2015 Employee Survey – Initial Thoughts

Team-

Thank you once again for your engagement and your candor in our employee feedback survey taken at the end of 2015.  I was happy to see 111 respondents, representing 93% of the company.  The feedback was illuminating and provided us with some useful indications of how to better shape the HealthAxis employee experience.  The results are attached to this email and also posted in SharePoint.  This year, after the results were tallied, we reviewed the survey in our Alignment Meeting, a monthly meeting involving almost 20 managers and supervisors representing all teams.  I believe that we will drive a lot of positive activity based on what we saw as the perceived strengths and weaknesses from survey trends.  To give some of the key issues added depth without drowning people in communication, I am going to take a slightly different approach to discussing the results this year.  This note will be accompanied by the survey and some high level observations, and I will then address 3 major themes from the survey in separate posts.  I’ll begin here by noting some of the positive findings and changes from last year.

Firstly, I was very happy to see incredibly positive scores in a few key areas.  Specifically, 98% of you responded positively to “I like the work I do”, 90% of you agreed that “Overall I am Satisfied with my Job”, and 93% agreed with the statements “My Colleagues Contribute Positively to my Experience at HealthAxis Group” and “I enjoy the working dynamic in my Team\Department”.  In all those areas I hope to see more movement from the “tend to agree” category to “strongly agree” category based on efforts we will undertake in 2016, but I feel very good about where we stand.  When we have a group of extraordinary people who are enjoying what they do and their interactions with their colleagues, you have some of the most important ingredients for a world class company and a world class workplace.

Another thing I was excited about was folks volunteering a little more information for the benefit of our analysis. This year, we asked respondents to identify their department and time with HealthAxis, to help us track trends usefully within different constituencies. Although the information was optional, I appreciate that the overwhelming majority of you offered it up, demonstrating faith in the goals of the exercise. Although departments may cover multiple groups of managers in different sites or lines of business, the feedback was that many managers found this useful in assessing more relevant trends they could consider within their teams.

Lastly, the comments were excellent.  They were thoughtful, clear, and showed more than any particular score just how engaged you all are.  Many were insightful, most were positive, some were very critical, but they all were sincere and I am thankful to have that added dimension to give some deeper insight into some of the scores and trends. I have struggled with how widely to share the comments – if too few people see them they are not actionable, but if too many see the more detailed feedback some respondents may feel exposed or no longer anonymous.  This year we shared them with the managers who make up the Alignment Meeting and it spurred some useful conversation.  Next year, I would personally like to make them public as we do with the results, but maybe we will let respondents indicate if they would prefer to keep their comments out of the universal release.

Of course it is fun to look back on all the positive feedback and it says a great deal about the things we are doing well, but the real impact of this annual survey comes from uncovering ways to get better.  This year, I’m disappointed to say that we did not have to dig very deep to find them: generally speaking, our major weaknesses appear to be no different than they were last year.  Although we made progress on product, strategy, leveraging our skills across sites, and a number of areas, this year’s results tell me that I failed to make some critical improvements to your workplace experience.  There were 3 particular themes for improvement which were prevalent in the comments and obvious from some of the scores:

  1. Failure to hold timely and consistent performance reviews
  2. Concerns around benefits & compensation
  3. Insufficient communication around what the company is doing or trying to do

Rather than pile a bunch of commentary into this post, I will attempt address each of these individually in forthcoming posts, offering thoughts on where we stand and some commentary on how we intend to evolve in 2016.

I hope these missives offer some insight and also demonstrate that this annual exercise is both meaningful and actionable for the leadership in this organization.  Before I sign off, I want to acknowledge some of the limitations of this exercise and remind you of other avenues to have your voice heard.  Surveys like these can provide useful cues and clues for improvement, but are never intended to be the best or only means for identifying or addressing what you see and experience as a part of HealthAxis Group. For matters that are complex, unique, or interpersonal in nature, even very thoughtful comments in the survey format can leave us short of the context we need to meaningfully address them.   Because of that, I really encourage you to regularly utilize whichever of our other venues you feel most comfortable with to communicate more specific points to us– (1) SharePoint Suggestion Box, (2) our feedback@healthaxis.com email address, (3) speaking to supervisors or HR, and (4) taking advantage of my open door policy (physical and virtual).

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