As we begin to look to 2019 it is very important that we learn from the past so that the business decisions we make in the future are based upon facts and a coordinated strategy. We all know that 2018 has been a challenging year. Some of us experienced difficulty in finding quality talent to fill open positions, higher than expected turnover, a stronger focus on expense management and the reevaluation of organizational objectives all have led to greater stress on the job. Preserving our company’s competitive edge by retaining our high performers along with the use of HR metrics will allow us to be better positioned for the future.
As a result of technology, the Human Resource profession is becoming more sophisticated by utilizing metrics to examine employee trends in order to better anticipate future challenges and opportunities. When we use HR metrics and evaluate historical patterns we are better able to respond to business challenges. Metrics are a common measurement across all professions and are used as a way to hold people accountable. One key metric that is being used by thousands of HR professionals is the employee survey. The analysis and subsequent data following a survey is a key tool in determining employee satisfaction, engagement and management effectiveness. Understanding and responding to employees’ concerns and questions are important components in ensuring success.
Using normative data is important for our clients as this information serves as a benchmark which allows a company to compare their own mean scores with the client base. Normative scores are updated continuously and, due to the size of our database, we can utilize an 99.9% confidence interval, resulting in a margin of error of + .01. This means that our clients have a high level of confidence in the data they receive. In the past, clients have often requested that we create norms that would provide a benchmark against their industry or region in the country. Today, however, we have begun to see a shift from benchmarking within one's own industry toward benchmarking against other “best places to work”. This is particularly true with regard to benchmarking in the areas of organizational climate, culture, engagement, management and leadership. This review is based on data collected from over 85,000+ working individuals from organizations representing a broad cross-section of industries and regions of the country
For the purpose of this analysis below respondents completed an on-line survey consisting of questions about their jobs, executive leadership, staff development, core values, compensation and benefits and management at their organization. The number of statements from each company ranges from 15 to over 150. The number of respondents from each company ranges from a minimum of 10 to 2,500 plus. Our firm uses the Likert scale from 1.00 to 5.00. The Likert Scale is a scale that equates a numerical value to a level of satisfaction. The scale uses the following range: 1=Strongly Disagree, 2=Disagree, 3=Neutral, 4=Agree, 5=Strongly Agree. For a complete review by functional area as it relates to satisfaction please see the chart below:
In general, employees are satisfied with their jobs. Employees appreciate that management is operating the business efficiently, often under conditions of uncertainty and with limited resources. Employees also believe that the work environment is safe. Human Resources is doing an effective job at partnering with the leadership team in guiding managers and coaching them with respect to ensuring effective employee relations, supporting career progression and the values and vision of the company.
Employee Management Relations
With respect to employee management relations, employees gave this area a satisfaction rating of 3.89. The great majority of employees believe that their manager will listen to their point of view and assist them in growing professionally. In addition, the survey results indicate that management treats and respects all individuals. Diversity is encouraged and has become a part of the corporate culture.
Job satisfaction was another highly-rated area achieving a satisfaction rating of 3.83. A high percentage of employees enjoy the work they do, are challenged and feel a strong sense of accomplishment in their position. They believe that they can make a contribution and want to be a part of making their company successful.
A majority of employees indicated that they feel they have a career with their organization and that they work well as a team. They support their co-workers in their department by sharing information and offering advice. Career Opportunities received a 3.72 satisfaction rating.
The survey responses focusing on the mission, vision and values of the organization received a 3.96. The respondents understand the importance of supporting the strategic mission of their organization.
Opportunities for Improvement
It is anticipated that Human Resources will face tremendous challenges in three key areas in the future. These areas include compensating employees fairly, ensuring that communication flows freely throughout the organization and providing employees with the training necessary to ensure their competency in the future.
Employees rated fair compensation the lowest of all areas surveyed; this area received a satisfaction rating of 3.33. Employees continue to feel the pressure of downsizing and at the same time they feel they are not compensated at a level commensurate with their additional duties and responsibilities. In the future employees will desire additional compensation and/or look for new opportunities.
Communication is an issue for a majority of companies. Effective communication was rated low with a satisfaction rating of 3.42. Employees are requesting more information about the new products and services offered by their company as well as management’s clarification of the organization’s vision and prospects for growth. Employees would also like to have more advance notice of activities occurring at their organization and receive information about changes and strategic decisions that affect them in a timelier manner. Respondents very often do not believe that other departments are keeping them informed about key projects that are under consideration or have been approved. This would suggest that improvement in communication is critical to ensure the success of a company.
Many respondents believe that the learning opportunities at their company have declined over the past several years. A recommitment to learning, along with a more formal training program that will equip employees to successfully carry out the requirements of their present and future job roles will need to be a strong consideration for the future. The survey data suggests that employees believe that as technology changes, and as new management techniques are required, organizations will need to offer additional support to help them meet these new challenges. This is an area of concern for progressive employers.
In conclusion, employers today face extraordinary challenges with respect to managing the business and at the same time meeting the needs of their employees.