Intelligente PDCA

During change, there is a 3 to 4 times higher chance of employees quitting or even leaving. Successful change and improvement do not happen overnight, but without them you are nowhere. You need structure – a conscious approach – in order to bring about change and improvements. Not just once, but continuously. People’s engagement is critical to this; you want to understand their keenest insights, knowledge and points for improvement, and more importantly; you want to show them that you consider them important. After all, change is permanent, a constant. Continuous improvement is the name of the game. The PDCA model is a much-used approach. PDCA gives structure to your continuous change and improvement process. In this blog we will explain how to use CircleLytics Dialogue successfully in PDCA. This ensures (short) cyclical feedback. No change without employees. Change fails or succeeds mainly because of people. And without data, or unreliable data, you will not achieve successful change. The quality of the input of this feedback determines your success. We will explain how CircleLytics helps you to obtain high quality data to prevent bias, mistakes and missed opportunities. It will also help to prepare the people involved for your change and secure their involvement. The tool is especially suitable for regular, (short) cyclical qualitative and quantitative feedback.

 

How does PDCA work again?

PDCA stands for Plan – Do – Check – Act; a structural, cyclical approach in continuous improvement programmes. It ensures that you continuously and systematically pay attention to the steps needed to structurally solve problems. You can read more about the background of the PDCA model here. We describe all steps and explain how other organizations use CircleLytics for this purpose. In addition to tools, continuous change also requires a culture of continuous learning; being open to something better and repeating it. CircleLytics ensures organizations of efficient, effective feedback cycles, to achieve this culture and finally bring the necessary insights to the table. This cannot be achieved, or only to a lesser degree, using other tools and interventions, such as stand-ups, project meetings, and certainly not surveys. Our blog Survey or dialogue explains why this is so.

 

The different phases

Plan: identification of the problem and formulation of a supported plan for improvement

Do: implement actions, involving all relevant people

Check: evaluation of results, progress and analysis of deviations on the basis of data

Act: adjust activities based on the Check phase and make improvements sustainable.

 

 

Step 1: do you understand the problem and why?

In this step, you identify and analyse problems. Remember what Einstein said: “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.” So spend ample time on this step, because a lack of attention now, will work against you later. Ask open questions: who, what, where, how, when and why? Look for the why behind the problem by, for example, using the technique of asking the why question 3 – 5 times. This will prevent your team from focusing on symptoms and consequences, rather than causes. There are also other techniques for root cause analysis, such as Pareto-analysis, Fishbone analysis, Fault Tree analysis, etc. CircleLytics is a suitable tool for all these techniques with questions tailored to these analysis variants. By seeking feedback from a wider group than the project team or the hired or internal consultant, you can look beyond your own scope. You can also break through the hierarchical relationships in your organization by ignoring those you involve in the anonymous feedback. Next, you can start to fine-tune a plan based on that problem identification.

 

Ask the largest, relevant group for each step of PDCA

Two know more than one. And many more than two know even more. CircleLytics ensures that you easily involve the largest possible, relevant group in the relevant phase. This ensures that you will receive the richest input with the least bias towards what really matters. This is called the wisdom of crowd, or collective intelligence. Ask this group rock-solid questions and let them respond in two anonymous rounds, with equal room and voice for everyone. Our White Paper helps you to design these rock-solid questions yourself, but make it easy on yourself: CircleLytics has plenty of questions ready for you. You will collect qualitative, indispensable feedback. Subsequently, this feedback is prioritized by the group itself in our unique 2nd round, giving it meaning. This 2nd round is critical and does not take place simultaneously with the 1st round. This ensures that participants can learn and reflect on feedback from others. This way of structuring feedback yields the most intelligence (see our post on this with Google research or watch the collective intelligence playlist on our YouTube channel).

 

Some important advantages of involving the largest possible group:

  • a cross-silo group, across departments; diversity provides the richest input
  • break through the hierarchy by inviting participants “of all layers”.
  • this also ensures high involvement, co-responsibility and early buy-in
  • this ensures that people’s ‘brains’ are already switched on for change: the growth mindset.

We recommend a small group for questions that can only be answered by people from that specific small group (management group, MT, sounding board group, etc). This could concern budget or the deployment of people. For all other subjects, involving the largest possible, relevant group will yield the best results. As mentioned above, you can bypass the hierarchy. After two rounds in CircleLytics, you can directly read and apply the combined results, which have been further enriched by natural language processing and artificial intelligence techniques. The results can be intelligently filtered and broken down according to hierarchical levels, function groups, ages, length of service, role in the change, department, etc. This allows you to see how different subgroups may view things differently. The strength of the 2nd round of CircleLytics is that it is anonymous, and participants learn from each other’s (different) opinions. This ensures that the diversity of opinions and perspectives is as great as possible, which is exactly what you want to answer your questions in the smartest way possible.

Stappen van dialoog en feedback

[Photo: Round 1: open questions that touch the core. Time to reflect, no time pressure, anonymous. Round 2: all opinions back to participants in small sets; they prioritise these using scores and textual enhancements. Round 3: Dashboard shows bundled wisdom of the group; extra analysis tools and report using AI/text analysis.]

People determine the success of change

As mentioned in the introduction, people are the essence of your change. People perform or prevent actions. A review study in the International Journal of Strategic Change Management, highlights the main reasons for the failure of change. More important than those of a strategic nature, is the people factor and HR/HCM policy. The most important are:

  • lack of involvement and participation
  • resistance to change
  • lack of motivation and satisfaction
  • fear of losing their job
  • low confidence.

Examples of questions in the Plan phase

We will immediately show you how our two-round method will benefit you. We do this with an example question: “What do you think is the real core of the problem and can you explain it in more detail? “The CircleLytics tool collects the answers anonymously, and in the second round, participants will score each other’s analysis and the most supported responses will be revealed. In the second round, you immediately ask for their explanation, for example with the question “Do you think this is the problem to work on now, why? This way, you will dig very deep in a period of 3-5 working days, with 10 or even 1,000 people. So, you ask everyone who knows something about the problem or the point to be improved, or who is or will be affected by change because of the actions to be taken. You secure the above critical advantages: richest input, buy-in and openness to change.

The above example can be realized in a few working days in two rounds. You can go through the real-time results yourself or together and follow up with the next step, looking for solutions and improvements. You can also set up a second feedback loop of two rounds with CircleLytics Dialogue, if the first results still raise questions. By the way, other sample questions are available depending on your situation, such as:

“What do you think we should focus on and why?

What should we do first to cope with [losses, customer churn, system crashes, …] and why?

 

Looking for improvements

You will now select the most prioritized problems that your team supports. Again, present these to the largest, relevant group. Remember that employees are eager to respond to open questions that are relevant to their work and well-being. Not asking them is not an option.

 

A follow-up question might now be: “For each problem identified, can you think about how you would solve it; what do you think is a valuable, achievable, strong improvement? “In the second round, they can score up or down so many improvements made by others and, when asked, explain “How would you make this improvement measurable? ” or “What is most needed to realize this? or for example “What should we not do or do less of to realize this improvement successfully? “. Your result is a compilation of the most supported improvements per problem and a compact overview of the explanations for this, such as how you measure this, what is needed most and what you have to do to make it work.

 

Now you can start planning.

 

Towards a plan with a basis of support

A plan without support from the broad group of stakeholders is doomed to fail along the way. Did you know that research has shown that 90% of lean-development projects fail? Therefore, our advice is to present your plan again to the largest, relevant group of stakeholders. You can ask the effective question: “Do you support this plan? If yes,  support your answer by indicating what convinces you most and, if no, explain what you consider to be an insurmountable objection and your alternative.”

Through the 2nd unique round, participants learn from each other’s insights, give support, and you learn whether there are objections that are serious and need improvement. You can iterate this 2 or 3 times if you want. This will result in a supported plan. You can complete these iterations in 1-4 working days if you need speed. Remember that change requires attention, especially in the Plan phase.

 

Now let’s get to work and keep checking!

Your sound, efficient approach results in a supported plan and in concrete actions to be carried out. In the implementation (Do phase), it is important to measure (Check phase) how this is going. You can either immediately start implementing on a large scale, or start with small-scale, experimental steps. In both cases, you monitor the success. You will build in fast, regular feedback loops. You will ask questions like: “How involved are you (still) in ABC change and can you explain this? “. In this feedback loop with CircleLytics you will ask: “What makes us deviate from our planning at the moment? “And in the second round of this question: “Which analysis of others regarding the deviation from our planning do you support, and how do you think we can adjust this? “. You can also apply lean models to carry out this kind of analysis and make adjustments, such as the Fishbone analysis that we mentioned above.

 

You always collect the feedback from the largest, relevant group of people involved in the implementation, certainly not just from the project group. This is how you avoid tunnel vision, in addition to the aforementioned advantages. Depending on the duration, complexity and milestones/measuring points of your original plan, you carry out a feedback loop 1 to more than 10 times. For these phases too, questions are available like the ones above. Because CircleLytics collects the feedback in a broad and anonymous way, and learns from what people support and reject, you will get reliable data. Without this data, you cannot check or adjust.

 

The Act phase; start adjusting now!

You check to know what, why and how needs to be adjusted. Adjustments prevent you from overlooking new circumstances or things that are going differently in practice. You also make sure that the change becomes anchored, sustainable. The regular feedback loops, the dialogues with those involved, ensure that the behaviour of people is brought in line with the required change. You don’t want a relapse.

Where things do go well, investigate the possibilities for standardization. Ask questions like: “What is structurally going well and can we regulate outside the project? “. In the second round, you can ask participants “Which points do you support and how and where do you think you can make them sustainable in the organisation“. In this phase, and on the basis of these reliable insights, you can come to the sustainability of new working methods, tasks, required behaviour, etc.

 

CircleLytics Dialogue; instant feedback for your PDCA cycle

CircleLytics Dialogue provides reliable feedback data, buy-in and openness for change from all stakeholders. You can deploy CircleLytics via consultants, who work on your (lean / change) projects, or engage them directly by contacting us. You can also ask HR to facilitate this tool. They are familiar with the enormous power, the positive effect on the involvement of employees and they know the big difference with (unwanted) surveys. We will show you a demo in 15-30 minutes and discuss a few customer cases. You can use the tool on the same day and start and continue in every phase of the PDCA cycle. You can use the tool once, but typically you want to set up an iterative process to realize change, sustainability and alignment of behaviour.

Contact us today to get started tomorrow.

 

CircleLytics Positioning Intersection of HCM and Management

Employee engagement has to deliver value in the daily work flow, instead of being represented by a pulse or once-in-a-while generic survey by HR. Management and HR have to answer the same question every day, and work side-by-side on this every day: “how can we create a future of work & employee experience today that make people and work prosper and grow successfully?”. And yes, the way you formulate your answer to this question in your company is probably better yet pretty much the same: HR is not a silo and has to create value right in the heart of matters: the intersection of people and corporate performance.

CircleLytics Dialogue is developed to perform at this precise intersection. Right where value creation is residing. Where people and teams have to perform. Since we’re wired to connect, to share, to collaborate, we believe CircleLytics is at its best where co-creation is needed mostly. Where it’s needed mostly for employees and managers to make their valuable work happen. Organizational success hinges on the ability of people collaborating efficiently to solve complex problems. Their cognitive and creative performance, i.e. their collective intelligence and collaboration, is essential to getting this problem solving. Only together you win. In this blog, we focus therefor on a few winning elements to your organization’s success:

  • co-creation
  • collaboration & learning
  • intelligence
  • employee experience.

 

Help managers take action based on co-creation

At CircleLytics, we believe it’s just not good enough for HR to measure employee engagement & experience and send number-driven reports to management teams. Neither to suggest to managers that adding some word clouds and algorithm-driven topics derived from a few comment boxes genuinely can be considered actionable results. Surprise: they can’t be and your managers know this, and probably told you a few times (hopefully they don’t hold back on this, to us they do…). We believe HR has to step up their game and perform in the heart of matters: daily delivering business performance with employees, ie with them, side-by-side with business management and their teams. Engage employees daily to drive experience, retention and corporate performance. It’s simply, in Josh Bersin’s words about “helping managers take action“. Below picture illustrates his maturity model of employee engagement: from just again another engagement survey to the enablement of managers to follow up on recommendations and learn from behavioural data. CircleLytics is developed to stop the pain of survey-fatigue and create an experience that people embrace and turns them into one big brain to solve any matter at hand. You want recommendations? Ask and get. You want solutions for problem ABC? Ask and get. You want to know what’s the next ambitious, doable milestone for project XYZ? Ask and get. Why people are considering leaving? Ask and get. Just ask and get.

 

Other thought leaders are increasingly focusing HR / HCM back (or for the first time) on delivering value. Ben Whitter (read for example “Human Experience at Work”) understands and urges us all to “co-create at a deeper level with people” and make people be partners in driving work from the outset. He mentions there’s no escaping co-creation and sees co-creation not only making sense for business performance but also the human approach. “Co-creation is a commitment to make progress with people, not through them”.

Deliver the value of co-creation, not just a tool

Another mention is Hein Knaapen, former CHRO for blue chips such as KPN, ING and DSM, in his well-articulated and inspiring writing about delivering business value instead of HR just buying another tool. He’s sharing: “Whenever I gave in to fashionable solutions that, in fact, had no meaningful link to corporate performance, my impact was elusive. Whenever I understood the acute relevance of a need to enable value creation, I was always able to muster the support of the CEO and drive solutions that actually improved the company’s performance.”

We believe HR and management will collaborate more and more to engage employees and solve daily company problems in a collaborative way. We’re here to break through silo’s and make that co-creation happen. Ben Whitter is asking how companies can co-create at a deeper level with people, right? Our answer is to engage employees via the power of deliberate open-ended questions, have them collaborate and reflect on answers, and emerge bigger solutions, and action-driven results. The merits and science of collective intelligence (CI) emerge things you didn’t know of before. Mere crowdsourcing is not enough. It’s about adding collaboration to crowdsourcing and capturing the amazing effects of people interacting with other people’s ideas and thoughts. That’s the process you’re looking for. Collective intelligence brings out 20-60% more intelligence and creativity, without adding more people. More value, without more people. Let’s see how collective intelligence, crowdsourcing and CircleLytics Dialogue work and run you by the criteria we believe you should keep in mind when selecting your elevated, next-level of crowdsourcing solution, or better yet: your collective intelligence solution.

 

What’s crowdsourcing again and why wasn’t it enough?

Crowdsourcing is based on the assumption that problems can be decomposed into parts that can be solved by widely distributed, independent workers. Companies and people can ask tough questions to large internal or external groups and chances are that this brings out the best solution. CircleLytics Dialogue’s first round is like that: you ask many people (can be 10,000s) for their best ideas, problem analysis, or improvements on any challenge you may encounter. Our language processing technology enables you to capture key results in a variety of ways. However, there is increasing evidence of the “importance of collaboration to innovation, and the underperformance of groups that don’t work with a sufficiently high level of interdependence”. (Easier than reading that is to learn from our customer data proof points by the way: they paved your way and delivered amazing value via 2,000+ dialogues). How to add the power of learning and collaboration to traditional crowdsourcing? Collectively, new thinking and creative solutions can emerge. Let’s explain how CircleLytics Dialogue combines the best of both words: distributed people with various levels of cognitive abilities, knowledge and skills, and their power of collaboration.

 

Dialogue: the answer to your company’s need for co-creation

Dialogue means that people deliberately look for new information and perspectives to evolve their thinking, hence their own points of view, and emerge (completely) new ideas and thoughts. Without dialogue, you’re condemned to limit yourself to a simple word count, topic modelling, and computer-driven language processing, based on a bag of textual answers on a question asked. And that’s just unacceptably too little for your precious people and company. The CircleLytics Dialogue solution offers employees (or any type of participants) the unique 2nd round, in which participants give importance to each other’s anonymized answers and ideas, and enrich these by keeping scores, tagging key words and adding valuable comments to their scores. Customer data, hence human logic as well, proofs that participants simply love it: you take them seriously, satisfy their curiosity, and give them a voice. That’s a party for people’s hearts and minds. We’re wired for co-creation.

Don’t underestimate the 1st round: this is already very appealing and trust-building: deliberate open-ended questions are simply what they’re waiting for. The 2nd round engages participants even more deeply in a totally new fashion. Can you image that our 5+ year customer data proofs that more than 70% of participants read through / review more than 15 answers from others? And over 40% of participants even more than 30. In other words, it’s apparently a wonderful employee experience. In addition, three important things happen:

  • participants show a preference for answers that DO NOT resemble their own answers: they are indeed opening up to other participants’ perspectives; this is an amazing learning experience
  • participants are open for this 2nd round’s collective effort: they’re part of something more grand and meaningful than ‘trying to make my answer win’: they’re ok to let go of their original answer, which means that you DO NOT have any fear of 1,000s of participants expecting that you follow up on their own answer; it’s the collective outcome that wins
  • people’s brain learn to adapt and open up to different perspectives, novelty and change.

Dialogue dynamics are critical to gain collective intelligence and get to co-creation. By having participants learn, listen and reflect from each other and emerge new thoughts, without any fear of letting go of their own previous thoughts. Second, more thoughtful thoughts are more valuable. This type of intelligence is the highest form of cognitive and creative intelligence you can get from a human group intervention. That’s pretty crucial in an ever changing world and market. Co-creation will be more and more in the heart of matters, people and teams. We expect that tomorrow’s HR leadership will bring technology such as CircleLytics Dialogue in the hands of managers and their teams, and of board rooms to engage even all employees in one go. Engagement is a joint effort, not anyone’s exclusive domain. Especially not HR’s we believe. It’s just smarter and better to solve company matters together.

Employee Dialogue

 

Now let’s see what’s important to select the best solution. Even if it means you’d select other technology than CircleLytics Dialogue, at least let’s share with you what we think is important and why.

 

Scaleability and pricing: don’t get stuck

Choose technology that’s robust and consistent for any group size. Why? You probably have various teams, of various sizes, and from time to time you want to tap the wisdom of the collective of maybe 10,000s of employees. CircleLytics Dialogue is scaleable for any group size and algorithms, dashboard, etc work consistently no matter what. Watch out for vendors that focus on one-off projects. Usually you spend quite a bit of money on consultancy, it’s not up and running in a day or so, and receive a stiff invoice. Collective intelligence, hence elevated crowdsourcing, is here to stay and part of manager’s daily workflow, engaged employees, and a performance culture. You need to scale up, down, left, right, as flexibly as is required. Make sure your vendor’s pricing and product offering are flexible as well. CircleLytics Dialogue offers a 100% transparant pricing scheme and allows you to get what you need or stop when you want. To never get stuck.

Choose collective over swarm intelligence. Humans over bees.

Choose collective intelligence-based technology when working with real people. Listen to the great video of prof Robert Sapolsky about the difference between swarm and collective intelligence. The latter is often known by the name wisdom of crowd. Basically: the participants (agents) in swarm intelligence based solutions refer to animals such as bees and ants and its main driver is survival, ie food. However, swarms make suboptimal decisions and can even seize to exist because of their swarming behaviour. They get stuck when swarming after a not so smart peer, in the absence of patience, ie time to reflect and iterate other ideas as well. When you apply collective intelligence however, and meet the requirements like we applied in CircleLytics Dialogue, you secure a superior outcome since the process allows for a massive number of iterations and interactions between agents and other agents’ ideas. More simply said: you get a more intelligent result in the same time span.

Intuitiveness: don’t make users think too much before going live

You probably want to scale up your solution throughout the whole company. Solving complex problems, change and engaging employees to the max is all here to stay and all around. Now or in time, many managers and teams need to be facilitated to tap into the collective wisdom of their team, department or business unit and have the best-in-class technology to do so. That requires a platform that’s easy to understand and apply, while maintaining the necessary control at a central level. With only some online training, tutorials and from time to time a blog with tips.

Mere-exposure bias: words or topics that are mentioned a lot are NOT simply the best

Avoid the trap of mere-exposure bias (mere-frequency bias): most survey and crowd sourcing tools sponsor unfortunately this ugly bias. Their technology gives priority by-design to contributions and words that are mentioned simply more often …. we all know that’s not smart. To say it mildly. Avoid topic modelling, word counts/clouds that forgot about this bias. Either supervied or un-supervised topic modelling. It’s not about appearances of words, but it’s about the sentiment and importance that are allocating by others. That’s why the CircleLytics Dialogue distributes all input in a subsequent 2nd round and enables everyone to keep scores (-3 to +3), tag words and add comments. The aggregation of these scores and enrichments feed our AI, topic modelling, NLP, etc. We offer unsupervised and supervised topic modelling by the way. The richness of data is unique and you don’t want to miss out on that before jumping to algorithms. First the human mind, then the algorithms. So, stop hurting your decision making by relying on single round surveys with too-easy-to-be-true topic modelling, NLP and sentiment analysis. Your decision making needs the richness of others attributing importance. At scale.

Asynchronous process: don’t give preference to people that speak up faster than others

Make sure your technology avoids that responses that came in first, are served first. It’s quite basic, but there are tools in the market that care less about this and bias faster respondents. Ouch… We all know that thinking takes time, creativity takes time. The faster is definitely not the better. Remember introverts? A good night’s sleep first? Our brains need to slow down to perform best. Nobel Prize winner Kahneman wrote about this in his famous book/video “Thinking, Fast and Slow” about the dynamics of the human brain and our thinking. We only slow people down just enough to get the best of their thinking. To release their power to reflect on themselves and each other. You are compensated generously by getting recommendations and actionable results! Look at this pic for a moment. In blue, you see that most positive scores are given to opinions/ideas that came in last during the 1st round (input-round). The fast respons is simply not the best respons.

Allow radical honesty: don’t hold them back to vote ideas down, not only up

Enable people to vote things down. Yes. And enable them to explain why. Don’t forget that people dó have think about things that don’t work, can be risky, or even harmful to corporate performance or your company’s reputation. You want to know those things. And you want to know why, and not look the other way. Be aware of the contraire and what might cause people’s resistance to some ideas. This is important to people: show you’re really open to all of their thoughts. This way, you gain insights that help you later on to implement and get support for your decision making.

Eye candy is sweet, game-changing insights are smarter

Candy comes at a price: you may be sweetened by technology that looks very fast and easy for respondents. Swipe a bit, be easy on the questions you ask them. But do you know that the brain needs to be challenged?  Needs nutrition before candy? In science this is known as people’s need for rational overrides to disrupt mindlessness. Simply said: not only your deliberate open-ended questions must challenge people’s thought process, but the technology applied as well. It’s a balancing act to maximize experience and maximize their brain processes (opening up, thinking, creating, reflecting). To share just a bit of data: below pic shows the average uptake in the 2nd round, in which on average, 70% of the respondents review more than 15 opinions from others! In the CircleLytics Dialogue, participants score between -3 and +3, tag words, and even enrich their scores with comments. That’s a lot of work, you’d say. We and participants say: it’s just an amazing engaging experience for them and a proven welcome investment of their time.

 

So, that brings us ….

Choosing your elevated crowdsourcing requires a bit of preparation. To us, our customers, and to science, collective intelligence out-smartens swarm intelligence and legacy crowdsourcing solutions. We’ve shared the proof points we’ve gathered from 300+ companies for a better understanding of what makes people, your business challenges and CircleLytics Dialogue a unique match.

Contact us today to understand your needs, set you up for a demo!

Request demo

 

Medewerkersonderzoek

Which pot of gold is at the end of your rainbow, at the end of your Dialogue with your people? Using focused, open questions you give them a sense of direction. Direction will help you reach your destination, your gold. What is this destination? What do you want to achieve with your Dialogue? What is our advice to create  solid questions? Where do you start? Stephen Covey already said it in his best-selling book “The 7 habits of highly effective people”: start with the end in sight. Whether it’s your day, a new project at work, or your new Dialogue!

So what do you want to achieve and why? We have listed how you can best design your Dialogue with the end in sight first. That gives a lot of peace of mind. And as soon as you click on the activate button of your Dialogue, your questions, you can lean back. Or do something else.

What do you need to consider before you start?

– Deadlines and stakeholders

– Understand your target group

– Analyse results

– Monitor your Dialogue

– Visualise & monitor success

– Design your Dialogue: create your questions

Ok, now let’s get to work on these points!

 

Deadlines

Firstly, your deadlines. Your Dialogue does not go on forever, nor is it a closed-ended survey. You go way beyond that with open-ended questions and multiple rounds. You can read about the difference between Dialogue and Survey here. There is a start (Round 1) and then Round 2. Two rounds, because some questions have a 2nd Round. In that 2nd Round there are several small, attractive steps to realize and structure the dialogue. It is nice to have a deadline for each round, because you want to work with the results. Others are probably waiting for the results. Moreover, your participants need focus; you need to make a questionnaire that is short, powerful, attractive and with strong content, preferably 3 – 5 questions. Not another online discussion group, and do them a favour: no survey with generic questions. So when do you end the lead time of those rounds? When do you need or want to work with the results? Who is curious to know about the insights of your Dialogue? Take 2-3 days into account for each round. In other words, count on 6 days from the end of your Dialogue. Now you know your start date. We recommend not to start on a Monday (a busy day for everyone), and not on a Friday (people often have their minds on the weekend!). And we don’t recommend starting the second round on a Monday, because you’ll probably set the reminder for Monday morning or Sunday, which are not ideal times. So, now you have the start of your planning.

 

Understand your target group

Next, your target group. If your target audience consists of employees or highly engaged customers, 2-3 working days per round will do. However, if your target group is very busy, we recommend booking a weekend in the lead time of round 1. If your participants are further away from you, like members of your association or citizens in your city, it might be wise to have a lead time x3 per round, so 6-9 working days per round. As a result, you spend a bit more time on recruiting people and sending out extra reminders. Of course, these reminders only go to people who have not yet actively participated. If your target group is very far away from you (little loyalty, irregular contact, or limited online), you need a serious campaign to stimulate their involvement. You then need social media and other recruitment tactics, which we are happy to tell you about in person. Or you can ask for advice from your communications expert in your own organisation.

 

Analyse results

Thirdly, bear in mind that you will need some time to go through the results afterwards and present them in a PowerPoint presentation for example. You will need about a minimum of 15-60 minutes per question. As a rule of thumb, ask 3, maximum 5 questions per Dialogue. If you used characteristics (such as age category, department, length of service, etc.) to filter the results, allow for an additional 30 minutes of analysis time per question. You can spend many hours on the data, and with the analysis tools we’ve created, that’s very tempting. We’re creating more and more tools that will very much limit your analysis time, but still satisfy your curiosity.

Our tip: mark your time well. Think about who you will need to go through the results and to prepare a presentation, so plan ahead! This lead time is in addition to the duration of the two rounds together. For example, count on 2 x 1.5 – 2 hours of analysis time for 4 questions. And an hour to put the charts in a document/PowerPoint presentation, and more time if you want to make them yourself. Don’t forget; through your dashboard you can download a standardised excel report, adapt it to your needs, and then save it as a PDF. That will speed you up enormously, and also your decision-making.

Following up your Dialogue

Fourthly, you may be the one designing and implementing the Dialogue, but not the owner of the actions that follow. Depending on the subjects you base your questions on, you must make sure that you have the most important stakeholders on board to work with the results. So make sure you plan and organise this well! It is good news for them that you are using CircleLytics Dialogues, as they provide clear quantitative and qualitative insights, with clear actions on how to proceed. Suppose your question was “What is your best idea for …. and why?” and in round 2 “Appreciate the ideas of others and explain how we can implement them in the smartest way.” Everything is combined real time so you immediately know what you can do smarter to bring the best ideas to fruition. Follow-up is important. Follow-up makes the tool easy and concrete together with your participants, but you must organise that beforehand.

 

Visualise & monitor success

Fifthly, the success of your actions. If you follow up on the results of your Dialogue, and roll out actions, you want to monitor, communicate and visualize your success to those involved. You can then even thank them again! Many clients use the Dialogue to make this monitoring very concrete. They use questions such as: “Because of your ideas, we started working with ….. . How well do you think this is working out at the moment? Please give a score of 1-10 and tell us what you think is going well. And immediately add the question: “What would be an additional, valuable step towards making ….. even more successful, and why? You will then create a new questionnaire. Perhaps you will repeat some of the questions over time. Challenge yourself to go through the whole process again: start at the end: what are you looking for?

 

Now the Dialogue itself: designing questions

And sixth: the creation of your questions. A strong Dialogue requires solid questions. They must be relevant, specific, inspiring and challenging. We have summarised all the important principles for making a very solid questionnaire in a White Paper. This is based on 1,000s of questions, Dialogues at more than 300 organisations. You can download it here (in Dutch, as of 20 April in English). Consider carefully whether some questions do require a closed scale because you also want to show figures. In that case, combine closed scales with open answers and with the 2nd round. This way you will get the best result. The second round ensures that all open answers are valued and enriched by the participants themselves. This increases the relevance and the speed with which your results are ready in real time afterwards. Take 2 or 3 sessions to come to rock-solid questions. Use our library of 600+ validated or research-based questions, or design them yourself. If more people need to approve the questions, build in some time for that (2-3 days for example). Prevent these other people from viewing your Dialogue as a ‘kind of survey’, suddenly wanting to force a lot of questions into it, weakly formulated questions, and a lot of multiple choice or other closed questions. A Dialogue is not a survey. You want to ask for opinions, and people want to give them!

 

So…

Make a planning according to these tips and rules of thumb. You now know the most important activities. Your context may be different, so keep an eye on our blogs and don’t hesitate to ask us for feedback or advice. You can also check our partner page to see which consultants know a lot about your topic and can help you find your pot of gold! Time to create your own questions. And more importantly; really involve your participants in topics that matter and listen to their opinions! That is the renewed Employee Listening.

 

Contact us today to get started tomorrow.

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Diversity kleurrijk dialoog

Diversity: different perspectives

In a group of friends, I like to hear how everyone is doing. And if we are in a dialogue about a subject, I like to hear what others think about it. Then I learn more. After an hour or so, some very interesting things often come out of it! And sometimes it goes all directions. Or it ends in a fierce discussion, in which we defend our own point of view and forget to listen, let alone learn. I learn the least when someone else thinks the same way I do. It’s nice to see it as confirmation, but quite boring because there is bound to be something new to discover. I find diversity of perspectives more interesting; how do others think differently and why?

 

Night’s sleep is necessary to learn

I learn the most from different perspectives (video Lorenzo Barbaris, PhD at Stanford). Especially if I can sleep on it. Then what other people say or what I read is more likely to sink in and the next day I can get a fresh perspective or see things more clearly. The brain is good at that, such a night’s sleep. At night, the brain clears out a lot and makes room to learn and come up with new ideas the next day. A bit of rest, contemplation, reflection. Listening and learning simply takes time. The brain even requires it.

 

How to use the dialogue

In the CircleLytics dialogue, we copy that smart and necessary process of people, of learning and of our brain. First of all, the questions you ask a group in the first round provide focus, to prevent them from wandering off. By doing so, you make the subject crystal clear. Download our WhitePaper to become a serious expert in formulating solid, open questions (in Dutch only, as of 20 April in English available). Secondly, in the second round, people can see and learn from other people’s perspectives. And thirdly, they can take their time. What I previously said about myself, we apply extensively in the dialogue: time for reflection. It is indeed true that a night’s sleep helps. Putting people into a workshop for an hour or two simply does not bring out the best in them or the group. Even worse; if you increase people’s stress, it lowers their empathy. This makes them less open to other perspectives. So less open to diversity. That’s not a good thing, but it’s good news for your CircleLytics dialogue. In other words; a few necessary days of rest and reflection, in both rounds.

 

What happens in the second round?

It’s quite simple. For each active participant in the 2nd round, our unique algorithms create a set of 10-15. Quite different from a survey that does not allow this. So, a set of 10 to 15 anonymised contributions from others from the 1st round. Until the beginning of this year, it was 20, and now it’s a bit less. Each participant gets a different set, so every active participant. Because if we prepare sets for non-active participants and someone does not participate in the 2nd round, the set is lost and that is not the intention. How we make the sets is something we keep to ourselves mostly. What we do share with you is that it is extremely complex. Since the new version in February, we pre-cluster after the end of the 1st round. We use different algorithms and artificial intelligence to make sure each set is as diverse, as colourful as possible. This depends on your specific dialogue. It can take serious minutes before the invitations for the 2nd round are sent out and you, as the creator of the dialogue, receive a notification of this via your e-mail. Because of this increased diversity, people learn more from each other and are more surprised.

 

Colourful  & mitigating bias

Look at the picture. The left set is the old algorithm, where randomisation and other techniques already led to considerable diversity but without clustering. On the right, we show what it looks like after clustering in the new version of the CircleLytics dialogue. Kleurrijk Diversiteit Dialoog Nieuwe versieClustering – playfully expressed with colours for you here – ensures that contributions from round 1 are grouped together based on similarity. Participants only see a few contributions from the same cluster (see picture: a few times the same colour). We have developed a technique of cleverly ‘jumping’ between clusters, showing the participant a varied set of contributions. This way we mitigate the very unwelcome mere-exposure bias (mere-frequency bias). This bias means that respondents (or algorithms such as topic modelling in normal survey tools) favour things they see more.

Extra benefit:Deep Democracy

In addition, the new algorithms ensure that contributions that do not appear often in round 1 are shown slightly more often. In this way, we prevent those scarce, unique contributions (minority opinions) from being relatively under-represented among participants in the second round. Deep democracy, in which minority opinions receive extra attention, is therefore much better safeguarded in the dialogue than ever before. More colour, more diversity!

Did the scoring by participants also change?

Yes. We will show 10-15 contributions instead of 20 from now on. After that you will be thanked and you may stop. Or continue. Score Dialoog 2e ronde DiversiteitThen, for every 5 contributions, we will show that new message as you can see in the picture on the right: we will thank you and tell you again that you may stop or continue. The participant is free to do so. Sometimes participants read over it. But not anymore; the message is now like a sort of button. Did you know that more than 70% of the participants rated more than 30 contributions? More than 50% of the participants even rate more than 40-50. This means a huge involvement of participants and apparently a nice, attractive experience for them. Your solid questions, relevance of subject matter and preparation of the dialogue obviously help tremendously, don’t forget that.

 

What else is new?

We also made the buttons to go to the next or previous question more visible: orange, and as a clear button. We first used a simple black arrow. Sometimes participants did not understand that. Participants are very happy with the new layout: we can see that in the ratings for the dialogue. We have achieved a score of 8 out of 10

What is the result of it all?

Diversity has been increased. This means that we are doing more to stimulate and appeal to people’s brainpower, which benefits your results:

  • participants rate and score more contributions because they see more new contributions
  • they are even more satisfied and involved in your dialogue and subject matter
  • they spend more time in your dialogue, which is good for their awareness
  • deep democracy: the minority opinion now receives equal attention.

Unlike a survey or a workshop of an hour or two, reflection time and the 2nd round ensure that you get more insight and better results on your questions. By increasing diversity, CircleLytics shows again that we listen to your feedback and continue to analyse the data on the behaviour of participants in the dialogue. This is one of the reasons why we keep making the dialogue smarter and launch a new version every 6-8 weeks. This is how we keep the CircleLytics dialogue the best online dialogue in the world. For you, your challenges and especially for your people.

Contact us today to get started tomorrow.

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Open question -the why behind de questions

Deliberate open-ended questions for high response rates and depth

How was your day? What are we doing next weekend? What do you think of this idea? How can we best solve this problem? Open ended questions. People are tired of closed questions that surveys present us with: the well-known survey fatigue (interesting report dating back to 2013 by the CIPD). This is understandable. After all, we want to be able to give our opinion, to contribute to the issue at hand. And we don’t want to be forced to choose from a limited number of answers. Open-ended questions also let people know that you take them seriously, that you trust them. Gallup has been researching this for many years: employees love, no require, need to be take seriously for their opinions. You also get a higher response rate and a much better response; they take answering your question seriously. As a result, your research becomes more reliable.

Closed question with open answer

Even if you ask a closed question (score, multiple choice, statement), it is almost always better to offer the open text field as well. You must then explicitly ask for an explanation of the score or of the answer to the multiple-choice question. By asking for an explanation, the score is given in a more considered way, which makes your results more reliable. Moreover, you learn about the reasons that lie behind scores and you can interpret your numerical results. This also enables you to analyse whether low scores have been given by mistake, while the open answer indicates the opposite; or vice versa. Your research results will improve, which in turn will lead to better follow-up and targeted action! Adding an open-text field to a closed-end question is not an option. If you don’t give the open answer meaning by a clear, guiding open-ended question, why do you expect respondents to give it meaning?

So, instead of asking: “How do you assess ABC?” and allowing a score or throwing in a text field,
ask this: “How do you assess ABC at this moment, and can you clearly substantiate that?”

Don’t limit them, or yourself

The current technology of survey providers is very limited in processing open answers. Therefore, they often discourage this, and you are left with the big question ‘what is behind the scores’. Or they limit themselves to counting words, topic modelling and trying to discover combinations of words. Consequently, the ease of processing the data for such providers is more important than the quality and depth of your research. Even worse, more important than the needs of your participants; there is hardly or no specific room for open answers. Open answers are driven by the open-ended question, not by a functional text box to put in ‘anything you want’. They can’t say what they do want to say. The section below is from the website of one of the market leaders for employee surveys, showing that after the survey, you have to find out for yourself what’s behind it.

the why behind numbers

 

Instant useful information

CircleLytics technology, on the other hand, has been developed to process open answers and convert them into information. Information that you can use immediately. Useful top 5s for instance. You can see right away what was said by which target group and why. This means you will get the most out of the open answers, making sure participants are heard.

Prof Neely (University of Cambridge): “People often reveal their true thoughts and feelings in the open-ended comment boxes. In general, the content of these comments offers a much more reliable predictor of a people’s behaviour.”

How do you deal with open answers?

What is the difference between open answers processing by a survey tool and by CircleLytics? We will explain this using a simple example. After a reorganisation of HR, in which they started working de-centrally as business partners, management and HR wanted to investigate the results. The question was simple: “How do you assess the effects for you of decentralising HR and can you explain this?” Approximately 3,000 employees gave a 1-10 score including their explanations. The average score was high. The answers were then grouped based on traditional word count and topic modelling. These are simple ways of processing texts which made it possible to group 14 themes and to count which words were mentioned most often. The latter resulted in a nice word cloud. That’s it?

For surveys, yes. For CircleLytics and participants, this is where it all starts. Our tool allows for a unique second round per question. In this second round, the unsorted answers are sent back to the participants in sets of varying compositions to maximize diversity of perspectives. Employees (or other participants such as customers, members, etc) can rate these and give them a score of -3 to +3, choose key words and explain their score. Do you know how much they enjoy doing that, how happy that makes them, to learn from each other’s answers and enrich these?

Sentiment & Semantic Analysis

They give a sentiment, a weighting, to the answers of others. You immediately have your real-time sentiment & semantic analysis and natural processing of language. No algorithm can beat the human mind in processing something so complex as natural language. To humans, language comes natural, yet to algorithms it’s one of the most complex things to capture in a meaningful, actionable and reliable way.

By selecting key words, the human minds (the participants) give those words even an extra weighting and extra semantic, contextual value to the data. That is an enormous enrichment; even before technology starts to perform analyses, hundreds or even thousands of participants are already doing the natural language processing. In practice, this proves extremely attractive: more than 70% of the participants rate more than 15 answers from others. Participants love this way of answering questions, learning from others and structuring the output, and give this two-round method a report mark of 4.1 on a 5-point scale. Very different from the fatigue that plagues surveys….

Now let’s see

Back to our example: 3,000 participants assessing an average of 30 answers, is almost 100,000 thought processes in just a few days! That 2nd round is called collective intelligence. This gave the client a whole new insight. Instead of 14 themes, it turned out that after the 2nd round, only 3 themes were favoured and supported. On second thought, the participants focused on those 3 themes, not on 14 at all. Moreover, a fourth, new theme emerged, which only a few people thought of in round 1, but was positively scored by a large group of participants in round 2!

The theme was about someone’s observation that HR business partners themselves were having a hard time…. A few had empathy for this in the 1st round. A regular one-round survey, a word count and topic modelling simply did not reveal the theme. Only through the 2nd round of CircleLytics could participants see the opinions of others, learn from them and gain a deeper understanding. On closer inspection, they thought differently. An unprecedented enrichment of the research. And a wonderful example of deep democracy in which a minority opinion is clearly revealed.

Think again

That is why the CircleLytics technology is not called a survey; it’s called a dialogue, based on deliberate open-ended question and human (and after that AI/NLP) processing of the open answers. Because dialogue requires that people are prepared to think differently about your question. They learn from the answers of others. People think better in the second instance. They usually think fast first, and then slow down (also read Kahneman’s research), which gives your research more depth. You also come up with subjects that no technology had come up with. Topics that are sometimes only mentioned by a few, and that cannot emerge without the collective intelligence of all brains together.

So when would it be useful to have a survey?

Forget the word survey for a moment. Based on our experience, we advise to determine the design per question in CircleLytics. This means adding a closed scale, presenting a multiple choice, or offering a text field. You can adjust the question when you add a text field. You can now explicitly ask participants to fill in the text field and what you expect them to do. Finally, you can determine whether the question will be included in the 2nd round and set the deadline for this. This is how you can combine the old survey with the new possibilities of the open text field and the 2nd round. If a question leaves no room for thinking for yourself but is just a score or ticking of a predetermined answer, you leave out the 2nd round, and possibly even the text field. This can all be done in a single tool. Tips for formulating strong questions, can be found in our WhitePaper with design principles.

Analyses and results

In conclusion: the response rate and quality are higher and, more importantly in our opinion, you will achieve accurate results and a reliable interpretation of the figures. You can also further analyse the results in CircleLytics by using the unique Weighted Word Count that takes sentiment (score/selection of words) into account. This leads to completely different insights than the old word count.

Everything has an expiry date. The regular surveys you are used to, something that causes fatigue among participants and shows fragile quality, need renewal.

We would like to invite you to get to know the power of people, based on (mostly) open questions, with the CircleLytics Dialogue Solution.

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HR has to go through it every year, quarter or month, and so do the employees: the employee survey. Collecting employee scores for 10 to sometimes 80 general questions. No wonder employees are not happy with these surveys. It’s unclear what happens next, and they can’t give their real opinion. As a result, management and HR are burdened with what to do next. The big question is: what is the reason behind the survey figures? And, what will we do?

 

If you know why, you can anticipate

In the meantime, 200+ organisations have worked with employees to find out the why, their true opinions, the story behind the figures. The story of the people themselves. Especially now that employees combine home and office, and are seriously considering changing jobs, it is even more important to know what really matters to them. General questions with a score do not give us that answer. The next step is to start talking to your employees.

 

HR Director: “Gallup research has shown for years that employees are more motivated if they are allowed to express their opinion. That turned out to be a real goldmine in our organisation.”

 

In dialogue, you can really listen

The questions you ask your partner, friends and family are not limited to multiple choice and scoring questions. Why, then, are they used for employees? From now on, you can also enter into dialogue with employees using open questions. When you use open questions, you tell your employees that you trust them, that you invite them to be open, and that you show you’re interested. Open questions will get you answers that matter, that make the difference, that give insight. Check out our white paper with all the design principles for formulating solid open questions.

 

He who asks, receives. And then? 

Our customers, mainly HR and management teams, use CircleLytics to ask open questions to 10 to 100,000 employees. We are 100% inclusive; everyone simply participates via a link. The answers may be given anonymously. Afterwards, they can see the anonymous answers of others and indicate whether they find them valuable or not. This ensures structure and priority.

 

What is the result of listening to employees?

Happy employees. You take them seriously and that makes an impression. What’s more, you learn a whole lot from what they say, how they solve problems, and how they make improvements visible. Just because you ask them. Management is very enthusiastic about this because they now understand what lies behind the figures and HR gives them the information they need to make better decisions.

Interested in the CircleLytics online dialogue? Visit our website

 

Maurik Dippel, CEO, Co-Founder

CircleLytics

Royal HaskoningDHV has 5,700 employees worldwide, spread over 30 countries; about half of these employees work in or from the Netherlands. We provide services in the fields of aviation, buildings, energy, industry, infrastructure, maritime, mining, transport, urban and rural development and water.

A works council consisting of 13 members has been established for Royal HaskoningDHV Nederland. Specific committees have been established for each of the Business Lines and for the joint Corporate Groups.

Motive: good advice

We were not specifically looking for new ways to talk to our employees. During a training course on professionalizing the Works Council, Winfried Bouts of the WissemaGroup drew our attention to the CircleLytics tool (at the time still under the name CouncilWise). We are continuously working on the further professionalization of the Works Council and contacts with constituents are an important part of this. The CircleLytics online dialogues enable us to improve our effectiveness in contacting constituents.

Anonymous, broadly applicable and based on equality

In addition to the online dialogues, we send out a Works Council news flash every 6 weeks in which we report on the subjects that the Works Council has been working on. We also have intranet pages with all kinds of information about the Works Council. In addition, we publish the reports of the Works Council meetings and the advice and consent letters on this page. And, we regularly organize on-site constituency meetings and attend advisory group meetings. The committees are also an important link in our contact with the constituents; they collect input from the workplace for their consultations with the Business Line management. The online dialogues are, however, anonymous, everyone from the relevant target group can participate on an equal basis, and they also listen to each other in the 2nd round. This is another level of communication and interaction with the constituency.

How do you apply CircleLytics’ online dialogue?

We try to use the online dialogues once a month to discuss a current theme or a spearhead of the Works Council. Or we choose a theme that has been suggested by employees in previous online dialogues. In other words, with each online dialogue they can draw our attention to subjects that may have a broader impact. We set up this monthly online dialogue among employees in the Netherlands. Or, where necessary or convenient, we launch a specific topic among a certain group of employees (for example, per Business Line). You can also set up online dialogues among all employees and then make all kinds of breakdowns. Because not all employees in the Netherlands speak Dutch, the online dialogues are bilingual: in Dutch and in English.

Royal Haskoningdhv

We share the top five results of the online dialogues in the Works Council Newsflash. We discuss these top five with our management and the relevant persons/units (for ex., the Corporate Group Communications & Brand or Human Resources Management).  The content and timing of the online dialogues is also coordinated in advance with Communications & Brand; we all have our own responsibilities and want to keep each other informed, also because the company conducts surveys among employees.

The results of the online dialogues are discussed during Works Council meetings and consultation meetings with the Executive Board and – if relevant – in the consultation with the Supervisory Board.

 

What do the online dialogues get you?

These online dialogues:

  • will give the Works Council much greater legitimacy in bringing issues to the attention of management and will ensure that there is greater support for the Works Council’s views. The results will help us to have an (even) better discussion with management about the choices we need to make regarding the future of Royal HaskoningDHV.
  • will ensure that the Works Council is better informed of what is going on in the organization.
  • increase employee engagement, both with the organization and the participation process. It also increases inclusiveness within the organization
  • will lead to informed, good conversations with management and HR.

High appreciation of employees

In general, the employees appreciate the tool. This is evident from the high level of participation and the high rating of the tool, which is asked at the end.

We also receive reactions as a result of the online dialogues, which show that topics are being discussed and are starting to become (even) more alive in the organization.

The organization’s potential is surfacing

The results of these online dialogues make the Works Council a fully-fledged discussion partner because we know very well what is going on in the organization. The results also underpin and strengthen our views, giving management a clear idea of what is going on. Furthermore, by using CircleLytics, the potential knowledge present in the organization is much better utilized. Based on the results of the online dialogues, management and the works council can better assess the impact of the choices that are made and, as a result, the decision-making process of the management and works council is strengthened.

And besides: it’s just fun to do!!!

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Rules. Which ones really hinder employees, do we understand why, and can we solve them? How do you as a works council, HR, manager or CEO ensure that employees actively think about this, come up with ideas and help set priorities? After all, they know exactly what it is that frustrates them every day.

I remember a lecture on Mintzberg and the usefulness of bureaucracy to manage chaos in growing organizations. Today, it is thought that we need to be flexible, embrace bottom-up decision-making, servant leadership and agility precisely because markets are so fickle. Onward! Right? Down with rules, then? Freedom and trust so we can be creative and solve problems together? As Seth Godin pointed out in his book and TED talk Tribes, people are most easily led in the direction they always wanted to go. In a McKinsey study on stability versus agility, the authors state that modern leadership is the art of removing procedures, structures, and rules that get in the way of change, and keep what is needed.

And which rules and procedures should remain? Which ones are in the way of people changing in a direction they have wanted to go for a long time? 

The remarkable thing is that we don’t really appreciate change. At least, not if we have no influence on it, have no part in it, or have no co-ownership of it. We shy away from change when we have no role in it, according to, for example, research from the American Psychology Association on Well-Being. Stress increases as employees see the values they implicitly live and work by threatened. And vice versa. Values are therefore smarter to deploy than rules! Netflix discovered this much earlier. They follow a very simple rule: Avoid Rules! People over Process! However, a close examination reveals that Netflix only allows rules if something can lead to irreversible damage. Netflix apparently allows a margin of error, so to speak, to learn. Fail fast often is what start-ups and gurus like Gary Vaynerchuk sometimes say. So do we. And rules hold back this learning process.

In his book Doorbreek uw bedrijfscultuur (Break through your company culture), Rudy Snippe talks about the self-referential ability of organizations. They maintain their own system, and rules, and confirmative bias ensures that people are mainly open to signals that confirm them right and do not threaten their already existing perception or views. Managers or employees who say: “this is the way it has to be, because those are the rules, don’t ask me why” or “it doesn’t work that way here” are not wanted by anyone, except your competitor. Well, not even them..

There is evidence that €5 billion of administrative burden is wasted in the healthcare sector in the Netherlands alone. It’s quite bold to state that this ‘can therefore be scrapped’, because rules also provide structure, support accountability and make risks transparent and manageable. And last but not least, the legislator also wants to see all kinds of things complied with, such as requirements for a license, tender, etc.

Do we leave it at that? No, definitely not. What if you had a smart online dialogue twice a year and asked your employees which rule they think could be abolished and why? What if you could let employees respond to each other’s ideas, and you would know which ones could potentially be abolished, and more importantly, why? What if you also asked which rule allows them to do their work in a stable and structured way?

One of our clients tackled the ‘rules’ topic by simply asking its employees (nearly 3,000 employees) to name rules that only bother them and the organization and do not benefit the client. The outcome was clear and could be divided into:

1 rules that hinder employees from doing their jobs and unexplainably still exist;

2 rules that are inconvenient, but serve a purpose;

3 rules that need to be looked at more seriously but have the appearance of not being so.

Anything under 1 can be simplified or removed after further analysis. Note the chain effect: ask the question where the rule got its origin. Do we still understand if the rule is outdated and unnecessary? Conduct further online dialogue in a small(er) group if necessary.

Anything under 2 is explained in more detail. Apparently, the main thing you need to make clear to employees is that these rules exist and why compliance is necessary. Realize that they apparently didn’t know that. Therefore, go over why they didn’t know that? Why are there rules that are unknown, untrained, and/or untraceable? You can also train important rules smartly with groups of employees via dilemmas. Contact us if this appeals to you.

Finally, anything that falls under 3 should be analysed more closely. You can have deeper online dialogues with the group that identified these rules to clarify what to do with them. Again, what is the origin, why don’t we understand why we have these rules?

You get the idea. Clearing clutter and making important rules visible are both necessary. Something you simply can’t pass up. You don’t want to wait for this: you either want to get rid of rules or see them enforced. There is nothing in between, in our opinion. So neither work, nor the customer, nor your employee falls between two stools.

How do we proceed: We can set up a program with your organization or department for the above challenges. You will have the first results with groups of 10 employees up to 10,000s within 2 weeks.  You will be amazed to see the results: a quick return on investment. This will not only be reflected in money and agility, but also in higher employee satisfaction and commitment. The best companies in the world, have a foundation based on the commitment of employees. At the time, not the CEO of IKEA, but an employee came up with the idea of removing the legs of the LÖVET table, in order to develop “flat packaging” as a smart, customer-friendly logistics solution. Don’t underestimate employees, they have ideas, they want to improve their work and they know which rules can be thrown out and which ones are badly needed better than anyone.

Fancy a challenge? Contact us today to get started tomorrow.

Vragen

 What are right questions to ask employees? And how do you get more insight from the participants’ answers? How and why did they come to their choice? What is the real underlying story? Or does that linger under the surface?

The right questions will lead to a successful round of questions

Asking the right questions sounds simple, but it’s not. Countless surveys you have ever distributed as an organization show this. The response rate is low, the answers hardly give the desired results and the frustrations of employees only increase because they have the feeling that ‘nothing is being done’ with their response.

Therefore, we won’t use the word survey. We talk about challenging, listening to each other, working together, where the approach is to engage in a conversation with each other. In question rounds, the right questions are critical to making a question round successful. By successful we mean; whether the outcomes lead to solutions that contribute to the purpose of the questions.

Coming up with questions is difficult

We found that many organizations struggle with asking the right questions. To this end, we conducted research in recent years at dozens of organizations with many tens of thousands of employees, examined studies and designed 100s of questions. We asked them how they are doing, what could be improved or even what needs to be improved.

The 2nd unique round of CircleLytics is used to challenge and inspire each other to think deeper about the questions presented. Organizations such as Fivoor, Inspectorate for Health Care and Youth, Movisie, Unilever, Municipality of Utrecht, HR Community, RSM (global) and several others engaged in a dialogue with employees and their network in this way.

In recent months, dozens of organizations have surveyed 10,000 employees about how they are doing, and what could or should be improved, including what work can be done at home, or not, and why? How much of the work should be done at home, how much at the office? What do employees want, what do they demand? How much room does the labour market allow for not meeting the employees’ demands or wishes? Will employees continue to have the same wishes and demands when it comes to working at home or in the office? What if this changes? What is the influence of the government and social developments when it comes to choices regarding working at home or at the office?

Together with several client organizations, we designed questions, did research and read studies. As a result, we designed top-notch dialogue questions for you and your organizations. You can use these unchanged, enrich them or you can make a selection.

People, society and organizations are currently facing unprecedented circumstances. Insecurities regarding health, finances, jobs and a future for you and your environment go hand in hand. In addition, home and office work must be combined and that in itself is complex enough without corona . Societies and countries are also under pressure to keep their heads above water, to be accountable to parliament and citizens and to ensure that healthcare is or will be up to standard, to offer confidence to all. And then there is the labour market, accessibility of offices, cost of office space versus working from home, etc. Organizations are already making different choices, like Lloyd’s and Goldman Sachs do in this article.

In this sense, we are part of a great experiment in which many people and agencies have opinions, point to each other and are constantly confronted with new, mostly uncertain information. Uncertainty and forms of social isolation can lead to stress and mental problems that transcend normal absenteeism. This can result in a serious loss of confidence, commitment and productivity.

CircleLytics has developed top-notch questions that allow the leadership of the organization, HR, the works council and all employees together to determine what is going well, and what can or must be improved. Contrary to the various corona surveys, the CircleLytics questions reveal the scores: why and how employees think about ‘how to do better’. This provides deeper insights into how to make sound decisions compared to using scores from an old-fashioned survey. It also results in collaboration: employees learn from each other and listen to each other. Something that is desperately needed in these times of little social interaction.

People need trust and connection. You increase this by taking them seriously, showing them that their opinions matter and connecting them in the 2nd round.

We designed a set of questions for dialogues with managers and a set for dialogues with employees. These questions are incorporated into CircleLytics and can be used immediately. We recommend that you don’t limit the dialogue with your people to just one because conditions, markets and uncertainties are constantly changing. You can enrich the questions with matters that apply specifically to you.

An example question:

“To what extent is information from leadership clear and available to you?”

Enrich this question with, for example, the following:

“And please indicate what improvement you see for a higher score next time.”

Or:

“And please explain your score with a recent, clear and telling example.”

Another example question:

“What is the biggest challenge in leading your team when you work from home?”

Enrich this question with, for example, the following:

“Describe a situation that other executives can learn from the most.”

or you can give even more direction to the participant:

“In answering this question, don’t focus on video conferencing/IT but on the social side of your work.”

The first round of questions will generate scores and quality answers. These serve as input for the second round of questions in the Circlelytics dialogue. This is how we challenge participants to think more deeply about the questions presented earlier. They learn from each other and listen to each other. This brings about collaboration and creates support for final decisions. A dialogue emerges and the power of an organization’s collective intelligence now comes to the fore.

Ask it!

Ask managers and employees the right questions, show that their opinion matters and connect them in the second round of questions, so that you can respond as an organization to the real needs that are felt by employees. The right questions help management, Human Resources, the works council and all employees to gain more insight into what is already going well, what can be improved and what really needs to change. And make sure you repeat these rounds of questions regularly, because circumstances are constantly changing.

Looking for more information on these dialogues for your employees and/or managers and are you ready increase your insight immediately? Then email us and start your Proof-of-Concept today.

 

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After becoming a Works Council member, you still want to be able to easily consult your constituents, ie. your colleagues. A tool that is based on data provides a solid foundation for advice from the Works Council to senior management.

We talk to Rachid Adbaili, chairman of the Central Works Council of Unilever and Jacqueline Lafranca, official secretary of the Central Works Council Unilever. Unilever has a Central Works Council in the Netherlands and also a local Works Council at each location in the Netherlands.

“We deploy CircleLytics’ dialogue on a regular basis. Employees elect the members of the (Central) Works Council and we represent them, yet we also find it very important to be able to easily consult them. The results of the dialogue also enable us to substantiate our advice to senior management on the basis of data.”

See the entire interview here, or just read on.

Rapid deployment to reach decisions based on facts

A great example of how quickly you can arrive at data-driven decisions is when our European organization was divided into clusters. We were asked for advice and within two weeks, a dialogue was initiated via CircleLytics with the employees involved. Not only did we ask for their advice anonymously; we also explicitly invited them to write down their comments. And obviously we asked for what the dialogue is known for: weighing and responding to each other’s input in the 2nd round.

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We presented the data collected from the dialogues to management. Management then used this in its internal communication towards the employees. The results were also shared with the management team as input for the renewed organizational structure. In this way, the Supervisory Board also immediately had a good picture of what was really going on in the organization.

Underlying concerns and demonstrable support also emerge

The dialogue not only shows people’s thoughts; it also shows which thoughts are supported and reveals people’s concerns. For example, people who wonder what change will mean for them. This is extremely valuable information for us, and we pass it on to management who can then respond to this.

Practical applicability

We can indicate parameters in CircleLytics and after the second round the results are clearly displayed. For example, you can immediately extract a Top 5 and Bottom 5 and, based on the data, clear graphs and additional substantiation are generated. You can also show certain quotes from people – anonymously – for example to senior management. This measurement will provide a solid foundation for a conversation or advice.

We are very satisfied with the support from the CircleLytics team. Especially in the beginning, you’re still searching for answers and it’s great if you can get help in formulating good questions. We always look at how we can formulate questions in a way that is as neutral as possible and really gets people thinking, without influencing them.

The additional characteristics of the participants, which you build into the dialogue, are also very useful. Once you filter the results by these characteristics (such as department, years of service, age category, region) and distil a top 5, you can be more precise in the advice. We now also include these in the advice.

We chose to do this in our own branding with our own logo, completely separate from Unilever, and with an external tool. We have a high response rate, and our employees really appreciate that we ask for their opinion.

Our advice to colleagues in participation bodies

In an ever-changing environment, CircleLytics is an ideal tool for us to consult our colleagues remotely. We can reach a large group of people online and give quick feedback to HR and management based on data. Previously, consulting consisted of many meetings and you only had a fraction of the input you now have.

The speed and the advice that is proven to be supported by the majority is also a major advantage of the online dialogue. You can expect participation bodies to use such tools more often in order to provide faster feedback with correct data.

Should you be interested in a demo for your management, HR and / or participation body, please contact us.

Since 1 January 2018, Aventurijn, Palier and de Kijvelanden have formed one new organization: Fivoor. Fivoor provides a regional offer of forensic and intensive psychiatric care.

Jeroen Gast, board member at Fivoor: “We chose and are choosing modern, participative leadership and want a top-down and bottom-up approach. In a continuous dialogue we keep in touch with employees regarding various topics in order to maintain a broad support base within the organization. With this goal in mind, we set to work.”

Pieter de Man, HR director explains, “After the merger, the organization was large, geographically dispersed and three different cultures came together. That was a challenge. Yet the ambition was immediately clear: we don’t just want underlying works councils, we want a broad support base and broad participation throughout the organization. Our employees are well-trained professionals, very articulate and they like to share their thoughts, we like to make use of that.”

Based on this ambition, Fivoor started looking for a solution and approach that could support them in the continuous dialogue and connection with their employees. After comparing various participation solutions, they ended up with CircleLytics, because this online dialogue is the only solution with 2 rounds, taking up a few days each time. This ensures that not only dialogue with employees takes place, but also dialogue between employees. Maurik Dippel, CircleLytics Director: “CircleLytics dialogues provide participants with 3 steps: giving your opinion, valuing other opinions, and being allowed to adjust your opinion. It turns out that participants are very open to the opinions of others and learn a lot from them. Of course, they then think more deeply about your question and usually adjust their opinion. Reflection, in other words. Really think and listen better. And because it’s anonymous, hierarchy, time pressure, weird looks, impatience, extra/introversion, working at home or in the office, or who you are just don’t play a role anymore.”

Now, some two years later after commissioning the online dialogue as a tool and strengthening our participatory organizational culture, we look back at the experiences and results for support and employee engagement within Fivoor.

Reina Schot, Works Council chair: “We have set up various digital dialogues within Fivoor. For example, we gather ideas about safety in the workplace from within the organization and then we test them against the employees to find the best possible solutions. But we also use the dialogue to draw our employees’ attention to subjects such as vitality and schedules for New Year’s Eve. This is how we create greater involvement in our decision-making, so that employee participation really takes place together.”

When the topic in the dialogue is close to the employees and they are dealing with it on a daily basis, we see that there is more response, greater involvement and a better substantive dialogue. We can only applaud that. It is then up to us to give proper feedback to the employees and show that their feedback or idea is actually implemented. That way, they feel heard.

Of course, it’s not always a success story. One dialogue was, in retrospect, too broadly formulated in terms of questions; we received less response. We learned from that. How do you design the question? How much space do you give, how much guidance? Do you also add a quantitative scale? Do you repeat the dialogue after a few months? Who do you ask as participants, a team, a department, everyone?

Gast: “We see the digital dialogue as an indispensable fulfilment of our corporate culture and being a good employer. The importance of asking the right questions and properly feeding back results and decisions to employees is a learning process that is still part of our growth.”

Partly because we value our managers and professionals and use this dialogue, we experience high engagement among employees. We ask for feedback, let them choose and together they come up with an explosion of creativity. Schot: “You just don’t get that with a traditional survey anymore. We value their opinion. After all, they know a lot about it and have to deal with all the challenges on a daily basis. We use that response to get to work.”

Gast: “For us, having dialogues are inseparable from modern leadership. Because of the distance and the large number of locations, the content of the dialogue is guaranteed in this digital way. We can now continue to build our organization in a qualitative, engaged way.” Interested in a demonstration of the online dialogue? For example, to follow up on an employee survey and really zoom in? Or to get and keep employees involved in organizational change, and many other applications? As a Works Council, HR, management or jointly?  Then get in touch with Maurik Dippel.

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We use the dialogue to collect the opinion of our constituents

“The dialogue helps us to get the opinions of our constituents and place them where they belong in our organization; with the director, with the teams.”

A Central Works Council wants to talk to its constituents. The challenge within our organization Politie Nederland is that we wanted a representative group within all disciplines to have their say. However, in a large organization with over 65,000 employees, many of whom also work on the street, that’s quite an effort.

Until we deployed the dialogue. The response rate for this tool is high, giving us a representative picture of what is going on within the organization. At the same time, it is also possible to start a dialogue within a certain discipline about subjects that are specifically intended for them.

Ground-breaking success
The dialogue we put out within our organization shortly after New Year’s 2018 brought us immediate success. We felt that much more violence had been used against our employees than the figures showed that had been publicly disclosed. We asked our employees in the dialogue about their experiences and found that many colleagues had not reported the situations involving violence. When we asked why, we received various reasons: from administratively cumbersome to, well, it’s part of the job. We immediately started working on this.

Based on the dialogue, we were able to make a good case for why the numbers were wrong. The results did not remain internal. The influence of the results of the dialogue reached far, even the Lower House. The result is that fireworks bans and tackling violence against emergency service workers are now higher on the priority list and have led to measures.

Giving your opinion safely
The dialogue is fully anonymized, secure and in line with the GDPR and privacy laws. This is a prerequisite if you want to receive honest answers. Employees answer one or a few challenging, focused questions in the first round. In the second round, they respond to statements and ideas from their colleagues, which initiates a conversation. This subsequently result in a ranking of what gets the most support and why, which provides qualitative insights, as the reasoning behind how and why is also addressed.

We get to see the results at group level. Based on predefined criteria such as age group, units and functions, we can filter more insights from the results. This provides interesting and specific information for us, for administrators and for teams. The dialogue can be used by multiple parties.

Not common
It is not common to purchase software. Yet there was no doubt about the need. We first presented it to our own ICT department to keep it in-house, but it turned out to take much more time and money than expected to realize something comparable. The CircleLytics instrument had already proven its strength and the CircleLytics team is a partner who shares ideas and helps refine smart questions.

The dialogue helps us to pick up the opinions of our constituents and put them where they belong in our organization, with the director, with the teams.

Full video with Rob den Besten:

Contact our team if you would like to learn how your employees and organization can benefit from CircleLytics’ online dialogue. You can find more information on the employee participation page.

 

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Intelligente PDCA

The hard truth is that if you want to take your organization into the future with innovations, your organization needs to be a learning organization:

On the basis of a unique data set covering 2000 Danish private firms, it is demonstrated that firms combining several of the organizational traits of the learning organization are much more prone to introducing new products than others.” (Peter Nielsen and Bengt-Åke Lundvall, Aalborg University).

One of the critical ingredients for creating a learning organization is ensuring that there is a feedback culture.  Because let’s face it, how do you learn without asking for feedback?

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Based on our experience we’ve compiled 5 questions you need to ask yourself to evaluate if you’ve got a feedback culture:

  1. Has your leadership identified and communicated the most important competencies needed for the future?

Yes, it’s important to have a vision.  Steve Jobs, ex-CEO, of arguably the most innovative company of this decade, Apple Computer, has been quoted saying, “I skate to where the puck is going to be”.  Having a vision is knowing where that puck is going to be.  But getting to the puck requires identifying those competencies you need in your organization to get there.  Identify your most important competencies and monitor how good you are by getting feedback on them.

  1. Does Your Leadership Regularly Ask for Feedback on strategy, obstacles or ways to accelerate progress?

Do your most senior leaders continually ask for feedback?  “Walk the talk” and demonstrate that without feedback you don’t learn.  This starts at the highest level (McKinsey). Leaders who don’t ask for feedback regularly, are really saying to their employees: “You don’t need to be open to learning to get to my position.” It also works the other way around: people perceive you as more competent when you ask for their feedback and opinion. Gallup and Bersin of Deloitte already explained to their management that making employees’ opinions count actually drives their engagement. That’s what we call a win-win!

  1. Do you have an easy tool for getting frequent feedback, askingopen questions that matter most?

We believe that the days of just-a-survey-and-a-dashboard are over. In our mobile device lifestyle, we handle 65% of our emails on our mobile device.  That means that your request for feedback, ideas, solutions, will be handled safely on any device, at the employee’s most convenient time. Make sure your employees can take their time to respond; slowing them down will crack your puzzle faster.

Evidence also shows that firms seldom learn and innovate alone.  Innovation requires open cooperation and an inquisitive mind (read for example the book “A More Beautiful Question” from Warren Berger).  Learning is very much an outside-inside process.

 

  1. Do you embed feedback into your business processes and easily enable growth?

We’re in a learning economy now, which means that globalization, deregulation and information technology has created an environment with more intense competition, rapid transformation and change. A VUCA world. To compete in such an economy, the ability to identify the competencies you need, and attain them (whether by yourself or by adding others to your team) is crucial to the performance of organizations.  Make sure continuous feedback and dialogue becomes a habit, instead of an incident.

  1. Do you have a way to enable the sharing of knowledge and insights to improve collaboration?

Organizations can learn only as fast as the slowest link learns. Change is hindered unless an organization can enable knowledge to be shared. In feedback and learning organizations, knowledge flows freely, and talent becomes visible and what we call “liquid”.  “The best performing teams have talent that comes together in a complementary way. Teams must tap the potential for many minds to be more intelligent than one mind, the collective intelligence. If teams learn, they become a microcosm for learning throughout the organization” (The Fifth Discipline, Peter M. Senge, MIT), or superorganism as others call it. We believe this can only be achieved when social collaboration mechanisms are in place, an ecosystem for people to accelerate their growth, together.

Our first step, together with you, could be to evaluate your feedback culture in your organization by engaging your employees in a series of pulse dialogues. Collect their feedback and thoughts, and make them rethink matters like: “What’s the main obstacle in the organization we could take away together so that it become open to feedback and why do you think so?” or “What’s your best example of compliments in our organization that made a difference for your motivation?”, etc. This will clarify how, when and in what context feedback and recognition can be introduced, and identify the work that needs to be done. Feedback is worth a lot, yet very complex, no matter what others say.  Together, we will work out the steps to introduce a sublime feedback culture.

MaurikDippel, co-founder of CircleLytics.

+31 (0)611 78 80 47

 

The works council of Reclassering NL has been working with CircleLytics’ dialogue solution for works councils and employee participation for some time.

  1. What does employee engagement accomplish for you?

More diversity and spread of respondents and their responses. It also supports the dialogue with both the director and the constituents.

  1. Mention a theme or themes as an example of how you deployed CircleLytics, and the resulting benefits.

Fast and direct feedback on the progress of setting up casuistry and intervision for specific groups of employees. This made it possible to quickly identify the regions in which this had not yet got off the ground sufficiently. After 6 months, almost the same repeat question showed that the interventions had delivered results.

  1. Are there other areas imaginable where employee engagement can be used?

Yes, in various domains within and outside the direct role of participation, perception and judgement of management takes place. This is now filtered and takes place almost without details. We would also find this form of dialogue interesting via feedback panels on fixed topics, regular monitoring or in real time during meetings. This is more in line with the ‘bottom-up’ approach promoted.

  1. Why should other organizations work with CircleLytics?

It is a simple but effective way to quickly and concretely collect feedback from (groups of) employees. It is very important to form good perceptions and judgments that result in decision making that is better supported.

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