How to Steer Clear of Toxic Environments

toxicToxicity can happen anywhere at any given workplace no matter how small or large, or what industry. Where there is human interaction, there is potential for disappointment that can add up to unhappy employees. Unhappy employees tend to want to spread their misery to others, even if unknowingly doing so. The disengagement of such employees is off the charts. What becomes toxic is the spread of that unhappiness and others’ reaction to it.

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Employee Engagement Survey Used as Best Communication Tool

86089312_4When you think about conducting an employee survey, consider the benefits of it being one of the best and most significant communication tools you can use at your company.

Employee engagement surveys are not used strictly for collecting feedback. Pre-survey communications; advertising that the survey is coming, should relay survey goals, anonymity and post-survey findings. These communications should come from the organizations top leadership.

  • The first message should be that the organization’s leadership is genuinely interested in what employees have to say.
  • Each question on a survey should be examined thoughtfully to ensure they are consistent with the company goals.
  • Show where there are areas of strengths and weaknesses and communicate to employees how the company intends to change them.
  • On the survey, remember to ask about employee benefits. This may be the only time you can elicit feedback about them.
  • Employees should be able to share their thoughts without retribution when they voice their opinions – whether on an employee survey or in person. Does your company have a culture of trust? If employees do not trust the organization, they may not answer survey questions honestly if they fear retribution.
    Some employees think that online surveys are much less anonymous than paper, because they think their IP addresses will link survey responses to individuals. They must be assured by management that the data and feedback collected will never be singled out or individuals identified. TNS ensures that privacy and anonymity is lock-tight when using our online survey technology.

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Anonymous or Not?

How many times have you taken a survey for an organization you have or are working for? Was the survey conducted with an online database or was it standard pen and paper? What were your thoughts about your individual responses? Did you feel that your responses would be tied to you specifically? Continue Reading →

The Importance of Word Choice when Developing Questions

imagesAKQ1ZA01Clarity is key when creating open ended (comment) questions.  It is very important to use words that will not be misinterpreted by the person reading the question. Misinterpreting even one word can change an individual’s entire understanding of the question. In developing surveys both through school and in my professional career, I have noticed a few common errors that can be avoided with better word choice.  The first problem being that an individual may not understand a word in the question, and therefore the survey taker may try to draw meaning from the rest of the sentence.  This can lead to survey takers answering in a way other than what was intended, therefore skewing the results of that particular item.

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Timing is Everything…or is it? is the right time to survey employees? Here at TNS we help our clients with their employee engagement surveys at various times throughout the year. Since we survey human beings, it’s not to wonder that at certain times throughout the year, we are prone to being happier, moodier, depressed, etc. Aside from our individual lives, and all the challenges we face daily, there are certain outside factors that I believe influence our behavior being able to handle or react to them. For instance, in the fall, I get a somewhat melancholy feeling saying good-bye to summer. In a few weeks though, the foliage is showing off spectacular arrays of color and so I then “get my orange on” and am out of my funk. Does that mood influence me in taking any kind of a survey?

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Linking Business Execution, Sustainability and Engagement

feedback1A key driver of successful business execution is sustainability.  Loss of essential employees needed to achieve key strategic goals can impact organizational success.  I came upon a definition from Successfactors that describes sustainability as the means for making sure that key talent is engaged and fully committed to the company and its strategy.  This also requires that organizations develop processes to predict, manage and minimize employee turnover.

A global hospitality client of ours understands this link and developed employee survey processes targeting frequent feedback around engagement and exit management. Information learned through these valuable survey mechanisms is used to transfer knowledge across different segments of the workforce.  For example, segmentation of key talent is utilized to assess engagement levels and hold managers accountable for targets and action plans tied to organizational strategy.

Sustainable performance is a leading indicator for great companies.  At some point, every employee will leave an organization.  Establishing business processes to avoid preventable turnover and ensuring consistent operations in the face of workforce changes can help engage employees and reduce turnover.  The successful executive of business processes, such as employee survey programs, will help HR widen its focus toward creating talent management processes that help the workforce deliver strategic, successful business results.

Retail Tips – Moving from Paper to Online Surveys


CHRO’s and those responsible for engagement in retail organizations are asking themselves the same question year after year…. Paper Surveys, Online Surveys, or Both?  Historically, paper survey methodologies have been more conducive for data collection within retail work environments when conducting global employee research programs.  However, many companies overlook the additional risk, time and cost requirements associated with implementing these types of studies.  One way to minimize these risks/costs and ensure a seamless administration is to consider setting up computer kiosks for employees to access the survey during data collection.

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What Good is a Survey Without Action?

Often, organizations spend so much time in the planning phase of a large-scale survey program sweating out all the many details of the survey launch itself that they forget to save some time and attention focused on the results.  What good is a survey if you don’t act upon the results!

If you want to improve employee engagement, customer satisfaction, increase market share, etc., you need to follow through with actions.  Senior management support is critical for any action planning initiative to be successful.  At every level, management needs to make sure that teams and work groups have the authority and the resources they need to understand the issues identified in the survey results.  When everyone is involved in analyzing, prioritizing and developing action plans, it’s a best practice for survey success focused on improving employee engagement and organizational outcomes.

TNS Employee Insights Attends HRMAC Summit 2013

HRMAC LOGOOCTOBER 22, 2013 – It’s that time of the year again for us to attend the annual HRMAC Summit in Rosemont, Illinois.  HRMAC, Human Resources Management of Chicago, is the largest consortium of human resource leaders in the Chicagoland area.

The HRMAC Summit is designed to enhance understanding of key issues impacting human resources operations and to provide insights and resources to help HR leaders become a more effective.

Now in its 16th year, HRMAC Summit is the place to connect with Chicago area HR leaders. HRMAC Summit is the opportunity to network with hundreds of HR professionals from across the Chicagoland area and beyond.

Not only does HRMAC Summit offer the opportunity to make new connections but it also conducts four dynamic educational sessions to help HR personnel develop new strategies for dealing with daily issues.

If you are going to the HRMAC Summit, stop and see us at Booth #306. See you there!

Engagement Tops the List for Keeping HR Up at Night!

clockAccording to a recent survey conducted by Human Resources Executive, ensuring employees remain engaged tops the list for the second straight year in a row as the number one issue.  Yet, when asked how much time these busy HR executives spend focused on engagement, it’s only 26% of their time.

Other top issues for busy HR executives were development of leaders and employee retention.  It’s interesting that these two issues are also keenly related to engaging people.  Perhaps it’s time to dust off the existing engagement survey program, move away from the traditional biennial or annual approach toward more frequent employee feedback.

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