3. The Survey: Invitations and Results
Invitations to Take the Survey
Rodd reviewed information on the 1-year Consultant Subscription, including instructions on how to set up and run the Assessment. He tailored the sample email (offered on the website) to send everyone in each of his five Regional groups their unique URL link to the survey. In his invitation, he asked everyone to take 15-20 minutes to complete the survey, specifying how often they saw the 56 non-productive situations in their workplace: Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Usually, or Always.
“Be honest”, he told them in the invitation email. “Your individual responses will be confidential and will only be added into a group-averaged list for your Region. But we need a good reporting in order to see what you all are dealing with. Also, you will add your email address to submit your responses, which lets me know who has finished their survey and who needs a reminder to get it done by the end of next week.”
“I hope you find this exercise valuable for yourselves as well as for the big-picture Regional improvements that will be possible”, he added. “Each of you will receive some personal feedback from the system, with ideas on how you could contribute to reducing some of your most frequent annoyances. I won’t see either your response input or the feedback you get, but when I received my own feedback from this system, I found it to be useful.”
The Results Are In (Yes, there were Regional differences)
Rodd sent out reminders to those who hadn’t yet done the survey by the middle of the week, and he sent some again the week after that. When the due date came, he had almost 70 responses, and decided that would be enough. He closed out the survey and requested the results from the system.
He received the five Topline Reports ranking all 56 items from the most frequently observed to the least. The five Bar-Charts showed the frequency of all eight categories of issues as seen by people in each of the Regions. Then he spent the rest of the day studying the lists, charts, and recommendations to get a good idea of what was going on in StateOrg.
One surprise for Rodd was finding that the five Regions had even more substantial differences than he had expected. Another surprise was that none of them thought the “lack of accountability” – which was Rodd’s #1 issue – was even in the Top Ten of any Regional ratings. Here’s what the regions identified as some of their most frequently observed workplace issues:
- Four of the five regions – Regions A-B-C-D – said their most frequently observed issue was, “Outdated equipment and systems and/or insufficient materials and supplies”. All four said their second highest was, “Changes are implemented without discussing them with the people whose jobs will be affected.”
- Personnel in Region E appeared to be more performance-oriented, saying their biggest issues were, “There are significant differences in the quality of work people do”, “Training is needed for staff” and “Some people resist using new methods and procedures”. They did not see “Outdated systems and insufficient materials” or “Change implementation” as being very significant.
- Only Region A appeared to have a “people problem”, as the staff there said their second-most frequent issues were “Argumentative, unfriendly, or disagreeable people cause trouble at work” and “Some people gossip, make others look bad, or blame others for problems”. They also mentioned, in their Top Ten, that “People have more work to do than they have time in which to do it”, and “There are clear work standards but not everybody uses them”.
- Both the B and D Regions reported they often saw “Staff cuts and restructuring had disrupted communications”.
- Only Region C reported frequently seeing “A lot of unexpected emergencies and time spent putting out fires.”
Setup for Regional Meetings (Starting with Strengths)
After studying the Regional reports, Rodd made up a list of all the lowest-ranking items for all five Regions. There were 13 items at the bottom of the Regional Group Workplace Assessment Reports, meaning they were observed Never or very Rarely.
He wanted to share that list with everyone, reporting them as StateOrg’s strengths, so he wrote up a brief email saying, “Congratulations! Here are a few things we are really good at in our workplaces!”. He attached his list of the 13 lowest-frequency items and highlighted the top three strengths – the areas where everyone agreed there was not a problem:
- Our meetings start and end on time;
- We use measures to track staff and team performance; and
- Our assignments include clear due-dates and deadlines.
Rodd told them that he saw those particular strengths as a good indication of integrity and mutual respect in the organization, which would help upcoming discussions stay positive and support collaboration. He thought a little good cheer would be helpful in relaxing them a bit.
He added, “I will be sending each of you a copy of our all Regional Assessment survey results on Monday. The week after that, I will be coming to a full-day Regional all-staff meeting at each of your Regional offices. I’ll be traveling around the state to meet with you and I encourage each of you to attend your Region’s meeting with me.” Rodd sent his “good news” email out to all 75 staff members before heading home for the evening.
Over the weekend, Rodd sent me an email saying, “Using that Group Workplace Assessment has given me a multi-dimensional view of what’s happening here. I can see which Regions need support in key areas, and what specific issues our people are struggling with. But best of all, pretty soon everyone else will see the same thing – and then we can talk about it. After that, we get to work.” Rodd would use this idea of “strengths” to start the next discussion – giving a pat on the back to the group first before diving into the problems.
- The Problem – and a Free Personal Assessment
- The Problem
- The Free Workplace Assessment: Reporting on “Lack of Accountability”
- The Recommendations Report and a Group Workplace Assessment
- Assessment Recommendations: Resolving “Lack of Accountability”
- A Group Workplace Assessment for Managers and Consultants
- The Survey: Invitations and Results
- Invitations to Take the Survey
- The Results Are In (Yes, there were Regional differences)
- ABCD Regions: Outdated equipment, Poor communication on change
- E Region: Quality and Training problems
- B & D Regions: Communication problems from staff cuts and restructuring
- C Region: Too many unexpected “emergencies”
- Setup for Regional Meetings (Starting with Strengths)
- Sharing the Results and Holding Regional Meetings
- Sharing the Results: Emails and Attachments
- The Results Are In (Yes, there were Regional differences)
- Regional Meetings: The “Tackle First” List and the Conversation Groups
- Setup for the All-Staff meeting
- The All-Region Meeting: Implementation and Impact
- Introduction to the ‘Big Three’ Workplace Issues
- Introduction to Productive Conversations
- Problem-Solving – Before and After Lunch
- Problems and Solutions
- Work Plans and Next Steps
- Three Months Later: Follow-Up