What is the right employee survey for your workplace? The long, short, and supershort of it.

Very short pulse surveys are gaining popularity, according to a recent WSJ article. These are one- or two-question surveys that employees receive daily, weekly or monthly. Should you replace your annual employee survey with very short pulse surveys?

Comprehensive Employee Survey vs. Very Short Pulse Survey

Unlike annual employee surveys that include established categories—work environment, leadership, learning and development, employee recognition, communication, compensation and benefits; questions on very short pulse surveys tend to be more fluid and episodic in nature. These questions can range from “What are you proud of accomplishing last week?” “What are the challenges you are facing?” “Who has demonstrated great leadership this week?” to asking employees to select if they like “Prince or Michael Jackson” and share holiday planning ideas. Read more…

Six Steps for Successful Change Management

Swirl by Edward Musiak Medium FlickrManaging change at the organizational level can be incredibly challenging—almost like maneuvering an ocean liner through a series of tight turns, narrow channels, and often stormy weather. But there are key steps you can take as a leader in your organization or team to make sure change management is steered straight, as opposed to floundering.

Recently, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) changed its name to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), as announced by CEO Tony Bingham at their International Conference and Exposition. Reactions to the name change ranged from excitement, cynical, to disappointment. While the debate goes on of whether or not changing the name to the Association for Talent Development appropriately represents the work of the members, one thing is clear. For a major change like this—an identity change, no less—the change process could have been handled better.

While the intent on the name change was good, the process was not. Bingham told the live audience that it took ASTD two and a half year to decide on a new name. However, most members didn’t know that a change was coming and felt disregarded or disrespected when the news was announced.

Consulting with your constituents before implementing major change is a critical step in any change management program. When members of your organization feel they are heard, they are more likely to support your change effort. This cardinal rule applies in membership organizations such as ATD, as well as in companies where employees are members of the organization or business.

Here are six key steps you can take to ensure a successful change process: Read more…

How to Get Creative About Improving the Employee Engagement Experience

What will happen when a diverse group of professionals from HR, training, communications, CSR, and academia come together and work on a set of talent management challenges?

Some creative sparks will fly, I’m sure. And creative ideas and solutions will follow.

The first-ever employee engagement hackathon, Hack The Experience, will take place on Friday, February 28, 2014 at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco. At this day-long hackathon, participants will work in interdisciplinary teams generating innovative ideas to solve employee engagement challenges. At the end of the day, participants will present solutions to the rest of the audience and a panel of judges.
Continue reading “How to Get Creative About Improving the Employee Engagement Experience”

What Improv Teaches Us About Employee Engagement

Photo by Pi Wen Looi
Photo by Pi Wen Looi

This past Sunday we went to see our friend, Linda, perform in Stories in Motion directed by Nina Wise. The performers told their stories with hand gestures and body movements. They also synchronized their movements, made sounds, and sang. As in any improv performance, they built on each other’s stories.

One woman told a story about her dad who, when he was on duty in the Philippines, wrote a love letter to her mom. It was to be read only after her dad passed away, but her mom never read it because she passed before her dad. Guided by her hand gestures and narratives, I could “see” her living room where clutters of magazines, letters, and newspapers were. My heart stopped a beat when she finally pinned the letter, written on onion-skin-thin papers, to her bulletin board.

Another performer told us how he tried to meditate, but his mind kept wondering off to his unfinished work. His story was juxtaposed with another performer’s story about how she found out, while vacationing in Germany, that she was pregnant. These were two very different stories, but they were beautifully interwoven together and became a story that could stand on its own. In the finale, all the performers repeated a phrase or a word from one of the performances of the evening, unified by synchronized gestures and repetitions of some phrases. The finale looked amazingly integrated and well rehearsed, although everything was improvised!

Listening to your partners, building on each other’s stories using “yes, and” instead of “yes, but,” and going with the flow are basic principles of improv. These principles are equally valuable in our everyday interactions with employees and peers.

Listen to your partners.
How often do we really listen to the people we are talking with? Many of us are guilty of checking our computer for incoming emails or mindlessly surfing the net while having a conversation with a colleague. To really listen is to show respect for your coworkers and employees. Respect is the foundation for all relationships and for employee engagement.

Build on each other’s stories. Make it a commitment in 2014 to say “yes, and” instead of “yes, but.” You’ll be amazed how much more cooperative your team members are, and how many more creative ideas you can generate from your meetings. “Yes, but” is limiting. “Yes, and” is freeing. Which option would you choose?

Go with the flow. Have you ever experienced a conversation or a meeting where one of the participants kept stating his or her points regardless of what is being discussed? How did you feel? Nothing kills a great discussion more than when someone is not staying on point with the discussion and tries to reiterate his/her own agenda. Go with the flow means staying in the present and practicing giving the benefit of the doubt. While there is still a place for playing devil’s advocate, too many devil’s advocates will kill creative ideas prematurely.

At the dawn of 2014, let’s build on each other’s ideas, practice active listening, and celebrate each other’s successes.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Employee Engagement, 2014: Gamification, Social Data, and (the Right) Surveys

If you’re wondering how games, social data, employee surveys like our New Hire Survey, and many more employee engagement trends can transform your workforce in 2014, then first, imagine this scenario:

You’re stuck at Level 29 of Candy Crush and you’re out of lives. You check your Facebook feeds and see that your friend, Mary, generously gave three lives to all her friends. You claim the free lives from Mary, thank her, and continue to happily crush more candies.
Continue reading “Employee Engagement, 2014: Gamification, Social Data, and (the Right) Surveys”

Simplicity: Key to Conducting Successful Employee Surveys

Flickr photo by Daniel HurstIn a world of complexity, people crave simplicity. In fact, simplicity is the new luxury. How can you apply the philosophy of simplicity in your employee survey design and data collection process and still get valuable results?

Simplify the topics. How many topics does your employee survey cover? Do you need to assess all these areas at once? An employee survey with focused topics yields relevant and just-in-time data. It’s more manageable. You are less likely to be overwhelmed by tons of data spread across multiple topics. Continue reading “Simplicity: Key to Conducting Successful Employee Surveys”

How To Measure What Matters Most and Improve Business Results

Photo by Microsoft Office

I’m delighted to share the recording of my recent webinar, Beyond Employee Engagement: Measure What Matters Most and Improve Business Results, with you.

In this webinar, you’ll:

  • Learn why employee engagement is an important talent management strategy for HR leaders and executives
  • Gain a clear understanding of employee engagement
  • See the relationships between drivers of employee engagement and observable behaviors of engaged employees
  • Learn how to go beyond measuring employee engagement using my four-step model—align, enable, link, and deliver—to improve business results
  • Get ideas of how to use survey data and insights to create follow-up action plans and improve business results

Please click here to listen to the recording.

You can download the presentation materials here.

I’d love to hear how you are measuring employee engagement at your organization, what’s working for you, and any lessons learned. Feel free to share your ideas on this blog.

Look forward to reading your comments and thoughts!

Motivating a Diverse Group of People and Planning for Success

Photo by Matthew Wisniewski, GLBRC

Novacrea recently helped the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) conduct an organizational survey for its members, who include researchers, graduate students, post-docs, and staff. I caught up with Dan Lauffer, Chief Operating Officer at GLBRC, and Catherine Carter, Operations Process Manager, after completing the survey. Here’s our interview, edited for length.

Pi Wen: Could you tell us a little bit about the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, its mission and the activities that your members engage in?

Dan: The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center is one of three biological research centers funded by the Department of Energy, with a mission of conducting basic research that generates technology to convert cellulosic biomass to ethanol.
Continue reading “Motivating a Diverse Group of People and Planning for Success”

Proven Practices for Engaging New Employees

Hiring good people who have the right skills AND fit your organizational culture is no small task. Once you have them onboard, how do you keep their passion and enthusiasm alive in the first 30, 60, 90 days and beyond?

Our guest, Sean Conrad at Halogen Software, shares with us four valuable practices to engage and retain your new hires. Enjoy!

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Doing a good job of welcoming new employees and setting them up for success is critical to employee retention. Read More…

Sailing and Leadership Lessons: Part 1

Sailing in San Francisco. Photo Credit: Galileo55 on Flickr Creative Common

This is the first part of a two-part series on leadership lessons I observed while sailing with my friends this past weekend. Part 2 will be revealed next week! Here’s Part 1:

Our friend Rob invited us to go for a sunset sail with him this past weekend. It was a gorgeous day for sailing: crisp blue sky, high tide, windy but not too gusty. Rob has been sailing for more than 30 years and he’s been in many races. But we are complete novices. Continue reading “Sailing and Leadership Lessons: Part 1”