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.

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 Importance of Evaluation in Leadership Development (and how to do it effectively)

In most cases, evaluation is usually carried out towards the end of a process. We do this because want to examine if what we did or experienced went well, where it struggled and what could be done differently next time. But what if this is actually the wrong way to carry out Leadership Evaluation?

Leadership Evaluation should be a continuous process for it to become truly effective. The key here is to have more chances to reflect on the whole process, not just at the end. This allows you to adjust things as and when you need to and not wait until the end of the process to find out if you achieved everything you set out to.

Continuous Leadership Evaluation

When developing your leadership skills, it can be very easy to fall prey to not allowing enough time for effective evaluation. If you do not take stock of how close you are to progressing towards your objectives, you will not be able to identify what you have achieved and where further growth is required.

Whilst working towards improving your own leadership skills, it is imperative to evaluate and fine-tune. Continuous evaluation allows you to do this by looking at new skills you have learnt and assessing what needs additional work, enabling you to use this to lead future actions. By being honest with yourself about how your journey is advancing, you can accurately track your progression and use evaluation as a tool for improvement. Be objective and evaluate fairly both your successes and weaknesses and use your findings to build upon your areas of strength and target your weaknesses.

Methods of Evaluation

Journals and Logs

These are the most efficient methods of examining where you have moved forward against your objectives whilst also helping you reflect on what has already been accomplished. The main benefit of keeping a journal is that it is structured, so you can note down exactly what has happened as it happened. You may find it difficult to accurately note an activity you have put into your journal but there are ways in which you can stay on task. When struggling to document your feelings use the following for help:

  • How do I feel?
  • Has my attitude changed?
  • What was the reaction of my colleagues?

The way you decide to create your own journal will depend on whatever you find to be most effective for you. However, key things to note down are:

  • Feedback from colleagues or clients and your own thoughts about them
  • Specific incidents and examining how you reacted to them
  • How you were able to work within a specific team

Self-Reflection

As you will already know, the act of reflection is looking back on learning, events or even actions and from this trying to draw lessons. Self-reflection is an important strategy when it comes to evaluation as you can look back on your areas of weakness and identify what you would like to improve on yourself, without any outside influence. By reflecting, you can:

  • Examine where you have weakness and what you can do to improve before the next time that situation arises.
  • Examine what methods of learning have best suited you and build future learning around them.
  • Scrutinise where your strengths lie and how you can use this knowledge in future.

Feedback

Any worthwhile evaluation contains at least some elements of feedback. Feedback can be from almost any source that is clear, honest and specific, e.g. analytical tools, colleagues or appraisals. Asking an individual for feedback can seem daunting, but it is essential for you to stay emotionally detached and take everything they are saying positively and not personally. Asking for feedback from someone in an unstructured way could potentially mean important feedback could be wasted, therefore consider asking for the following information:

  • Specific strengths that you exhibit
  • Specific areas in which you can be more efficient or effective
  • Specific situations in which you could have acted differently

Whilst feedback can be given by anyone, it is important that you identify a suitable source, relevant to you or the situation. You should look to be selective about who you ask and consider whether their feedback has merits. Before deciding, ask yourself:

  • Is feedback being given by someone that has experience?
  • Is there evidence to support their feedback?
  • Is their feedback verifiable?

Evaluation Infographic

 

Why being consistent is so important when it comes to people management

You know the importance of having a leadership team that is able to encourage and engage employees. But with different leaders having different strengths, weaknesses, behaviours and personalities, how do you achieve consistency across your organisation and help maintain a positive perception of ‘The Management’ amongst staff?

From the employee surveys that we conduct for our clients, the text questions always make for an interesting read. So many comments are made about management, in terms of how some managers are either good or bad in different ways. For example, managers who allegedly don’t delegate properly; make seemingly harsh decisions as opposed to those in other teams; or who never give praise, when other people are being given recognition for their efforts on a regular basis.

Of course, not all comments stem from management problems – it can be that some individuals have a more negative perception than others. However, from our experience, having different management styles and inconsistency with how people are managed is often the cause of problems relating to people feeling that they’re being treated unfairly in some way.

Here are a few of our thoughts, based on our experience of working with many different organisations, on how you might go about creating consistency across teams in your workplace.

Communication is key

Honesty and openness from managers will help renew common purpose across your organisation. Managers should communicate with their teams regularly regarding plans and progress; operational activities and milestones. Staff should be invited to ask, comment and suggest on a regular basis. Make sure all managers are arranging regular, documented team meetings or one to ones to ensure that everyone is being given this opportunity.

Create opportunities for new and shared experiences

Giving employees the opportunity to shadow a colleague in a different department, or to participate in a cross-departmental team of some kind, can give them new perspectives whilst helping them to contribute more to the company. Managers can use the exercise to expand their own thinking as well as that of the individuals involved. All in all, it’s a simple cost effective way of sharing experience and creating cross-team understanding. It may also lead to new opportunities for employees, helping to spot and unlock potential.

Show your appreciation

Showing appreciation to your team by simply saying Thank You goes a long way. By saying those two small words, your managers are demonstrating that they understand what is happening in their teams. Thanking staff and giving honest recognition for their work achievements can help them to feel appreciated and enhance their job satisfaction. As Bart Cleveland wrote for Ad Age, “Sure, it is an employee’s job to do their best. But ask yourself, would you give even more if you knew you were appreciated?”

Establish Accountability

When accountability goes out the window, so does an effective workforce. General people management practices should be implemented company-wide, ensuring each employee will be held to the same standards of conduct. Inconsistency in how your managers deal with everyday situations sends mixed signals to employees. For example, if one employee constantly arrives late and their manager turns a blind eye, but another shows up late and is given a warning, your people will see the injustice and determine that there is no structure of accountability within your organisation. This is a sure-fire way of sparking resentment between teams and individuals and fuelling peoples’ perception of unfair treatment.

Team up with Inspiring

INSPIRING Business Performance provides practical advice, business information tools and training programmes for organisations who want to improve employee engagement, develop their leaders and managers or gain accreditation against standards such as BSI’s BS 76000 standard for Valuing People.

We are also a Chartered Management Institute approved training centre offering leadership and management development programmes with the option of CMI qualifications at various levels.

If you would like to speak to us about how to go about improving your organisation from a people aspect, call us on 0800 612 3098 or get in touch using the enquiry form on the left. We would be happy arrange for one of our consultants to meet up with you for an informal chat.

How to Identify Employee Underperformance and Improve Performance Management

The people within an organisation are the most valuable resource that it possesses. However, there may come a time when their performance begins to slip, and it is up to the leaders and managers within the organisation to identify this and rectify it through effective performance management.

Firstly, managers need to know how to recognise underperformance, then know how to approach the employee and discuss their concerns in a constructive way. This can be a daunting process especially if the manager lacks experience in dealing with conflict. Nevertheless, performance management is a key aspect of a manager’s role and therefore addressing issues concerning underperformance will most likely be something every manager has to do at some time.

Identifying Employee Underperformance

Underperformance is the inability to meet the standards expected within the organisation. At this point it’s important to note that the employee should be clear about what is expected of them in terms of their performance, through personal or company objectives, personal development plans, codes of conduct or any other performance measurement tool. It is important to make the distinction between poor performance and misconduct. Misconduct can be categorised as ‘non-compliance with rules and procedures or unacceptable behaviour’. This is very different to that of underperformance. Below is a list of issues that may indicate that an employee is underperforming:

  • Increased number of complaints from either customers or other colleagues
  • Targets or objectives not met
  • Poor quality in the work completed
  • Missing deadlines

As a manager you should be able to identify any changes with the employee. It maybe that you notice something about them that could indicate there are issues with their performance. Such as:

  • Absenteeism or persistently being late
  • Low motivation or unengaged
  • Higher stress levels than normal
  • Their standard of work drops

Reasons for Poor Employee Performance

After identifying that an employee is underperforming, and to begin the process of performance management the manager must understand what the causes could be for underperforming:

  • Are the expectations on the employee clear? As mentioned before, clarity of objectives is vital and a common reason for underperforming is that the employee is unaware of what their goals or standards are – or indeed what are the consequences of not meeting them are.
  • The employee may not have the required capabilities to carry out their functions. The employee may struggle with knowledge or skills expected of them in their role.
  • There is no feedback for the employee to understand how their performance is viewed by their manager.
  • There is a lack of motivation.
  • There are problems with other members of staff.
  • The employee has issues outside of work that they are dealing with, such as family issues or health problems.

Performance Management

Once the underperformance issue has been approached and the reasons identified, the manager can concentrate on performance management.

Many employees are often not aware that their performance is not up to the required standards and therefore they will be unable to correct it without being informed. That is why it is so important for managers to have regular feedback meetings so that they can performance manage at every opportunity. If these issues are not addressed in a timely manner they have the potential to become more serious if they are allowed to develop. By not performance managing an individual it could have knock on effects on the whole organisation and start to affect productivity.

The way to effectively performance manage an employee comes in three steps.

  1. Create an informal performance action plan that they can work on.
  2. A formal performance action plan is drawn up. Sometimes managers go straight to a formal action plan, this is just down to personal choice. Some managers like to have everything recorded and therefore the formal action plan suits their style better.
  3. If there is still no improvement it is time to look at disciplinary action.

3 steps of performance management in more detail

Informal Performance Action Plan

The informal action plan takes in a feedback meeting in a one to one setting. Within this meeting the manager will explain to them what is needed of them in their role, they will give feedback on where they are doing well and the areas that need to be addressed. It is at this point that the employee is clear about where their current performance is at compared to where it needs to be. After this, both the manager and employee should have an agreed plan to outline where improvements need to be made and when they must see improvement. Within this meeting the manager must be able to offer suggestions as to where they can help them and how other members of staff can also help them improve. There must also be clear consequences if they fail to improve. All the above must be kept in a record so that the manager can look back on what was agreed in this meeting. Then they will be able to assess if the employee has been taking required steps to increase their performance.

Formal Performance Action Plan

When there is a need for a formal performance action plan it shows that the employee needs extra help and support in attaining the level of performance required of them. If this is the case the manager needs to come to the meeting with an action plan that focuses on SMART objectives. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. This means that the action plan will be able to show the employee the specific areas in which they need to improve on and by when. By having SMART objectives, it enables both parties to be on exactly the page when it comes to what needs to be improved and by when. By coming to the meeting with these objectives the manager can go through them with the employee this way they can discuss if they are attainable and realistic for the employee to achieve. The manager should also put forward any extra resources that could help the employee improve such as coaching, training or extra time. It should be stressed at this point that a formal performance action plan is not a disciplinary procedure the manager is simply trying to help the employee achieve the best they can. However, the employee should be told that if their performance has not met the required level in the time they were given further disciplinary action could be taken.

Disciplinary Action

There are only a few options left for a manager that has seen no improvement in performance from an employee even after they have tried to help them with performance management. The last option for them would be to start disciplinary action. Disciplinary action and dismissal would usually follow the following steps:

  • Inform the employee in writing that they are required to attend a formal disciplinary meeting and what the meeting will be regarding, giving them acceptable notice.
  • The employee has the right to be accompanied.
  • Once the meeting has begun inform them again why they have been called to this disciplinary meeting.
  • Give the employee the opportunity to explain their version of events and their feedback to the situation.
  • Use your records to give information regarding the previous informal and formal performance action plans, put forward the evidence of how and when you have given help improve the situation.
  • Explain what action you are going to take and why.
  • Give the employee 5 days to appeal the outcomes.

It is deeply regrettable that the action taken by an organisation would be dismissal of their employee and this should always be the last resort. However, in some cases it is the only option left. U.K employment law appreciates that SMEs are not able to sustain an underperformer within their organisation for a long period and therefore an employee that has less than two years of continuous employment with your organisation is unable to bring unfair dismissal again you in court, unless there is breach of contract or discrimination.

Reflecting on manager performance

At the end of the performance management process regardless of the outcomes it is always a good opportunity for a manager to look back on their own managerial style. They are given the opportunity to reflect on where they think they could have improved their own performance so that they are better able to help future employees in need of performance management.

What is a Learning Culture and why is it important?

One of the best and most efficient ways an organisation of any size can get ahead of its competition is by creating a learning culture.

Working within an SME is all about trying to find that competitive edge. There is a need to continually innovate and be one step ahead of the ‘big boys’. A learning culture, if correctly implemented and carried out effectively, can result in your organisation moving to the next level.

What is a learning culture?

It is important to understand what a learning culture is before trying to implement one.  A learning culture can be achieved by embracing the ethos of learning as a continual process, where it is understood that learning opportunities happen at every stage of an employee’s journey within the organisation. A learning culture needs an agreed set of practices, processes or conventions. The aim of these conventions is to help the people within the organisation learn continuously. All barriers that could potential stop an individual from learning and developing are removed to help create an environment in which learning is at the core.

The differences between a learning culture and training and development

Some may suggest that a learning culture isn’t any different to that of an organisation that provides regular training. However, the subtle differences between a learning environment and that of an organisation that simply focuses on training can result in large changes to the whole organisation. A few examples of the differences are below:

Who leads the training or learning

Within a training environment a specific trainer will come into the organisation and train the employees in a specific area. However, within a learning environment the learning is lead by the individual employee. The employee should be able to understand the areas in which they need to improve or receive coaching and therefore they lead their learning.

How and when learning takes place

Within a training culture the emphasis is on specific workshops or courses which take place at scheduled times throughout the year. However, a learning culture views learning as a continuous effort, for example, through coaching, mentoring and social interaction.

The ‘carrot’ or the ‘stick’

In many organisations, training acts as the ‘stick’, occurring as a result of employees not meeting required outcomes through lack of skills or knowledge. Training in this context is seen similarly to punishment. Within a learning culture the learning is not a result of poor performance but a ‘carrot’ to encourage personal development through a continuous process.

Knowledge sharing

The training culture is often centred around isolation. Different departments are often kept away from one another. This results in some knowledge being warehoused by one department and depriving others of what could be valuable information. However, within a learning culture the emphasis is on collaborative learning. Ideas are shared, not just with other employees but across areas or departments to the benefit of the whole organisation.

What are the benefits of implementing a Learning Culture?

  1. Increased efficiency and productivity
  2. Increased employee engagement resulting in decreased employee turnover
  3. The organisation and its people are better able to react to change
  4. There is an increase in innovation
  5. Increased problem-solving ability within the organisation

How to create a learning environment

There are a few different tactics a manager can implement within their organisation to help it to develop a learning culture:

  • The first step is for the leader(s) of the organisation to commit to the ethos that learning is a continuous process and not one that can be set for a specific time. Therefore, they should treat learning as a resource to be used. This is the mindset needed before starting to create a learning environment.
  • The next step is to introduce the aspects of coaching and mentoring to senior management roles, setting out a plan to coach and mentor the employees that report to them. Some managers may need development themselves in these skills, which only highlights the importance of the learning environment from top to bottom.
  • The employee should then be encouraged to create their own personal development plan to ensure their learning and development needs are noted, understood and followed through. If an organisation is committed to developing a learning culture it must be mandatory for employees to create these plans.
  • It is imperative that once a new skill has been learnt that the organisation recognises and celebrates the achievement, for example, when an employee successfully masters a skill they were being coached on. It does not matter how they have learnt but what matters is that learning is celebrated and rewarded.
  • Regular feedback within a learning culture is very important. There are two main areas of feedback that are vital for the creation of a learning environment. Firstly, feedback from the manager to the employee that they directly manage, where the manager can suggest areas of their work which they could benefit from developing and improving on. Secondly, when the employee has begun to work on identified development areas, the employee should give feedback on whether the specific method of learning they are doing is helping them. This will help the manager be better informed for future development through the identification of preferred learning styles. In addition, the employee should give feedback on what, if anything, they have gained from the learning activity. This needs to be constantly assessed as to whether the investment in learning is worthwhile to both the employee and the organisation.
  • Developing blended learning methods. Not all employees learn in the same manner, some learn best in training courses, others prefer a hands-on approach, whereas other may prefer to learn by being coached. Read our blog about alternatives to training courses.

Are Traditional training courses still needed with a learning environment?

There is always going to be a need for training courses in the traditional sense. Training courses have improved and changed over the years and can often be extremely beneficial. Training courses are sometimes the best methods in which specific learning can take place. Within a learning culture, training courses are one of many tools to be utilised without becoming the main focus of the organisation’s learning and development plan.

10 Alternatives to Training Courses for SMEs

With the business world being as competitive as it is, employers are discovering that the main thing that can help differentiate them is their people. Developing, or ‘up-skilling’, employees is now more important than ever. Gone are the days where training courses focused upon just the necessities and regulations of the job role; we are now seeing more forward-thinking employers who are looking to uncover talent within their people which, in time, will give them the advantage over their competitors.

We know that making sure your employees are up to speed with what is required of them is vital, so training in that respect will always be a necessity. However, with some training courses coming in at a high cost, SMEs could find it hard to find the budget for broader training and development, often having to weigh up the cost of training courses against other necessities in their annual budget.

With this in mind, we’ve put together some alternatives to training courses that SMEs could investigate that might help implement learning and development and nurture talent at a lower cost.

Coaching

This is effective if the employee has a specific objective or area of development that they need to target.

Mentoring

An effective technique when there is already an individual within the organisation with the expertise to develop potential. This enables transfer of knowledge and ways of working.

Shadowing

A great way of helping an employee explore different aspects of the business. It is beneficial to watch someone else demonstrating what is required of them, then reflecting on what they have learned. They can then discover the effectiveness of their ways of working and even make suggestions for improvements, which could be mutually beneficial. This could be a reciprocal arrangement whereby one colleague shadows another in turn, allowing for feedback on both.

Expanding Roles

By expanding an employee’s current role, they are likely to develop longer term aspirations and invest more into the organisation. Also, they will come to realise what areas they need to improve in and, given the opportunity and with support, can start to address these.

Project Roles

Putting an individual forward for different project roles helps to broaden their perspective, whilst encouraging interaction with new areas of the business can aid their development. It may even result in hidden skills being identified.

Practical Learning

If an individual has been given a new task or responsibility, they may be able to learn on the job providing they are properly supported. It is important however that they have the confidence to ask managers and colleagues for support and advice whilst they are learning.

Distance and E-Learning

There are specific college and online courses, some of which are free, where the individual learns in their own time and at their own pace. These can include accredited courses, which build towards a qualification.

Volunteering

Giving employees the opportunity and time off to volunteer may help to develop existing skills and learn new ones. Volunteering could help people build their confidence, as it is a less pressurised environment. It may also lead to networking opportunities.

Blended Learning

This is where the focus is not on one development area but a variety. By using Blended Learning, it gives the employee a mixture of different activities to develop many skills over a short space of time.

Media

There is a wealth of information available on platforms such as YouTube and watching specific programmes can help gain useful knowledge.

Books and publications

In the modern world there is a neglect of written texts. These books and other resources hold a valuable knowledge and theories that can help employees develop. However, for convenience and accessibility, there are often PDF copies of these resources available.

Other Notables

Membership of professional bodies, work placements, sabbaticals, sideways moves and job swaps.

 

People development will always be needed if SMEs are to stay ahead of their competition. But we also know that funding for all these development activities is often limited, therefore thinking outside the box and using alternative methods of learning and development are definitely worth looking into.

Satisfied staff equals satisfied customers equals business growth

There has been extensive research over the years that sets out to prove that improving employee satisfaction impacts directly on organisational performance and, ultimately, organisational success. It's certainly true that satisfied staff are likely to result in a satisfied customer base, and satisfied customers directly impact on the bottom line.  

If employees believe that they are and will be supported by the employer, especially  their line manager, in getting what they want out of work, beyond just money, they will respond with positive behaviour – high employee engagement levels. Specific employee engagement practices include:

  • Shared decision-making
  • The opportunity for all people to influence the planning process
  • A robust approach to communicating
  • An open flow of information
  • The development of effective leaders and managers

What’s the impact of Employee Engagement on the bottom line?

Past research has thrown up many different finding in terms of putting the impact of employee engagement into figures. Aon Hewitt’s 2014 Engagement Report examined the link between engagement and its impact on a business’ bottom line, finding that organisations in the top quartile for engagement, where more than 70% of employees are engaged, saw a 4% increase in sales growth compared to an average company. By contrast, sales growth in bottom quartile engagement companies was down 1%.

In  a recent article for Forbes, Kevin Kruse points out the argument that “Maybe employees are just more engaged when their companies are growing, bonuses are big, and stock prices are climbing.”. However, this viewpoint has been investigated in a research paper by Silvan Winkler, Cornelius König and Martin Kleinmann.  New insights into an old debate: Investigating the temporal sequence of commitment and performance at the business unit level  looked at the organisational commitment of 755 retail bank employees from 2005—2008, along with financial performance and customer satisfaction of the business units they worked in. The study provides insight into the relationship between job attitude and job performance, finding that while the impact of business performance on attitudes diminishes after 1 year, the impact of employee attitudes on business performance lasts much longer, in fact up to 3 years.

Organisations that place effective employee engagement at the heart of their business strategy will be rewarded with greater levels of innovation; increased commitment from employees; improved customer satisfaction and, ultimately, better productivity that will help gain competitive advantage. It does not require complex or expensive investment in new ways of working but it does need wholehearted support from senior managers through their leadership and strategic vision, and the active buy-in of effective line managers.

INSPIRING Business Performance provides valuable, practical advice for organisations who want to improve employee engagement or look more generally at achieving performance improvements.

 

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.

Develop talent within your team to plug your skills gaps

Competition is immense when it comes to attracting candidates with the best qualifications and skills. So with the cost of recruitment rising all the time, coupled with the on-going skills shortage issues in the UK, there’s never been a better time to spot and nurture talent from within your existing workforce.

According to the CBI/Pertemps Network Group Employment Trends Survey from December 2016, the outlook for 2017 is positive, with expectations for further increases in people finding employment, particularly on a permanent basis. However, there are continuing issues in the UK regarding lack of leadership skills and talent management. In the report, Carmen Watson, Managing Director and Chair of Pertemps Network Group, comments “The survey results show very little sign of the skills shortage easing, and employers are increasingly concerned about where they will find the future talent essential to fill crucial roles.”

The CIPD’s 2015 Resourcing and Talent Planning survey (in partnership with Hays) found that only half of CEOs have talent management as a key priority. The survey also found that skill shortages are escalating, with over four-fifths of respondents believing that competition for talent has increased.

John Telfer, Managing Director of Inspiring comments: “Recruitment can be an expensive business, not just financially, but also in regards to time. The right talent management system will help you understand which skills you need to look out for, and reduce the costs involved with staff turnover.”

Using a tool such as Inspiring’s Leadership Framework can highlight skill gaps in up and coming managers, help to identify suitable mentors and spot employees with the potential for internal promotion.

Offering training that fills these skills gaps is a good way to help your staff develop. This could be done formally through an external training provider or informally through work-shadowing or internal coaching on specific skills and leadership competencies.

John Telfer added: “The people within your organisation are what makes your business. Choosing to focus on your workforce and ensuring you can keep hold of talent will help your business to achieve its goals and drive success”.

TEAM UP WITH INSPIRING!

Read more about the Inspiring Leadership Framework and our CMI Leadership and Development Programmes.
Call us on 0800 612 3098, email info@inspiring.uk.com or get in touch using the enquiry form on the left.