We regularly come into contact with dissatisfied professionals who are seeking change in their careers. With each ambitious candidate, I always think back to an old project I participated in that created quite an impact on my fellow co-workers. A few years ago, I held a position in the Quality Improvement department of a large non-profit in Ohio. Being a “QI person” brought about a mixed bag of relationships within the agency. Some employees respected the Quality Improvement department and understood that our purpose was just that – improvement. I also encountered many employees who, despite my pleasant daily interaction with them, were not fans of the “QI people”. To them, “QI People” were threatening, as we were regularly making changes, enforcing policies, and handling things like certifications and accreditation surveys.
A change of heart
Oddly, when the Quality Improvement Department administered an Employee Satisfaction Survey, there was an outpouring of feedback. Because staff members saw us as a group that could implement change, they felt comfortable letting their voices be heard through a survey that was not administered by the Human Resources Department. While we hoped for a decent amount of honest feedback, we were not fully prepared for the overall responses we actually received!
Making the difference
Employee Satisfaction Surveys / Questionnaires are often times completed quickly by employees who doubt that anything will be done to address the concerns and suggestions they provide. If the survey is routinely conducted in the same manner, and there has been a history of little or no follow up on the organization’s part, employees hesitate to complete surveys thoroughly and honestly (which is understandable.)
I often reflect on the survey I helped administer as a “QI Person”; two components that encouraged employees to participate honestly were 1) they trusted the “stickler for the rules” QI department, who was present when the surveys were given and 2) my team created the survey from a QI standpoint. Open-ended items outnumbered multiple choice questions, and were worded in terms of improvement and change rather than a generic, “rate your level of satisfaction” format.
And then there’s the actual responses.
To be continued.