Bridging The Organisational Perception Gap
At PUSH, we have no doubt that people are the unique differentiator in an organisation and one of our overarching missions is to get this message across to employers far and wide. So, we were pleased to see that findings in a new research report by Barnett Waddington, a consultancy at the forefront of risk, pensions, investment and insurance in the UK, adds more grist to our mill.
Meaningful and Productive Employment: Bridging the employment experience gap highlights the chasm that exists between a leaders’ perception of the day to day reality of an organisation and that of their employees. For example, the majority of employers (61 per cent) believe the wellbeing of their teams to be high but only 18 per cent of employees surveyed agree with them.
It goes on to report that the experience gap isn’t just confined to wellbeing and is amplified by the lack of open and honest communication and engagement that exists between UK organisations and their people.
The company states that “an organisation’s people is its greatest competitive advantage, so failure to fully understand employees’ concerns and requirements limits the chance of having a successful business.”
Our experience shows that this is especially the case for companies that are similar in terms of structure and process, such as in the media and creative industries. Standing out from the pack, therefore, is down to unlocking the potential that exists within the workforce and this begins by understanding your people and how they feel about their role and the organisation.
We’ve been busy developing one of our service offerings in recent months that directly addresses these dangerous perception gaps and issues that can harm a company if left to fester: The PUSH Audit.
The role of the audit is to benchmark the present status, essentially the ‘where we are now’, either in relation to the company as a whole or in line with a particular objective. The data and insights gathered can then be assessed against desired outcomes to inform strategy and the necessary PUSH programme of work and action plan implemented. It also can highlight further recommendations for management on internal policies and processes that may need addressing.
Such audits can reveal a great deal and don’t just serve as a barometer about how people are feeling but of the overall health of the company. Crucially, they are often a great way of shining a light on any blind spots. For instance, a business transformation programme may have been viewed as a success by management but structural or process changes may be a source of worry and anxiety for those on the shop floor. These may remain hidden but ultimately will negatively impact performance.
Talking to your employees about how they are, why they feel a certain way and what help they need to do their jobs is extremely empowering for them, and is also the key to enabling them to do their best work. Employees are often reluctant to bring such issues up with their manager but are more likely to confide in a third party because it amounts to being given permission to be open and honest without any comeback.
PUSH uses quantitative and qualitative methods to gain a clear picture of what is going on and both are extremely important. The quantitative approach, which typically includes an online survey, allows us to reach the whole company, while the qualitative part allows a deep dive into what is really going on at a granular level. The latter involves actually talking to the organisation’s people to find out what lies behind some of the issues and problems that they face in their daily work and what would help overcome them.
The audits represent a major exploratory exercise for an organisation, which touches and provides insight into all of the key areas affecting business success; from the business process through to performance and productivity. They can also help to assess training effectiveness and any other interventions by measuring the before and after.
There is huge power in understanding where we are now across the organisation in order to really home in on what is required to make improvements. It might take a brave company to delve this deeply as what they find isn’t always pretty. But those leaders who are willing to go there will be the ones that drive businesses forward and retain the best staff.
Ultimately, they will be employers with the most productive, healthy and engaged workers, and who are aligned with the company’s mission and aspirations.
In short, as painful as the reality of an audit might be initially, it makes great business sense.
Much like our approach to all of our work together, the PUSH audit is a bespoke design tailored to the company’s individual objective. Contact us to find out more and let’s make a plan to help your company future-proof and thrive.