Bureaucracy today has become a disreputable word for us, but bureaucracy was born out of a need to manage resources as organizations progressively became larger in scope. The bureaucratic system has served well not just the business world, but also the governments and armies, where it started.
As the business environment changed in last few decades, most organizations realized the need to change these systems. Customers and shareholders have forced organizations to improve their processes and speed of execution. They have punished slow moving organizations by spending money and investing in organizations that have improved the bureaucracy to serve the customers better.
The contention of this idea is that the next big wave in busting bureaucracy will come from the 3rd stakeholder- the employees.
For approx. 4 decades, most organizations adopted the employee satisfaction survey’s to listen to what their employees were saying. It was a great movement with significant potential to improve the processes and systems inside the organization.
But this potential didn’t get fulfilled for one primary reason- these surveys became a way to measure managerial effectiveness and the focus moved away from the systemic issues.
The business manager, buffeted by various staff functions policies and guidelines, along with mandates from top leaders was primarily held responsible for bad results and took the biggest brunt. No wonder, over a period of time, managers developed their own ways to play this game once a year and post results went back to the same old ways of working.
I think the annual employee satisfaction surveys are anachronistic and don’t contribute to significant improvements in organization’s way of working. Employee Net Promoter Score can be a great replacement.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) gives a great way for an organization to improve upon its processes based on what customers are asking and should replace the satisfaction surveys.
What is NPS
NPS is a feedback measurement that examines how individuals view an organization. The typical implementation of this methodology is to ask the question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [organization X] to a friend or colleague?” Respondents are asked to answer this question on an 11-point scale ranging from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Based on the responses, people are classified as either promoters (answered 9 or 10), passives (answered 7 or 8) or detractors (answered 6 or less). The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters
NPS, in organizations that have adopted it as a primary way of measuring customer satisfaction, is measured and reported out every quarter. The beauty of the metric lie in the fact that no single function has a control on it but everyone can contribute by collaborating and improving its own processes. NPS has and can lead functions to come together to solve issues that have plagued organizations in the past. When NPS has been made a part of the performance management and compensation, the improvements are quick, visible and impactful. It’s a beautiful “Bureaucracy Buster”.
The same measure can be the next big idea in busting bureaucracy that affects the employees inside the organization.
This is what I propose:
- Measure employee NPS score (How likely they are to recommend the organization as a great place to work) on a quarterly basis and report out the scores. Move away from annual employee satisfaction surveys. Don’t measure individual manager scores, evaluate scores at a business unit level and above.
- Make the performance measurement and compensation for everyone in managerial group and support functions directly linked to the Employee NPS.
- Use the findings from the survey results to challenge managerial groups (Not an individual manager) to improve upon processes and systems.
- Hold the support functions/staff functions accountable for aligning the policies to what the managerial group needs to improve the Employee NPS scores