“One of the best things you can do is conduct a climate assessment. There are three steps you can take to gather this valuable intelligence. The first is conducting an employee survey. You want to find out their likes, dislikes and “deal breakers”. It’s especially important to identify those things that are getting in their way of be more productive. This could be something as simple as a disruptive co-worker or as complex as a process that doesn’t work. The trick is to identify these things and do something about them. It’s also important to find out what’s working well. You don’t want to inadvertently change something that was a positive for employees into a negative.”
Mr. Price goes on to say, “The second step is to take the results of the survey and share them with employees in group meetings. These meetings serve two purposes. They give you a chance to provide feedback to your employees and they give you the opportunity to get more details and clarity about the input they provided. It’s the perfect time to say “I see that many of you rated your work environment as only average. Can you tell me a little more about that?” Of course, having a neutral party facilitate these meetings significantly increases the chances that employees will open up and really tell you what they were thinking. You’ll find that employees not only appreciate the feedback, but also the opportunity to be heard. I’ve facilitated dozens of these kinds of meetings and they are a very powerful tool.”
“The last step is a critical one. Once you have your employees’ input, you have to do something with it! If you don’t, not only will you lose the goodwill that you’ve built up during this process, but you will actually damage your relationship with them. If you’re not sincere about taking their feedback and using it, you’d be better off not attempting this process at all. Ideally, you will get some of the employees involved in determining how the changes should be made. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you create ownership by having your employees participate in determining what the changes will be and how they will be implemented. If your employees own their jobs, they will take much better care of them than if they are renters.”
Mr. Price concludes, “Today, it is more critical than it has ever been to understand your employees. The climate assessment described above is one of the ways you can do this. With this information you have the opportunity to enlist your employees in creating an environment that is not only a satisfying place to work, but a highly productive one. That sounds like a win-win situation to me!”
For more information about this topic or other Human Resources related issues, please visit theperformancepartners.net or contact Sterling Price at SPrice@theperformancepartners.net.
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The Performance Partners is an HR consulting company that specializes in employee relations, leadership development, organizational development, union management and HR outsourcing.