March 6, 2019
Last month I wrote about HBI’s HR Rebuild project. One area we want to concentrate on is the level of engagement of HBI employees. So we will be surveying to obtain benchmarks and identifying solutions.
We will work to ensure that this engagement work works to dovetail with our employee satisfaction survey. The two are different, one works to measure satisfaction, the other engagement with the organization.
Satisfaction is important too. Several years ago, we partnered with the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) to create our survey. Most of the questions we ask in our annual satisfaction came from directly from ICI’s research on this industry and what matters to Direct Support Professionals as workers and employees.
We just published the results of our 2018 employee satisfaction survey. And we are very pleased to report that satisfaction has grown back to where it used to be, compared to the declines registered in 2017.
First a word about process. In the past, we used to collect the information at staff meetings, being careful to ensure confidentiality. That method gave us a response rate in the mid 80s percentile. This year, to enhance confidentiality and ease of submission, we changed to a “Survey Monkey” process. Every time you change the process, you usually get an initial fall off in participation. So we did—our response rate was in the mid 40s percentile this year.
The survey allows for four responses: excellent, good, fair, and poor. We measure the combination of excellent/good responses. We saw significant improvement in 2018 over 2017 in this combination. Of the 29 questions, seven showed a double-digit percentage increase in that combination. One question remained the same, three went down, and the rest improved at single-digit percentage increase.
The seven that went up by single digits in percentage of excellent/good responses were: communication of expectations, relationship with supervisor’s manager, co-workers committed to quality work, someone encourages my development, morale, opportunities to share ideas, and rate of pay. The question on quality went up from 71% t 84%, which is an important quality measure for us. The morale question went up from 59% to 70%. While this result is heartening, we clearly have more work to do. Opportunities to share ideas went up a whopping 27%, from 43% to 70%. Finally, even the rate of pay question went up from 20% to 30%. We know of course that most staff are dissatisfied with compensation. We are too and that is why we are at the legislature almost every year pushing for resources.
Another question, relationship with the supervisor, went up nine points, from 86% to 95%. This is an important result because we know that this measure is the most important part of retention.
While we are heartened by these increases, we know we have more work to do before we have a level of satisfaction and engagement we are satisfied with. We will keep at until we get where we want to be.