December 17th, 2020

Surveys are as much a part of the human resources lifecycle as open enrollment and annual reviews. Unfortunately, so many surveys are little more than checklist exercises that rarely make a difference.

“Organizational surveys are at their best when they provide more insight than just the current state of engagement,” writes Dr. Sarah Johnson on TrainingMag. Yet too many surveys “do little to provide new insights or prompt the organization toward meaning improvements.”

That can be fixed, says Johnson, VP of enterprise surveys and analytics, Perceptyx, with “a few simple changes.”

Her article, “3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Employee Surveys,” explains how HR professionals can create a survey program that is meaningful and makes a positive difference.

Despite the title, Johnson’s suggestions, are not snap-your-fingers simple. They require research to craft a survey that will deliver results that matter, then distilling the data into a presentation that managers will embrace and use to create action plans they will actually implement.

In creating the survey, Johnson says to set aside the usual advice about keeping the survey brief:

“While that may make some sense if all we want to do is collect data to track a metric, it doesn’t do much to create survey impact. Surveys have impact if they collect data on issues that matter to the organization and when they provide insights into critical challenges that lead to problem solving.”

Gather information on the daily challenges managers and employees face, she advises. Review the company strategy and involve senior leaders to discover what information would be of greatest value to them.

Craft your survey based on the company needs.

Once the survey data is gathered, Johnson says it’s critical to make it easy for managers to understand and communicate the results to their employees. She suggests creating a dashboard that describes the key takeaways and findings. Put together a presentation-ready set of results and talking points for the managers.

Then, she says, help them put together an action plan to address the issues. “Encourage managers to adopt a 3-step process to action planning:

  1. Identify 1 issue from the survey results.
  2. Plan 2 actions to address it.
  3. Follow up with the team 3 times to discuss the progress of the action plan.

Her third recommendation for improving the value of surveys is to combine the results with data HR already has in the HR information system. That, says Johnson, provides all the analytical tools you need to develop insights around such HR issues as turnover, productivity and the customer experience.

“Think of your organization’s survey program as not only a valuable tool that helps managers troubleshoot organization challenges and engage with employees to implement improvements, but also as the engine for an HR analytics program.”

Photo by Celpax on Unsplash


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Green Key
Jun 6, 2023

The ‘Radical Reinvention’ of Human Resources

Now is the time for a “radical reinvention of human resources,” declares a report from IBM’s Institute for Business Value.

Businesses are adapting to the rapidly and dramatically changing world, says the report, prefacing the findings and recommendations from a survey of more than 1,500 HR executives from a variety of industries.

How they engage with employees must also change. “Enterprises now must become inherently humanized, build engagement with remote employees, foster trust in uncertain times and cultivate a resilient, diverse workforce capable of facing whatever the future may hold.”

This, says the report, is HR 3.0.

HR thought leader Josh Bersin, who collaborated with IBM on the report, explains what that means in his introduction:

“Traditional HR 1.0 departments focus on compliance, administration, and highly efficient service delivery.

“HR 2.0 teams move toward integrated centers of excellence, and focus on training and empowering business partners to deliver solutions at the point of need.

“HR 3.0, which only 10 percent of companies have achieved, turns HR into an agile consulting organization, one that not only delivers efficient services, but also practices design thinking to push innovative solutions, cognitive tools, and transparency into the organization.”

HR 3.0 - blog.jpg

The report found substantial agreement among the surveyed executives on the key ingredients of HR 3.0, but uncertainty among them about how to evolve their operation. Providing that guidance is the essence of the report.

After studying multiple HR practices, Bersin and IBM identified 10 “Action Areas” drawn from what the most successful companies are doing. “Our analysis has identified ten priority Action Areas critical to the HR 3.0 model. The Action Areas span the breadth of the human resources function, in some cases wholly reinventing traditional people practices.”

These 10 are:

  1. Measure employee performance continuously and transparently
  2. Invest in the new role of leadership
  3. Build and apply capabilities in agile and design thinking
  4. Pay for performance — and skills — in a fair and transparent way
  5. Continuously build skills in the flow of work
  6. Design intentional experiences for employees
  7. Modernize your HR technology portfolio
  8. Apply data-driven insights
  9. Reorient and reskill your HR business partners
  10. Source talent strategically

Though few companies are on the path to 3.0, those that don’t begin to evolve will be left behind.

“Even as leading companies transform their HR model, it’s clear HR 3.0 is not a destination, just a way station. The world is changing too quickly to allow even a hint of complacency,” the report concludes.

“As we continue to face unprecedented opportunities to build better businesses and a much better world, an HR 4.0 will evolve as a model to help us keep doing just that.”

Image by David Mark


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Green Key

CEOs Say Tight Labor and Retaining Talent Are Top Concerns

The possibility of recession, the certainty of intense competition, a tight labor market and global trade and instability, are the top worries of corporate CEOs worldwide.

Only in China, with a population of 1.4 billion, are executives less concerned about the labor market, but even they rank attracting and retaining their best talent as their number one internal worry.

The annual survey of the world’s CEOs by The Conference Board, found unanimous agreement about the outside issues that concern them. Recession, which was at the top of the list of external issues everywhere but the US last year, is now in first place. In Japan, with a rapidly aging and shrinking population and limited immigration, the tight labor market nudged recession fears to second place.

“The ongoing concerns about recession risk among business leaders reflect the slowing economy of the past year and the uncertainties about the outcome of the trade disputes and other policy concerns,” said Bart van Ark, chief economist at The Conference Board.

Of the many internal issues CEOs confront, attracting and retaining their best talent is the leading worry.

“The global challenge in acquiring and retaining talent requires companies to be more strategic – knowing not only what qualities and skills to recruit for, but also how to recruit more efficiently and effectively,” said Rebecca Lea Ray, Ph.D., executive vice president of human capital at The Conference Board.

Two of the other issues among the top five globally are also workforce focused: leadership succession and innovation.

For US leaders developing “Next Gen” leaders is a concern just behind the disruption technology is causing. In other parts of the world, CEOs and the C-suite also consider both among their two or three biggest worries. But in the US, where disruptive technologies are often born, data analytics/data collaboration is a greater concern than elsewhere.

Everywhere, though, creating a more innovative culture is a priority concern.


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Green Key