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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Are you brave enough to ask your staff what they think of you?

At Breezeplus we have done just that. We commissioned an anonymous on-line survey of all our employees to find out what their view was of being employed by our business. We took this bold step because we want to involve all of our staff in remodelling our business to make it more customer focussed and drive up standards and performance.

A word of caution for anyone considering doing the same, this is not a process for the faint hearted. As a business owner, you will need to have broad shoulders and be prepared to receive a multitude of criticisms both about your management style and your employees employment terms. Before commissioning our survey I was painfully aware that none of my employees would be likely to claim that their salary was too much!

The initial results of our survey have been released. The first read through of the survey answers and employees comments was a painful process and with hindsight should have been carried out with a glass of wine in hand. But the pain eased over the weekend and a second read through in a more business like state of mind has demonstrated that this survey has had real value for our business.

We have been able to indentify key areas in our business that the management need to address to be able to get our operation as a whole to move forward as we intend:

  • Employee pay and benefits structure (this doesnt mean just pay rises but more importantly greater visability and structure of rewards)
  • Directors need to be more involved with their employees and give them greater feedback
  • Clearer structures on performance management and performance recognition

As a result we now have a clear plan on how to remodel our business, we have employee buy-in to changes we will be making and hopefully by carrying our staff with us we will achieve our ambitions for our business much more swiftly than had we simply imposed change from above.

The overall experience of our staff survey has been without doubt very positive for our business. By discarding our natural reluctance to open the "Pandora's box" of the employees frank and free opinions of the directors and their management we have gained a very important insight into our employees views and have a greater understanding of our people and what makes them tick.

If you have thick enough skin an employee engagement survey is something that I would recommend to all. The information we have collated more than outweighs any personal criticism that we have inevitably had to take on board as part of the process.

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