Seminar Report -- Strategy implementation with Employee Opinion Surveys
Last Friday morning I attended a very interesting seminar about Employee Opinion Surveys, organized by the Swedish company 3S.
Like everybody else, in my professional background I had previously encountered examples of this kind of survey and I had my own opinion about them: often useless.
But in less than one hour, 3S General Manager Johan Carlsson and his team explained their method that is much more elaborate and I think more effective than anything I have experienced before.
They start from the assumption that every company has its particular goals, and the strategy for reaching them often depends on the attitudes and behaviour of the employees. They showed scientific proof and cases explaining the strong connection between employee attitudes and financial result.
3S begins the relationship with the customer by asking about their current situation, where they are, what they are doing and where they want to be in 3-5 years. Usually the customer has clear financial and quantitative objectives, and a clear strategy of how to reach them. They have exact knowledge about the financial situation such as margin, profitability and turnover, but often limited knowledge about the status of strategic activities and factors concerning the people in the organisation – the same factors that should ensure that the company successfully reaches its objectives. This is where 3S focuses on delivering valuable and useful facts for companies to quicker and more effectively implement their strategies.
In the survey process, they always start by looking into how a client should use the results, by whom it should be used and what is needed to reach the desired effect and use. They focus on the planning phase to ensure they create a survey with high quality and return on investment through concrete actions and use. The easier part is to send out the questionnaire and collect responses.
I also liked the way 3S shows the results. In fact they ask the employees to score the different parameters in the questionnaire in two ways: Value and Importance. That simple distinction allows 3S to show the results in a cross matrix that is much more useful in order to draw useful and valid conclusions.
Finally, when they present the results they do that first to the CEO and the HR Director. They want them to be prepared and to adapt the next presentation to the management team, so they have maximum effect on them.
It's thanks to the 3S people that I now understand the importance of an Employee Opinion Survey, the differences compared to a basic Climate Burvey and the way to make it into a tool that helps the company and its managers to implement their strategy.
Josep M. Ros
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