June 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 2 
Main Feature

Let's take action

Revised Employee Survey aims to address engagement, gauge impact of feedback

The Boeing Employee Survey and Employee Satisfaction Index have existed in their current form for 10 years.

But a 2004 review of the survey indicated there was a lot of variability in the process, and the rate of improvement in survey scores was unsatisfactory.

As a result, the 2005 Employee Survey, which is now available for employees' input through June 28, will be changed from past versions. Among the key differences is that this year's survey will aim to measure employee engagement.

"We are changing the survey to make it more actionable so that employees can see direct links between their feedback and managers' actions," said Rick Siem, the Employee Survey team leader. "And the Employee Survey will continue to provide benchmarking with other companies and trend data."

Other new features in the 2005 Employee Survey:

  • There will be fewer questions.
  • The Employee Satisfaction Index metric will begin to be phased out.
  • The survey includes more-targeted questions that allow managers to take action, based on the questions' results.
  • The questions are more focused on employee engagement, which has proven correlations with improved business results.
  • New decision support tools for managers will be released with the survey results.
  • The Employee Survey will now be conducted every other year (rather than annually), with a very brief "Action" survey conducted in the alternate years.

Why every other year?

The switch to a biennial survey gives managers the time to interpret survey results, develop and implement action plans, and measure the results. The annual-survey format didn't give managers sufficient time to fully implement changes before the survey process started over again. In addition, the biennial format, which is used at other benchmarked companies, reduces the survey's costs.

To supplement the biennial survey, Boeing will conduct a short, more focused "Action" survey in alternate years that asks employees if they are seeing results based on their survey feedback.

However, managers are encouraged to continue diagnosing issues, developing action plans and measuring results on an ongoing basis, because employee feedback is received in multiple ways beyond the Employee Survey.

The goal: Improvements

In 2004, Boeing had a companywide survey participation level of 74.2 percent. Since all full- and part-time employees worldwide are invited to participate (including those at some subsidiaries), Employee Survey leaders said that response rate is good.

However, these representatives added that Boeing values every employee's opinions and that the company would like to get as close to 100 percent participation as possible.

"The goal really has two parts: getting feedback from everyone and doing something meaningful with it," said Jill Antonen, an Employee Relations specialist in Seal Beach, Calif.

"Frankly, the Survey focals feel that it would be better to have 80 percent survey participation with companywide responses to make improvements, than to get 99 percent participation and then the data goes into a drawer," Antonen said. "It's not just about the numbers, although we do need to have a form of measurement, but to really create the environment where employees can be fully engaged. The focus of the survey is on action."

For more information, visit the Employee Survey site at http://employeesurvey.web.boeing.com/flash.html (internal only) on the Boeing Web.

—Ruth Savolaine


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