Are you waiting to the cow to bolt?

Well, spring has sprung! Is your business year off to a good start or is there room for improvement? 

In an eye-opening blog, Take Two Aspirin and Complete this Engagement Survey , Mark Hirschfeld has raised some important points about using employee engagement surveys to get a pulse on your workforce. He also discusses the use of metrics like turnover and profits and the challenge that using such metrics presents since organizations often don’t realize there is a problem until it is too late. He makes an excellent health analogy that relates closely to business health. How would we as individuals know that we are in good health? We feel alright, sleep OK and seem to have enough energy to get through the day but when we look a little closer we see that our blood pressure is high, cholesterol levels are climbing and our BMI (body mass index) is far above desired standards for a healthy lifestyle. Would you want to wait until your doctor gives you a warning to know if you are at high risk for a major health problem such as a heart attack or cancer? The first step is getting your blood pressure and weight checked along with cholesterol levels. Then, if you know there could be a concern down the road, what would you do about it? You could start an exercise program, or commit to eating healthier…   
 
Similarly, would you not want to know well ahead of a crisis if your business and workforce is at risk of a major challenge in the marketplace that would bring reduced profits…. To know now that potential issues are looming on the horizon and take proactive action could be the only thing that keeps your company from a major setback that could be crippling. Sadly, too many executives and managers rely on lagging indicators, and maybe deluding themselves that “We are doing OK.”  This is a bit like driving the car while looking in the rear-view mirror. 
 
What indicators would you look for that would act as a check up on your workplace and workforce? Here are a few that can help:

  1. The quality of relationships between managers and employees. Are they communicating well? Do they hold regular conversations to understand how they can help one another, where they could improve together, how they can both reach their goals, what roadblocks preventing performance could be reduced or removed…?  How often are managers communicating one on one with their employees and what topics they are discussing?  Are these discussions effective?
  2. Where do trust levels stand? Can conversations hep build trust and understanding? Are managers leading with the principles that help to build trust such as inclusion, transparency, recognition and appreciation? Do your managers seek ideas and input from employees regularly? How many new ideas are submitted every month from each employee? How often are employees recognized for their efforts and contributions and does the way they are recognized have personal meaning for them?
  3. Are there measures in place to maintain work and life balance that could prevent stress and burnout? Does the manager enable the employees to have flex time to address personal or home issues? Does the manager understand the challenges employees are facing in their personal lives and is the workload manageable? Are expectations reasonable (employees don’t have to answer emails at 10PM…In case you thought we were joking, this does go on in some workplaces!)

If you use these indicators to do an informal poll on your organization, how would your organization fare?
 
Collecting engagement data frequently through pulse surveys and regular conversations can give you an ongoing indication on workplace challenges and the health of your workforce and help prevent problems such as:

  • Turnover
  • Decreases in productivity
  • Work quality concerns
  • Misalignment on priorities
  • And more

If you could minimize or prevent these or related issues, do you know how much money you could save?
 
Are you checking the right indicators to understand the challenges in your workforce and taking action on these issues, before the “Cow is out of the barn?”  If you need a workforce health check up to make sure your company is not headed for rough waters let us know.  We can help! It’s what we do. 

We look forward to hearing from you.  

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