Case Study Employee Satisfaction

Business Issue

 Employee satisfaction can directly impact turnover, customer satisfaction, efficiency and even safety in the workplace. This case study involves a large company committed to consistency between their stated values, business goals and employee satisfaction.

In this study, twelve departments with two consecutive years at the lowest of three levels of employee satisfaction in the organization were identified.  An external company conducted the survey.  Spiral Impact concepts were implemented. At the end of the year, the departments were re-surveyed by the external company.

Results: Eleven of the twelve departments’ scores moved from the lowest to the highest of three levels of satisfaction (note, one department was one point from reaching the same goal).  The 12th department scores went down, see note top of next page.

Process:

The Spiral Impact engagement taught employees skills to productively engage in conflict and guided them to define their departmental culture within the guidelines of the organization’s standards. As the employees gained self-awareness about their own communication skills,they were then able to engage in dialogue to create an accountability values agreement.  Leadership was coached to give feedback to improve employee performance consistent with their agreement.  A few employees were identified as poor fits for the department, moved out of the department.

Most employees welcomed the opportunity to improve relationships and performance. Leadership is now equipped to keep them engaged and to hire appropriate people in the future.  Spiral Impact provided specific tools and support for them to continue the improvement process.

The philosophy of Spiral Impact is to use less force and more engagement to achieve a solid long-term result.  As employees engage in the process, and expectations are clarified their level of contribution and therefore satisfaction increases.

As resources continue to get tighter, having all team members performing in a healthy productive way frees up energy and creativity to provide excellent service and safety to their stakeholders.   Every employee is accountable.

In this case study, the one outlier, the one department whose scores went down, had a divided reporting structure.  The intention of this engagement was to give employee coping skills.  It was recommended to address the reporting structure to improve employee satisfaction.

Observations

Pre-engagement:

  • A low level of trust and respect between team members was reported for 45-50% of those surveyedthrough a separate Spiral Impact pre-engagement survey
  • Some participants were openly hostile at the beginning of the discovery process; this for the most part dissolved when they were asked to share their stories and were ‘heard’ appropriately, followed with the action of the engagement
  • Team members shared a high level of frustration with a few low performing employees who were perceived as ‘getting away with not working and management does nothing’
  • A variety of measures were taken to improve scores prior to the Spiral Impact engagement, including: physical environment changes and employee appreciation in the form of gifts and acknowledgement with minimal effect
  • Trust with supervisors, managers and directors was significantly higher than with executive leadership
  • Many team members with greater seniority shared an attitude of entitlement

Post-engagement

  • Most of the employees involved had never experienced ‘soft skill’ training; many expressed gratitude for this opportunity
  • Being ‘heard’ followed with action was an important part of this process
  • A small number of low performers were asked to leave the organization during this process
  • When the external organization re-surveyed, the employees realized the survey reflected on them as accountable employees; it wasn’t about management, it was about them.

Karen Valencic, Founder and President
December 2014

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