Using Big Questions to Address the Right Problems

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Using Big Questions to Address the Right Problems

Did You Know?

  • Organizations spend $2,000 per employee annually on culture initiatives, while only 3 in 10 HR leaders are confident their organization has the workplace culture it needs. (Gallup)
  • US companies spend over $100 billion on employee engagement annually, but in 2021, declines in employee engagement were seen for the first time in a decade, with an additional drop in 2022. (Gallup)
  • Employees who feel a strong sense of belonging have a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% reduction in turnover risk and a 75% decrease in sick days. (BetterUp)
  • Employees believe professional development is the number one way to improve company culture. (LinkedIn Global Talent Trends) However, 86% of professionals said they would change jobs for more opportunities for professional development. (The Execu|Search Group)
  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity and ethnic representation are 39% more likely to outperform peers than those in the bottom quartile. (McKinsey)

These statistics, along with many others, are compelling. They show that organizations are making huge investments in initiatives that aren’t providing the level of impact expected. They also highlight a few areas to focus on so employees can thrive, find meaning in their work and drive greater commitment to the organization.

Organizations are moving at the speed of light and often get caught up in the urgency to act quickly. The urgent frequently takes priority over the important. This leads organizations to make critical decisions and allocate resources without the knowledge and insights required to make truly informed choices. The result is that too often valuable resources are allocated to the wrong problems. This approach hampers progress and, even more importantly, can cause an organization to miss out on potential opportunities for success.

We believe organizations must ask the “Big” questions to uncover root causes that lead to the insights needed to make the right decisions. It begins with capturing the data from employees, structuring the data for analysis, gaining insights from that data and, finally, reflecting on those insights to make informed decisions that drive real and sustainable impact.

Big Questions Need Big Answers

We leverage organizational assessments to answer those ‘BIG’ questions needed to address the most relevant challenges organizations face today.

  • How healthy is our organizational culture?
  • What motivates our employees to stay?
  • Do our employees feel they belong here?
  • Do our employees believe our practices are sufficiently diverse, equitable and inclusive?
  • How effectively are we providing the professional development our employees need and want?

Organizations use assessments to answer these questions because they cannot “see” the answers without them. Assessments help to identify and measure indicators of these complex concepts we need to measure. Often, however, the initial question asked isn’t the one that should be answered. Getting to the “real” question often requires asking “why” three times.

 

Our Organizational Assessment Philosophy

When we talk about organizational assessments with our clients, we often hear:

“We already conduct an Employee Engagement survey.”

“Our organization is suffering from assessment fatigue.”

“We don’t have the time to sift through reams of data from another assessment.”

With decades of experience partnering with organizations to solve complex challenges, we understand these concerns and have developed an approach that leverages the following tenants:

  • Our clients’ time is scarce and valuable.
  • Any organizational assessment should answer these “BIG” questions, or it isn’t serving a useful purpose.
  • A relatively few highly relevant key findings are more useful than pages of data.
  • The assessment process is a partnership between our client and Talent Dimensions.

The Shape of Knowledge

There is a progression or continuum for gathering data to understand what it means and make it actionable. Too often organizations make decisions based just on data and information and, as a result, miss the meaning

Wisdom: This is the highest level that allows reflection to drive the ability to act.
Knowledge: Learning is at the core of knowledge. One learns based on insights and understanding of data and information.
Information: Organized and structured data that can be measured, analyzed and visualized.
Data: A collection of facts that has yet to be organized.

Addressing the “What,” the “Why,” and the “How”

Typical organizational assessment processes involve extensive questionnaires that take considerable time to complete. They usually provide long, table-heavy reports that contain a great amount of data but relatively little information.

Talent Dimensions is not an assessment provider. Instead, we leverage organizational assessments to deliver knowledge as a foundational element to help organizations solve the right problems.

We believe that much of the effort to provide answers to the “BIG” questions is our responsibility and we accomplish this by:

  • Offering short and highly specific organizational assessments.
  • Designing an analytics process that focuses on the areas that matter most.
  • Providing reports that focus more on information, knowledge and findings.

Like traditional assessment processes, we address the “What” – the Data and the Information. But we don’t leave it there. We also focus on the “Why” by leveraging analytics, focus groups and interviews. Extending beyond traditional organizational assessment practices is critical to leveraging robust statistical and text analytics that provide key findings and interpretations. This allows organizations to react, reflect and make the right decisions to address their right challenges. Finally, we take that knowledge to the next level to answer the “How” the organization will move forward to achieve its intended results.

Why is Statistical Testing Important

While the goal is to measure everyone in your target group or population, it is virtually impossible. Statistical testing allows us to predict how strongly the sample reflects the population. Leveraging these analytics supports narrowing the focus to areas of greatest importance for the client. This is critical because any action an organization takes based on an assessment affects everyone, not just the employees who took it. It’s important to be confident that what a sample tells you applies universally.

Driving Impact

In every client engagement where we have leveraged one of our organizational assessments, we’ve experienced the client gaining insights that informed the direction of their initiatives in ways different from what they originally planned or anticipated. This allows organizations to invest in ways that have the greatest impact, create cultures where individuals can achieve a sense of belonging, and prevent wasting time and resources on areas that really aren’t that important to their employees. Taking the time to be intentional by going beyond just data and information to build understanding and insights leads to focusing on what matters…both to the employee and the organization.

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