Nowadays, there is a shortage of human resources, and an increasing number of companies want to utilize AI and HR tech to increase employee engagement. Some readers may have taken a survey to measure engagement. Is the data collected in this way really being used? Will conducting surveys change the organization for the better?
This book is an introductory book for utilizing surveys (organizational surveys) by authors who have been leading Japan as researchers in human resource development and organizational development. In recent years, various surveys have been conducted in order to unite diversifying organizations and aim to reduce the turnover rate. However, in reality, "visualization" using data is just the beginning of organizational reform. This book systematically introduces the procedure for transforming an organization by using the data obtained from the survey as a weapon.
The term survey feedback may be unfamiliar and may give the impression that learning as a theory may be difficult. However, the author, who says that "useful things are real," presents points that can be used in the field using easy-to-understand writing styles and illustrations. We are also grateful for the realism of survey feedback through the cases of Mercari, Panasonic, and Denso.
If you have data sleeping in your workplace, I highly recommend reading it. This is a must-read book for the Human Resources Department, Corporate Planning Department, managers, and managers who are the main actors in leading the transformation of the field.
The main points of this book
Survey feedback is a technology that transforms the organization by feeding back the data obtained by conducting the survey to the site.
Survey feedback consists of three steps: "visualization," "gachi dialogue," and "creating the future." The effect is enhanced not only by "visualization" by data but also by conducting feedback meetings.
At feedback meetings, it is important to accept each member's interpretations before guiding them to decide on their own tasks.[Must read point!] Background where survey feedback is required
What is survey feedback?
The survey is an organizational survey aimed at "visualizing the conditions of the organization and workplace." Surveys have become popular in recent years due to the development of HR tech and the focus on employee engagement. However, even if a large amount of diverse data is acquired, there are many cases where the data is not utilized or causes confusion in the field. Reasons for this include the fact that the person in charge and the manager do not understand the nature of the survey and what it aims to achieve, and that the site does not understand the process for utilizing the survey.
According to the author, survey feedback is a technology that appropriately delivers the data obtained from the survey (organizational survey) to the site and guides changes in the site and improvement in the workplace. Of the survey feedback procedures, only "visualization" is in the spotlight. However, that alone does not improve the effect at all. The site does not change when the data changes the site, but when the people in the site face and interact with the data.
There are two factors behind the growing expectations for survey feedback. The first is "to deal with diversity in the workplace." The former workplaces in Japan have been operated by a mechanism called "Japanese-style employment" or "membership-style employment." This system, represented by lifetime employment, seniority, and batch recruitment of new graduates, has the advantage of being able to work safely and securely for a long period of time. On the other hand, it has the disadvantage of being vulnerable to the speed of change. If a company that feels the limits of such employment form adopts "job-type employment", lifetime employment will collapse and it will become commonplace to change jobs. In addition, due to labor shortage, not only "Japanese / regular employees / men" but also women, foreigners and non-regular employees are increasing. Due to the diversification of the working side, the values of the members in the workplace are not uniform, and there is a problem that it is difficult to organize them. In such an organization, it is necessary to "visualize" in order to grasp the condition of the organization and appropriately engage with the members.
Another factor is the growing need for management to increase employee engagement, prevent employee turnover, and increase productivity. Engagement figures in Japan are extremely low compared to other countries. According to a survey by Gallup, the percentage of "enthusiastic employees" was only 6% in Japan, compared to 32% in the United States. Therefore, from the viewpoint of preventing employee turnover, it is effective to regularly measure and manage engagement-related data using an engagement survey and take improvement measures.
Weapon for managers
Managers and managers are responsible for solving on-site issues. However, human resources and business planning often impose their responsibilities on on-site managers and give them no weapons. People who work in the workplace tend to face "workplace sympathetic pressure" and "status quo bias" that reject change. A study also found that team performance increased at first, but then declined over time after a peak. The organization is a "creature of a guardian".
That is why it is necessary to anticipate the possibility of reduced productivity and visualize the situation of the organization. Then, tools such as surveys and data can be used as weapons for "reasons and grounds for making members hungry."
Showing the data does not mean that people will move. Data is a "representation of information that can be reinterpreted." Changes occur when humans interpret and act on it. Many choose to make numbers meaningful to them and not change their behavior. That is why it is essential for members to interact and give meaning to the objective facts of the survey.
Effect of survey feedback
Three steps of survey feedback
Survey feedback can be divided into three steps. The first is "visualization" through surveys. The second is "Gachi Dialogue" by holding a feedback meeting. And the third is "creating the future" to make an action plan.
“Visualization” through surveys is just the beginning of change. A study by University of Michigan professor David G. Bauer and colleagues compared the effectiveness of various organizational development methods and demonstrated that the most effective was survey feedback with feedback meetings. The important thing is to have the members of the workplace have a sense of ownership that "the future of our workplace will be changed by ourselves."
The most used method in the field is a method that can be quantified by a "questionnaire survey". When members discuss in an organization, it is difficult to avoid asserting their ideas. At such times, the numbers function as "reliable media" that transcends individual arbitrariness.
How data acquisition has the potential to change people's behavior. David A. Nadler shows two effects: "collection effect" and "feedback effect".
The "collection effect" is the idea that the act of asking "questions" to workplaces and groups through surveys and collecting data itself includes "energy for people to change their behavior." This is because the questions themselves potentially indicate what is desirable and what is not in the organization. To enhance the collection effect, pay attention to both the question items and their importance.
In addition, the "feedback effect" means that the quality of the output data is improved without increasing the amount of the input by returning the output data to the input. Specifically, the quality of output will be improved by feeding back information such as workplace achievements and relationships to the potential power of the workplace / team, which is the input.
Another reason why feedback changes the organization is the "externalization effect". Do not blame the problem of the workplace on the nature or nature of the individual, but once separate the problem from the individual. Then, it becomes easier to speak the true intention openly. The idea of "not easily blaming individuals for organizational problems" is the cornerstone of survey feedback. Based on the premise that behavior is restricted by the social context in which it is placed, how the manager deals with the information determines the improvement effect.
Conducting a survey
Points on how to choose a survey
The "iceberg model" often used in survey feedback is a diagram that schematically shows the problem situation that an organization has and the factors that cause it. When something goes wrong, not only what is superficially visible, but what is "invisible" is often the challenge for the organization. Survey feedback is "confrontation with the invisible." Through the survey, we will face the reality that we usually look away from.
From here, let me introduce some points of "visualization" by the survey. The first is to choose a survey that fits your organization. Although the company's own survey can create the best survey linked to the strategy of the organization, it is difficult to compare and analyze with other organizations in the same industry. On the other hand, commercially available surveys are reliable and easy to compare within the industry. However, since you cannot freely add question items, you cannot expect much collection effect. Furthermore, it should be noted that the preparation of the questionnaire itself is an act of thinking about what is important for the organization.
The point of choosing what kind of survey is to think from the other side. It is desirable that the question items are easy to understand and imagine, and that they are short and simple and can be answered within 10 to 20 minutes.
Communicate the purpose
In order to obtain reliable data, it is important to "fulfill accountability for the purpose, reason, and necessity of conducting a survey." Why and for what purpose do you conduct the survey? What are the benefits of doing the survey? It is unlikely that the organization will move even if you suddenly give a notice like a "touch book" without telling such contents.
Holding a feedback meeting
The key to feedback meetings is to have stakeholders in the workplace at one table at the same time as possible. It is not good to gather only some people and complain that "I have not heard". It's a good idea to devote a portion of your regular meeting to a feedback meeting.
When everyone is seated, explain why they first came to this meeting and the purpose. At that time, I would like to cooperate with the survey in between my usual work, and also to thank the members who participate in the meeting properly. It's also a good idea to declare clearly, "I don't know if everyone's opinions can be met." Even if it is difficult for everyone to agree, feedback meetings are an opportunity to set common understanding and rules.
When presenting data, I want to focus on a part of the data to create a story, and while sandwiching a benchmark in the middle, I want to present what I should aim for. It is the role of managers and facilitators to narrow down the points of interest in the data on the feedback sheet.
Interpretations of the data vary from member to member. It is important to identify the differences in how individuals view the data and to be frank about what they feel. Accept the differences in interpretation and then bring them into discussions for the future. Managers are required to find and confirm the turning point that they can understand up to this point and not understand from here, and connect it to the final decision. Finally, we will create an action plan as we can do from tomorrow. The important thing is to write down specific actions as to what each person does.
Recommendation of reading
The idea of seeing the survey as a step toward organizational change, not as a tissue diagnosis, was an eye-opener for the summarizer. The step-by-step survey feedback presented in this book will be a powerful weapon for field managers. I would like the managers as well as the personnel and corporate planning departments who are planning the survey to read this. You should be able to see the issues as your own and make use of them in creating an organizational culture that allows you to make trial and error.