From Employee Satisfaction Survey to Employee Survey; A Big Difference!

Kim Jansen

Everybody has come across this type of person: “The Perennial Victim!”. People who think that everything happens to them, that fate rules and that they can do very little to influence events. These are often the people that see ‘complaining’ as a core activity instead of as a sporadic expression of frustration and dissatisfaction. They are not exactly the sort of people that fill you with energy. At the other end of the spectrum there is the “King of the World!” type of person. He who cries out slogans such as: “Success is a choice”, “Happiness is what you make it”, “You have to make your own luck in this world”, “There’s no such thing as cannot” etc. We mustn’t forget that they are also the people who actually get things done. They are the sort of people that fill you with energy and the ones you secretly look up to. You could say that nothing is right or wrong and that there’s no accounting for taste but I am 100% sure that the latter type has a far more constructive outlook on life!

Feeling of Influence

“Operating proactively from your inner strength delivers more than dependent and reactive behaviour”

Covey talks about the circle of concern and the circle of influence and Rotter, psychologist, talks about the external locus of control. Two thousand years ago, Marcus Aurelius uttered the words, “Give me the strength to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can change, and the wisdom to distinguish between the two.” It all comes down to the same thing: operating proactively from your inner strength delivers more than dependent and reactive behaviour”

Everyone in Action

With regard to employee survey, we notice that some employees keep their circle of influence unnecessarily small. This could either be because they are naturally used to doing so, but it could also be the result of an underlying fear: the fear of stepping outside their comfort zone. Pointing your finger at others is safer than examining yourself. What this behaviour also explains is that an employee satisfaction survey was originally a way of giving employees the opportunity of getting things off their chest. The management opened the results of the survey in trepidation at what the employees might want them to change. In the follow-up to the survey, the management had to disappoint the employees and manage their expectations retrospectively, which was hardly encouraging. These days we are fortunate in that companies use an employee satisfaction survey with the aim of setting the whole organisation in motion, starting from within.

Working together towards a better organisation

The follow-up to the survey concerns everyone, which is good news…well at least partly. The board/HR managers have a reason for the employee satisfaction survey. However, this doesn’t yet mean that the employees know that their proactive engagement is appreciated or even expected of them. I often show our customers a short film about two employees who are standing on an escalator and feel powerless when it unexpectedly comes to a halt. Do we ever see lazy and helpless birds or people who have never heard that they can and are allowed to walk up an escalator? If employees know what is gained by getting started with an employee satisfaction survey and they are given the space to put their good ideas into action, then “Kings of the World” will pop up all over the place!