To know is to understand
Throughout my career in HR, I have observed the essential components of a successful business – the right product at the right price, effective marketing, entrepreneurship, leaders with the courage of their convictions, hard work and determination and, crucially, a team that understands the company’s culture and objectives and buys into it. This last piece of the jigsaw is as crucial as any other, arguably more so now that any other time as businesses and staff get used to new ways of working post the Covid-19 crisis.
Key to a company’s success is the quality of the people it employs and their engagement with the business. A business will stand out from the crowd if it has:
- The right people for the right job with the skills and experience necessary to do it
- Staff knowledge of, and buy in to, the company’s objectives
- An open and cooperative environment
- An identification of the staff it wants to retain and a strategy for retaining them
- A pride among the workforce in what the company offers
- A sense that everyone is an important contributor to the business offering
- An environment in which ideas are welcomed and efforts are valued
Good Employee Research assesses these and identifies what is working well and what ‘tweaks’ are needed. It isn’t about reporting staff gripes. Gripes only matter if they affect people’s ability to do their job or their feelings about the business.
Research Consultant, Michael Stone, and I first worked together more than 20 years ago. A regular collaborator since, Michael has developed a research model designed for smaller businesses, typically 30 – 200 people.
The Staff Attitude Research model emerged from a combination of Michael’s extensive experience from larger businesses including Coca-Cola, the BBC and his more recent work with some of our clients.
The Staff Attitude Research model recognises that there are great benefits from not only understanding what staff really think about the business, but crucially why they think that way. Far too many business leaders rely on a one-dimensional survey-based approach to try and assess staff engagement and perceptions. A survey question might suggest that staff perceive communication or training to be a weakness but it won’t reveal what that actually means – is it the amount of training, the quality, the relevance or the way training needs are identified? Does a perceived weakness of communications mean a desire to know more (and if so what) or a desire to be consulted more (and if so how and about what) or does it relate to a desire for more feedback?
Michael’s Staff Attitude Research model involves a mix of quantitative and qualitative analysis and he uses his extensive experience to really get under the skin of feelings and perceptions.
The Staff Attitude Research model
The research commences with the agreement of a topic guide of business issues to address.
Through a combination of carefully constructed written questions and in-depth interviews with small groups of employees each topic is fully covered, however, what takes place is a conversation with topics introduced by the interviewee as well as the interviewer. This approach enables Michael to establish not only what people think, but also why they think as they do.
The research can then be used by business leaders (with myHRdept help if it is needed) to form an action plan to address the issues identified, and the success of the action plan is measured in future research.
The survey, which comes with myHRdept’s characteristic personal touch, can be completed in just a few weeks and concludes with a comprehensive research findings report.
About Michael Stone
Throughout his 30-year career, Michael has worked extensively in the field of Employee Attitude Research for clients including:
Allied Irish Bank; BBC; Chelsea Building Society; Derbyshire Building Society; the NHS; Texaco; the Audit Commission; BT; Coca-Cola; FA of Wales, The Parts Alliance; Transport for London.
Michael’s staff research services are available exclusively through myHRdept and he can be contacted for a free initial conversation via enquiries@myHRdept.co.uk.
This article was provided by Bill Larke, founder and Director of myHRdept and a former Coca-Cola HR executive.