Tapping into People


Palmer, Brien; Ziemianski, Mike   (2000, ASQ)  

Quality Progress    Vol. 33    No. 4
QICID: 13927    April 2000    pp. 74-79
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Article Abstract

Respironics, Inc., a manufacturer of medical equipment, wanted to assess the general well-being of its employees by surveying them. The development of the survey and the survey process led to the coverage of topics and the identification of uses for the survey that had not been imagined at the beginning. A team comprising a human resources manager, telemarketing specialist, staffing specialist, statistician, and quality consultant was charged with managing the survey process. The importance of good survey design was acknowledged. One of the first issues for the team was determining what questions to include in the survey. Another important element of survey design involved demographics and anonymity. Results of the survey were put into spreadsheets to facilitate analysis. Members of the survey team then helped to communicate results and the nature of improvement projects throughout the company. The team viewed the survey project as a process rather than an event, and the wording of some questions was kept constant in following surveys to track progress. Respironics found that the surveys provided useful insights into how employees perceived the company and how satisfied they were with the quality of their work life. In their continuous improvement of the survey process, the team focuses on using good design principles, asking bold questions, using survey data to inform strategic planning, acknowledging collaborative opportunities among human resources and quality professionals during the survey process, and recognizing that the survey itself represents just the beginning of a process that must be continued. Survey results must be coordinated with overall organizational strategic planning. Respironics incorporated feedback into a strategic plan for the coming fiscal year and communicated the plan to all employees as part of a formal goal setting process. Quality improvement concerns not identified by the initial survey were addressed through cross-functional projects. By breaking down the strategic plan and projects, specific initiatives were assigned to various departments and individual employees. These efforts of departments and employees were thus aligned with the strategic plan.


Case study,Design,Strategic planning,Measurement and control,Employee satisfaction

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