Archive for the ‘Employee Satisfaction’ Category
Friday, May 30th, 2008
Like many people, B2B director Carol-Ann Morgan believes that satisfied employees lead to satisfied customers. So, in this, her second Thursday Night Insight blog post, she assesses whether we should be doing more to understand what really motivates our colleagues.
New figures released in April by the Office of National Statistics reveal that three quarters of the UK population of working age are in work. This amounts to almost 30 million people; a record high. And of these, almost 8 million are over the age of 50.
The modern workplace has changed over time, and with it, the expectations of both employers and employees. The link between satisfied staff and satisfied customers has been around for some time. However, a newer, different, paradigm is now in circulation; one which identifies the need for employees who are engaged with the organisation and want to be aligned to the values of the companies they work for.
Yet as I look around our offices, and talk to my friends, I am reminded that one man’s meat can certainly be another man’s poison. It is apparent that motivations vary from individual to individual and are influenced by the life context of the employee. I can recognise groups of workers who come to work purely for the money, to survive; others who are looking for the social element and the pay is less important; others who are seeking challenging activities and have a strong desire to be involved in the strategic development of the organisation or company they work for.
The requirement to understand the needs of the customer base, and to segment these in order to serve them better is well understood. However, it is not so commonplace to apply the same strategy to our staff. By understanding what employees needs are from the workplace, are we more likely to meet these needs and build a loyal “engaged” staff, at whatever level it is that they are seeking?
Friday, August 3rd, 2007
Satisfaction is a subject of great interest to market researchers. Satisfaction with companies and products is one of the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) a company needs to guide its progress. High satisfaction scores result in more sales, increased loyalty, and greater profits. It is the mark of a successful business and a high satisfaction score is the ultimate marketing accolade.
So what is satisfaction and what are the satisfaction norms? In the real world we don’t say to our friends and colleagues that the restaurant we have just eaten in was 8 out of 10, or that sunset was 9 out of 10. We use adjectives from the English language to describe how satisfied or dissatisfied we were. However, these variable descriptions would not allow us to arrive at a measure of group satisfaction and so we market researchers have to resort to measures on a scale. Numerical scales are favoured by market researchers and a scale from 1 to 10 is the most common one that is used.
In the world of business to business market research most successful companies achieve overall satisfaction scores in the corridor from 7 to 9 out of 10. A score of less than 7 is at the bottom end of the acceptable range and achieving an average score of more than 9 out of 10 is extremely hard. 8 out of 10 is a good average.
It was interesting to see the article in the Financial Times at the weekend that referred to research with the general public on satisfaction levels. Lo and behold, the results were very similar to what we find in B2B research. Average scores are in the 7 to 9 out of 10 corridor with professionals achieving higher ratings than those on lower incomes. Job interest and a good family life were important contributors to their high score.
There are some lessons for us here in business to business marketing. If relationships make for a high score of satisfaction in personal life, what do you think they do in our business life? If an interesting and engaging job makes for happiness in our personal life, what do you think interesting and engaging suppliers do for supplier satisfaction?
News Digest: Financial Times July 28/July 29 2007
Professionals are happiest
People in England rate their satisfaction with life at an average 7.3 out of 10, government research published today discloses. Responses varied according to occupation, with professionals seeming to be happier overall than pensioners, unskilled workers and the unemployed.
Future financial security was one of the biggest causes of dissatisfaction among the 3,600 people polled for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Feeling part of a community and health were other aspects of life with which people were least happy.
Three-quarters of the respondents rated their life satisfaction at seven or more when they were asked to pick a number from one to 10.
This rose to 7.6 out of 10 among respondents from the social grades A and B.
These two groups include professionals such as doctors, solicitors, accountants, teachers, nurses and police officers.
Satisfaction rates fell to an average 6.7 out of 10 for the social group E, which includes casual labourers, state pensioners and the unemployed.
People in this group were found to be more likely than average to have regularly felt depressed, unsafe or lonely in the fortnight before being interviewed.
Professional workers were more likely than average to have regularly felt happy, energised or engaged with what they were doing during the preceding two weeks.
Being able to spend time with friends and family was one of the most important factors that affected respondents’ lives.
Health and personal relationships were among the other most frequently cited factors.
Wednesday, January 10th, 2007
Here’s a great article written by Seth Godin from the Guardian website.
1. Understand the urgency of the situation. Half-measures simply won’t do. The only way to grow is to abandon your strategy of doing what you did yesterday, but better. Commit.
2. Remarkable doesn’t mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to make a remark about it? If not, then you’re average, and average is for losers.
3. Being noticed is not the same as being remarkable. Running down the street naked will get you noticed, but it won’t accomplish much. It’s easy to pull off a stunt, but not useful.
4. Extremism in the pursuit of remarkability is no sin. In fact, it’s practically a requirement. People in first place, those considered the best in the world, these are the folks that get what they want. Rock stars have groupies because they’re stars, not because they’re good looking.
5. Remarkability lies in the edges. The biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most difficult. It doesn’t always matter which edge, more that you’re at (or beyond) the edge.
6. Not everyone appreciates your efforts to be remarkable. In fact, most people don’t. So what? Most people are ostriches, heads in the sand, unable to help you anyway. Your goal isn’t to please everyone. Your goal is to please those that actually speak up, spread the word, buy new things or hire the talented.
7. If it’s in a manual, if it’s the accepted wisdom, if you can find it in a Dummies book, then guess what? It’s boring, not remarkable. Part of what it takes to do something remarkable is to do something first and best. Roger Bannister was remarkable. The next guy, the guy who broke Bannister’s record wasn’t. He was just faster … but it doesn’t matter.
8. It’s not really as frightening as it seems. They keep the masses in line by threatening them (us) with all manner of horrible outcomes if we dare to step out of line. But who loses their jobs at the mass layoffs? Who has trouble finding a new gig? Not the remarkable minority, that’s for sure.
9. If you put it on a T-shirt, would people wear it? No use being remarkable at something that people don’t care about. Not ALL people, mind you, just a few. A few people insanely focused on what you do is far far better than thousands of people who might be mildly interested, right?
10. What’s fashionable soon becomes unfashionable. While you might be remarkable for a time, if you don’t reinvest and reinvent, you won’t be for long. Instead of resting on your laurels, you must commit to being remarkable again quite soon.
“But wait!” I hear you say. “My boss won’t let me. I want to do something great, but she won’t let me.”
This is, of course, nonsense. Your boss won’t let you because what you’re really asking is: “May I do something silly and fun and, if it doesn’t work, will you take the blame – but if it does work, I get the credit?” What would you say to an offer like that?
The alternative sounds scary, but I don’t think it is. The alternative is to just be remarkable. Go all the way to the edge. Not in a big thing, perhaps, but in a little one. Find some area where you have a tiny bit of authority and run with it. After you succeed, you’ll discover you’ve got more leeway for next time. And if you fail? Don’t worry. Your organisation secretly wants employees willing to push hard even if it means failing every so often.
And when? When should you start being remarkable? How’s this: if you don’t start tomorrow, you’re not really serious. Tomorrow night by midnight or don’t bother. You’re too talented to sit around waiting for the perfect moment. Go start.
Thursday, December 21st, 2006
So, for our last post of 2006 we thought it would be fitting to compile all our favourite posts from throughout the year. After starting from scratch at the start of the year, the blog has seen massive success, and we are sure you will agree, has now become a vast resource of information. Here are the links to our favourite posts from 2006:
All Marketers are Liars!
Sniffing Out The Right Information
Helpful Market Research Tools
Are companies out of touch with their customers?
SMEs – The engine of the UK economy
Sources for desk research
The Key Principles Of Effective Questionnaire Design
Most Loved, And Most Hated Brands
How our gaze path affects the way we consume the web
One Word Equity
Devising Marketing Campaigns For A Marketing Audience
Questions on b2b blogging
Reinventing Brands in B2B Markets
Online Market Research In China
Podcast: The Value Of Brands
Chinese expansion for B2B International – BBC Interview
Ten Easy Ways to Increase Response Rates For Your Online Survey
How Customer Focused Is Your Website?
Helping The Clients Succeed In China’s B2B Market
Eight skills that make you a good leader
What to do, and what not to do when it comes to PR
The Innovation Process – 7 Deadly Sins
And of course, 2006 has also seen the publishing of our first two free ebooks – click the links below to download them if you haven’t already:
A Practical Guide To Market Research
The Power Of Industrial Brands
Well, that’s all for 2006, thank you for visiting our blog throughout the year, we hope you have found to be interesting and of use. We’re back on January 2nd, so see you then.
Thursday, November 30th, 2006
The subject of leadership has attracted a huge amount of attention and the debate runs on and on as to what is involved in this mercurial process.
One of the clearest guides to leadership has recently been published by Ram Charan, whose book "Know-How" clearly explains the eight skills that separate leaders who perform from those that do not. Here are his eight skills (we have paraphrased them, of course):
- Know how to position the business to make money. In other words, make sure that your business is meeting customers needs and is doing so in a better and different way to the competition (one of the most difficult tasks as we market researchers know).
- Know what external forces are affecting your business. These forces can be positive or negative and much depends on how you react to them. However you do need to recognise them so that you can detect the points before they tip.
- Manage the "social system" of your business effectively. This is essential if the people in the business are to work together more effectively. Charan cites Bob Nardelli, Home Depot’s chief executive, as a supreme exponent. When he arrived at the struggling DIY business he introduced a Monday morning, two-hour conference call with his top 25 senior managers. Scepticism faded as managers realised Mr Nardelli was serious about listening to them, including their ideas and feeding them back into the business.
- Have a process for judging, selecting and developing leaders. Charan says that this is a skill that can be developed only through practice, he says. Good leaders become people experts: they know how to ask questions of potential future leaders that reveal personality and capabilities.
- Mould a team of leaders. As he points out, a team of talented people is "a huge multiplier of your capability for making better decisions and getting things done".
- Choose and set the right goals. Compare and contrast General Motors and GE, Charan says. While GE is seeking new opportunities in emerging markets, and investing heavily in green technology that it believes will win it new customers, GM is struggling on the back of a misguided ambition to rebuild its US market share. Greater profitability rather than crude market share would have been a better bet.
- Set priorities that will help achieve those goals. Know the difference between what is important in getting to those goals and don’t get distracted from a vital job by polishing under the microwave.
- React well when forces beyond their control make themselves felt. When asked what would affect the future, Harold Macmillan the British Prime Minister at the time famously said: “Events, dear boy, events". Good leaders know how to react to these out of control events. Today’s round-the-clock, online and interconnected business world can throw up challenges at any time.
The eight skills together constitute what Charan calls "know-how". After four decades of studying and working with leaders, he believes it is this essential know-how that separates winners from losers. Honing all eight skills is obviously a daunting task. It might even remind you of the time-honoured variety act, in which a performer keeps several plates spinning on the end of poles at the same time. And the best leaders do know what they are doing. And they never stop working at trying to get better at it.