In our experience, companies can get as much—if not greater—benefit from a targeted survey of a specific population as they can from a more costly organization-wide attitude or culture survey. Targeted surveys are particularly useful for:
- Evaluating progress on changes already undertaken such as reorganizations, process improvements, or major technology-based transformations
- Auditing organization culture at different points in time, for example, before, during, and after a merger
- Identifying the root cause of issues impacting the business, such as increased turnover, problems attracting and recruiting the best talent, poor communication and collaboration, and inadequate bench strength
- Measuring how well key staff functions—such as Legal, HR, Finance and IT—meet the needs and expectations of their internal business clients
- Assessing the impact of employee engagement on customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Assessing leadership effectiveness
Four examples of targeted surveys are provided below:
Building the Climate for Innovation
The CEO of a global financial services company was concerned about his organization’s ability to tap into the creativity of its expanding global workforce. He asked KCG to assess the climate for innovation across the company and in each operating unit. KCG constructed the survey based on academic research and qualitative benchmarking of the critical success factors for innovation. The consultants also conducted an extensive survey of “best practices” within the company and created a forum for sharing experiences and successes. The result was a number of innovation pilots which applied proven techniques for driving innovation to new business situations. More importantly, senior leaders developed a perspective on growth that balanced internally-driven initiatives with the company’s growth through acquisitions.
Strengthening Customer Partnerships
The leaders of a high performing services company were actively promoting the idea of “building business partnerships” with customers. They sought an objective measure of how well the organization had executed on that strategy. KCG worked with the client to design a targeted survey that asked employees and customers to provide feedback on the quality of service and the value that both parties placed on their relationship. The survey was administered in multiple divisions and analyzed at both the unit and the overall corporate level. The results were telling; divisions with low employee engagement or morale also had customers that were less satisfied. Businesses with higher engagement or morale were more successful in building lasting customer partnerships. KCG worked with the client to incorporate the findings into joint employee-customer meetings where both groups took ownership for the results and committed to action plans for improving their relationship.
Resolving an Internal Service Problem
The Vice President of HR for a global corporation received negative feedback from line executives on the search and selection process. It took too long, cost too much, and failed to deliver consistently high quality candidates who succeeded at the company. For example, the CIO position had been vacant for close to a year. KCG developed a survey which provided more specific information about which elements of the recruiting process needed to be fixed, and which were OK. Our consultants also worked with HR to map the current recruiting process and gathered feedback from several executive search firms in confidential interviews. Some of the changes that were implemented post-survey were the migration to a more consistent competency model, improved communication to line managers, and a technology-enabled recruiting process.
Creating a Desired Culture in a Merger
The senior management of a leading entertainment company believed that the synergies from a major acquisition could be achieved only if the two leadership teams worked together to create a common culture. KCG worked with the leaders of the business to lead the cultural integration; surveys were a critical piece of the integration approach over a nine month period.
- Pre-merger. KCG surveyed key individuals at both companies prior to the close of the deal to determine how much individuals knew about the other company and to identify possible misperceptions or communication gaps. The results helped senior management address sensitive topics early in the integration process and were instrumental in diffusing tension in several key off-site planning sessions.
- During the integration. KCG conducted several short pulse surveys of key managers to gather targeted feedback on communications, business strategy, and other key issues and enabled the business leaders to adjust their approach mid-course.
- Post-integration. KCG completed a survey six months after the merger to measure alignment with the new culture and business strategies. This final survey gave management insights to where they had been most successful in creating a new team and areas where there was a need for additional work and communication.