to work harder to receive these benefits.

 

Ultimately, transparency provides your employees with a clear and happy path to success, allowing them to feel valued, supported and involved, whilst ensuring any grievances can be swiftly and effectively handled.

Help your employees beat the January blues

Most people agree January is a pretty miserable month. This year, Monday 20th January is Blue Monday – scientifically (or not as the case may be!) the most depressing day of 2020. But in all seriousness, business should recognise the risks associated with not managing employees health and well-being effectively. We’re sharing our thoughts about three subjects that contribute to stress in the workplace and have a negative impact on the well-being of your staff.

MINIMISE STRESS THROUGH A HEALTHY WORKPLACE CULTURE

It’s no surprise that stress is the number one cause of long-term absence. According to HSE statistics, in 2018/19 there were 0.6 million new or long-standing reported cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the UK.  In 2018/19,  12.8 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

Pressures and stresses can come from both work and home. At work there are often heavy workloads and long working hours, while at home there can be financial stresses, lifestyle pressures and general family concerns, all of which have an impact on the way people feel and act at work.

Employers should consider the mental, as well as physical, wellbeing of their employees, focusing on prevention rather than reacting to some of the possible outcomes such as high staff turnover, high absenteeism rates and the associated business costs with both of these.

The introduction of flexible working or flexi-time can help employees deal with stress by allowing them to balance their work and personal lives more effectively and reducing the need to take time off. Businesses should also ensure managers at all levels of an organisation are supportive and empathic. Awareness, encouragement and recognition are important, as feeling valued and appreciated provides a key extrinsic motivator which can have a positive impact on a person’s well-being.

Visit the HSE website for more information about dealing with workplace stress: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/

LIMIT OUT OF HOURS COMMUNICATIONS

Just about everyone is contactable all of the time these days. Often it’s hard to ignore those emails and messages when they come in, even if it can wait until Monday morning. As an employer or manager, it might be worth taking a moment to think about how sending emails out of hours might affect the recipient and put them under unnecessary pressure. If you don’t require an immediate response but just want to tick it off your ‘things to do’ list, consider setting up a time delay or create a draft to send early the next working day instead.

DISCOURAGE PRESENTEEISM

Presenteeism, where employees continue to come into work when they are unwell, can be a big issue for employers. A member of staff who is not fully fit enough to engage at work may be physically present but will not be making a proper contribution to the business, impacting not only the quality and quantity of the work they produce but affecting the overall working atmosphere, including for the people around them.

‘Presenteeism’, or people coming into work when they are ill, has more than tripled since 2010, according to the latest CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Wellbeing Survey. The survey reports that 86% of over 1,000 respondents said they had observed presenteeism in their organisation over the preceeding 12 months, compared with 72% in 2016 and just 26% in 2010. Having unhealthy people at work could create a vicious cycle, with more employees falling ill after catching a cold or illness from sick colleagues.

Presenteeism is more likely to occur there is a culture of working long hours and where the demands of the business take priority over employee wellbeing. Employers should take action to make sure that the culture of the business supports employees as recognising the importance of healthy, happy staff will lead to business performance improvement across the board.

Do something about the wellbeing of employees in your organisation…

INSPIRING provide a range of support for organisations looking to improve their Health and Wellbeing culture, including Employee Surveys, Leadership and Management Development and consultancy services to help implement BS 76000 – Valuing People standard.

The effects of poor communication on your organisation

We all know that communication is the cornerstone to any successful business; it is the glue which holds it together.

An organisation can be a very challenging place to create effective communication, with many having multiple teams, people with different cultures and managers with differing views on communication. More often than ever, teams and team members are working remotely through the use of technology meaning that effective face to face communication is limited and a heavy reliance on email is required.

Effective communication should start from the top down, with the senior management team setting in play a system whereby clear and efficient communication is at the core. A breakdown in communication manifests itself in several negative ways.

Goals

Setting achievable targets or goals is crucial. If the communication of your people’s goals is not clearly explained to them, how are they expected to achieve them? Ineffective communication is common reason why goals are not being met. When people are aware of what they are required to do and the potential rewards this helps to motivate and engage them to work to their best ability, whilst focusing their energy in the right direction. It’s not only individual goals which this applies to; not communicating organisation-wide aims and objectives will results in the business as a whole being unable to effectively accomplish its targets.

Errors

In many cases, mistakes made by employees are not as a result of them deliberately doing something wrong, but in fact is a result of a misunderstanding of their task. This is another example of how poor communication can negatively affect performance. Instructions, processes or  guidelines must be clear and specific, whether delivered in writing or verbally. Employees should always feel that they are able to have open communication with their managers if they do not understand something so that errors can be avoided.

Unhappy Clients

Bad communication can result in deadlines being missed. For example, assurances that your clients have been given by your sales team not being realised due to communication breakdowns between supporting teams. If there is bad communication between the different departments within an organisation, it often affects both the organisation and its customers. Clients want smooth and efficient business dealings, therefore if an organisation has to repeatedly ask them similar questions, or they are not able to fulfil what was agreed upon, the relationship will inevitably suffer. This will impact the bottom line, with clients looking to take their future business elsewhere and, in some cases, legal action can be taken for not fulfilling an obligation. It does not take long for word to spread about bad practises within an industry, resulting in loss of reputation and future earnings.

Poor Relationships

Strong relationships that have been built up over a period of time can be ruined by poor communication. A manager that, instead of asking why a project has been delayed, expresses themselves in such a way as to accuse their team of not fulfilling their roles will immediately cause a negative impact on working relationships. This cause result in creating a sense of hostility or fear when those individuals are around their manager, causing tension within the team. This is not a conducive environment for good productivity. Employees should always feel they are valued and understood. Anything that potentially closes off avenues to open dialog should be discouraged at all costs.

 

These are just some of the consequences of poor communication within an organisation. Bad communication will not only impact the organisation internally, but it spreads externally to effect clients too. Good communication skills should be a priority, starting with management and cascading throughout the organisation. Avoiding bad communication can be as simple as being open and honest with all people within the organisation, as well as being clear when communicating goals or targets. Good communication skills are something that, when invested in, can increase productivity, improve moral within the organisation and create competitive advantage.

Why Linkedin is now the best place for recruitment

The recruitment world is changing. We are connected like never before, with online platforms able to bring us instant recruitment posts as soon as a job goes live - with professional networks, groups and connections all communicating across various social media platforms. LinkedIn is increasing in popularity as both a job posting and referral site.

Posting a vacancy on a job board can be a complicated business. Big traffic recruitment sites get a high volume of applicants, but these applicants are not always of suitable experience, training, or qualifications. When you need to fill a specialised role, you also look to recommendations from businesses that you work with. A candidate that comes recommended can hugely simplify your process of employment. Particularly if you work in a specialised industry, finding a candidate as unique as your job requirements may involve specialist help.

That’s why your employee recruitment strategy should focus on LinkedIn. This is not to say that you should remove job boards from your recruitment strategy; finding new talent is one of the best ways to grow your business. LinkedIn offers the ability to easily find other professionals in your field. Here are our favourite ways for taking advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer:

  • Build a constructive network for your company online and you will find that recruiting a suitable candidate becomes far easier, as your job posts are seen and engaged with.
  • Stay in touch (and on good terms) with anyone who has worked for you or with you in the past. They will have other contacts in the industry, so even if they don’t work with you again, they may know someone who would be perfect for your role.
  • Actively use LinkedIn. Respond to other company or individual queries and raise your profile.
  • Make use of groups dedicated to your industry. Primarily these will be discussion based, but it will again raise your profile.
  • Use InMail. You can send requests to contacts and acquaintances for recommendations for your role.
  • Actual job listings. LinkedIn offers paid job boards for employers, where job seekers can search for free.  Encourage your network to share this listing. It will also be boosted to any LinkedIn members who are registered as seeking employment in that field.
  • Target both active and passive candidates. You can contact those who are seeking employment, but LinkedIn also works for headhunters. Advanced searches can help you identify potential candidates who you can InMail.

LinkedIn is ideal for building strategic relationships. As with networking, LinkedIn allows you to introduce yourself to other business professionals in your field and discover new candidates who may previously have inaccessible, or unavailable for work. It also builds your profile within the community, meaning when you do reach out to a potential candidate they are more likely to recognise and reciprocate interest.

Team up with INSPIRING

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Why people choose to leave your business

Understanding why people leave your business and having the strategies in place to deal with issues effectively is crucial if you want to retain your best employees. We're looking at the most common reasons why people choose to move on and how you can ensure your organisation is a place where people can see themselves working long term.

The culture within your organisation impacts on the happiness and satisfaction of your employees. It also strengthens, or weakens, employee retention and affects how your business attracts new talent. We’ve given three factors that have a huge impact on employee retention rates and suggested how practices in these areas can be improved.

LACK OF MANAGER SUPPORT

Unsupportive managers are a key reason for people leaving. It’s a common saying that people leave their manager, not their job.

The skills and behaviours required for leaders and managers are different. An inspiring leader has a clear and compelling vision for the organisation, engaging their team and encouraging increased productivity. An Inspiring Manager will be able to set objectives and communicate effectively to their team, helping them to work together and achieve their goals.

John Telfer, Managing Director of Inspiring says “Many businesses experience the problem of Accidental Managers: people who are promoted to management positions due to their technical skills, but who don’t have the people skills to manage a team effectively.”

Honesty and openness from managers is key to effective people management. Managers should communicate with their teams regularly regarding action plans and progress against them; operational activities and milestones. Make sure all managers are arranging regular, documented team meetings or one to ones to ensure that everyone is being given the opportunity to give and receive feedback or express any concerns.

NOT FEELING VALUED

Employees will leave if they are disengaged and don’t feel appreciated. Reward and recognition isn’t always about money. Of course, everyone would like to get paid more for what they do, but other important factors for job satisfaction include opportunities to:

  • grow and learn new skills;
  • to progress their career;
  • to work on challenging and stimulating projects;
  • to feel that they are an important a part of the overall business; and
  • to be acknowledged and praised for their efforts.

People can change the culture of an organisation by recognising each other’s contribution.  Employees who take the time to acknowledge and praise other employees for their good work will often find their praise is returned.  Why not ask for suggestions from your team for new ways to celebrate success?

LIMITED CAREER PROSPECTS

You will have a better chance of holding on to your employees if you have plans in place for talent management, succession planning and learning and development. Spotting employees with leadership potential and helping them to develop their skills and behaviours will reap big rewards for both the individual and your organisation. Have a look at our article ‘How to identify future leaders in your organisation’ for more about this.

Taking the time to talk to people and find out the areas that they want and need to develop will not only assist you in planning effective training development programs, but also shows that you value your people by making an effort to create the best learning environment for them.

It may be that opportunities are limited for climbing the promotional ladder, in which case you could implement a mentoring programme to help retain your best people and demonstrate that your organisation is investing in their career.

 

Team up with INSPIRING…

The best way to find out why people choose to leave your organisation is to ask them! Conducting Exit Surveys will help you understand why employees leave, enabling you to identify any problem areas. INSPIRING’s bespoke exit surveys, with reports tailored to your business, will help you to understand and reduce staff turnover.

Want more sales? Have happy employees

An unhappy workforce is something your customers will pick up on and will undoubtedly impact your sales. In addition, unhappy employees usually unproductive employees. It’s therefore crucial to dedicate resources to ensuring your employees are happy in their work.

Happy, productive employees

There’s plenty of evidence around relating to the link between employee engagement and productivity. A study from the University of Warwick suggested that happy employees were 12% more productive. The research was carried out by Professor Andrew Oswald, Dr Eugenio Proto and Dr Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. Professor Oswald said: “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37%, they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.” Dr Sgroi added: “The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.”

Happiness and your bottom line

When it comes to the impact of employee happiness on sales, research by the Hay Group found that organisations scoring within the top 25% for employee engagement achieve 2.5 times the revenue growth of organisations in the bottom 25%. The Hay Group reported more evidence of the positive impact of employee engagement, finding that high engagement levels can reduce employee turnover by 4%, which reduces recruitment costs. It also found a direct link between employee engagement and customer satisfaction, suggesting that employees who are happy at work will often go the extra mile when it comes to customer service (backing up the theory behind the title of this blog!).

Valuing your people

The key to employee happiness is balancing the value that you place on your employees with the value that they get out of working for your organisation. If your business plan includes a strategy for valuing people and ensuring the happiness of employees, the benefits could be huge. For example, more ideas, greater commitment, improved customer service and, ultimately, better productivity that will help to gain a competitive advantage.

If working for your organisation creates a valuable experience for your employees, they are more likely to remain loyal and put in extra effort.  The result of that extra effort is an employee whose value to your organisation far outweighs their cost.

This may sound like the holy grail of employee relations, but it really doesn’t require complex or expensive investment in new ways of working. What it does rely on is wholehearted support from your senior leadership team, through their vision, leadership and communication.

Team up with INSPIRING

INSPIRING provides valuable, practical advice for organisations who want to improve employee engagement or look more generally at achieving performance improvements. Take a look at our employee surveys, leadership programmes or find out more about BS 76000 – the British Standard for Valuing People. Get in touch using the form on the left, email us or call us free on 0800 612 3098.

Employee Engagement Surveys: using benchmarking to compare your results with other organisations

We’re often asked by our clients how their scores compare to other organisations that we have provided employee surveys for. We’ve been using our own ‘engagement index’ for 13 years now, so we’re sharing some of this insight and looking at some other benchmarking resources that might help you determine how you match up to other organisations.

Providing benchmark scores

As all of the surveys that we conduct for our clients are designed specifically for their own organisation, it would be impossible (and unethical!) to compare scores between surveys to determine if one organisation is ‘better’ than another. However, many organisations do want the ability to be able to rate themselves against similar organisations.  External benchmarking resources can be particularly useful when referring to results which indicate levels of employee engagement, as this has been proven to have a significant impact on employee, and in turn, organisational performance. Back in 2003, Towers Perrin (now WillisTowersWatson) identified the items that define employee engagement:

  • Emotional Items – to determine an employee’s personal satisfaction and the sense of inspiration and affirmation they get from their work and being part of an organisation
  • Rational Items – relating to the relationship between the employee and the broader organisation.

A set of questions were included in the Towers Perrin 2003 Talent Report and subsequently in their 2005 Global Workforce Study to determine employee engagement levels in line with the above items. Inspiring have drawn on this set of questions to create our own ‘engagement index’ and have used these when designing employee engagement surveys for many of our clients, ever since we began providing employee surveys 13 years ago.

Of course, the headings and questions have changed somewhat in more recent Global Workforce Studies (find out more about the 2016 study on the WillisTowersWatson website), however for Inspiring, using our original set of questions as a constant has allowed us to monitor ‘engagement index’ scores over the past 13 years and provide a benchmark for our clients to measure their own results against.

In the majority of our surveys, we use uniform distribution to calculate a percentage figure that reflects the positivity score of each question. From within our engagement index, here are the questions that have resulted in the highest and lowest average scores (as of 30th June 2017) for surveys undertaken since January 2014:

  • I care about the future of XYZ: 84%
  • I would recommend XYZ as a great place to work: 71%

These scores, along with those from our other engagement index questions, provide a useful reference to help organisations put their own results into context, as well as give an indication of what can be achieved by having an effective employee engagement strategy. For those organisations who have undertaken repeat surveys with us, it’s usual for their scores to improve year on year across the engagement index, especially when they have developed and implemented an action plan following their survey feedback. Our engagement index average scores are of course changing all the time as we conduct more surveys in which these questions are included – in fact, over the past 12 months the average overall engagement index score has increased by 0.5%.

Identifying the reasons for high or low survey scores

Having conducted hundreds of surveys over the years, we’ve had the benefit of gaining insight into the trends which affect employee engagement levels within organisations. Here are some of the factors that we’ve found to have had the greatest effect on employee engagement scores:

Higher levels of employee engagement

  • Being people-focused
  • Good communications
  • Opportunities for training, learning and personal development
  • Strong leadership
  • Culture of trust and empowerment.
  • Good work-life balance

Lower levels of employee engagement

  • Lack of communication
  • Organisational Change
  • Workload / staff shortages
  • Poor leadership and direction
  • Lack of respect or concern for non-managerial staff

The effect of pay on employee engagement

Although pay and benefits do not feature in our engagement index questions, perhaps unsurprisingly, research conducted by other organisations suggests that this is a major factor in employee engagement. In the XpertHR Employee Engagement Survey 2015, Pay ranked highest as the most substantial influence on employee engagement, cited by 37.1% of respondents. In addition, an HBR study, published in Human Resource Management Journal earlier this year, showed that performance-related pay was positively associated with job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and trust in management.

Useful Resources

Benchmarking is often confusing, as there are so many surveys and reports out there to consider. If you’re looking for some free resources to help benchmark your organisation externally here are three places which might provide some useful statistics:

The CIPD’s Spring Outlook provides findings from their latest survey and it’s free to download.

The Global Workforce Study conducted by WillisTowersWatson mentioned earlier in our blog is also an interesting read for anyone concerned with employee engagement.

XpertHR offers a free HR benchmark tool to help you find out how your organisation compares on key HR and employment benchmarks.

Team up with Inspiring…

Find out more about our employee surveys on our website. If you are considering undertaking an employee engagement survey and would like more information about our services or would like to chat to one of our team about benchmarking, get in touch on 0800 612 3098 or email us at info@inspiring.uk.com.