It is Time for Leaders to Rethink Focusing Only on the “Top Three Priorities”

Quantisoft recently conducted a comprehensive employee survey for an organization with 125 employees. The survey has over 6o questions which assess the effectiveness of a broad range of issues that impact organizational and employee effectiveness and performance.

The survey ratings and comments identified some areas of strength and a larger number of significant weaknesses.  During  the webinar meeting in which I presented the survey executive summary report to the organization’s senior leadership team, one of the  senior leaders asked if I could identify the three most important things they should do as a result of the employee survey. I answered that there are clearly identified priorities, but that there are considerably more than just three important things that need to be done.

The overall ratings for each section of the employee satisfaction survey/employee engagement survey are presented below:

  • Overall Rating                                                                                   3.80
  • Quality, Service and Work Performance                                              4.30
  • Commitment to Our Organization and Organization Direction      4.21
  • My Direct Manager                                                                                    4.06
  • Work Environment                                                                                    3.76
  • Development/Opportunity                                                                       3.75
  • Reward and Recognition/Compensation and Benefits                       3.73
  • Communications                                                                                         3.72
  • Teamwork                                                                                                     3.70
  • Innovation and Change                                                                              3.63
  • Engagement                                                                                                  3.55
  • Decision Making                                                                                          3.53
  • Senior Management Effectiveness                                                           3.52

The Problem with Dealing with the “Top Three” Priorities

My concern for this organization is that if they just focus on three or a small number of weaknesses and opportunities identified by the survey, they will not achieve meaningful progress.  The survey executive summary report lists the following major issues and also includes many specific recommendations:

  1. The need to strengthen trust between leaders at all levels of the organization and employees.
  2. The need to increase respect for members of the senior leadership team and for some managers at various levels of the organization.
  3. Employees’ desire for increased compensation based on work contribution and performance.
  4. The need for less costly health insurance, better dental and vision insurance, and other enhanced benefits.
  5. Addressing heavy workloads and related stress. The need for more staff and less overtime, and everyone doing their fair share of the work.
  6. Improving the effectiveness of the less-effective and “difficult” managers.
  7. Strengthening inefficient technology and processes, and providing better access to information.
  8. The need for greater emphasis on customers, customer service and quality.
  9. The need for more effective communications between and within departments, and from senior management with more openness to listening to employees.
  10. Expanding advancement opportunities and hiring from within the organization.
  11. Strengthening the organizational culture and its ability to nurture innovation and significantly increase employee morale and engagement.
  12. Increasing teamwork and collaboration within and between departments with a focus on getting everyone to understand and support the organization’s  mission, vision and values, and achieving the organizations objectives.
  13. The need for more and better new-employee and ongoing training and development.
  14. Increasing senior-level decision makers’ knowledge of what is going on at the worker level enabling them to make more informed decisions.

Successful Leaders Take a Comprehensive Approach to Achieving Holistic Organizational Effectiveness

Many of our survey clients have us conduct their comprehensive employee surveys annually. Some achieve great progress year after year while others make little or no progress. The organizations that make great progress don’t just deal with the top three problem issues. They use Quantisoft’s survey results recommendations and create and implement comprehensive action plans. The organizations that achieve little or no progress are the ones that address only a small number of the issues identified by the survey, and their commitment to taking action and achieving results is limited.


About Howard Deutsch

Howard Deutsch is the CEO of Quantisoft, a New Jersey based full-service survey company conducting employee, organizational effectiveness, leadership feedback, customer satisfaction, IT customer satisfaction, enterprise risk and other types of customized surveys since 1999. Howard has extensive senior line management, internal and external consulting experience in many industries. He has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA in Finance from St. John's University. He was an adjunct faculty member for several years at the Seton Hall University School of Business.
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