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“Moscow has finally come down from the sky!”or, Five ways to get employees to talk

Large companies, building a coherent and logical corporate hierarchy, often forget about the interests of ordinary employees. Hence the high turnover of staff, and the decrease in labor efficiency. Irina Matveeva, HR director of Rusklimat commercial and industrial holding, shares her experience in collecting feedback from employees in the field and explains how an open conversation can help the company become better

Two years ago, the company “Rusklimat” was faced with a serious problem. The holding company, which employs more than 5,000 people, was experiencing a severe staff turnover, and the management felt an urgent need for an influx of new talented specialists who would help increase the overall productivity and profitability of the company.

The HR policy of the holding required significant changes, but an active dialogue with the company’s staff was necessary for their implementation. At the same time, employees demonstrated extremely low engagement, ignoring corporate surveys, collecting feedback, as well as attempts to attract them to participate in corporate HR projects. Forced labor only made the situation worse.

Coming to the company at this difficult moment, my colleagues and I in the HR Department developed a special plan to correct the situation. Its implementation allowed to increase the number of participants in corporate surveys from 30 to 90 %. At the same time, almost half of the company’s employees began to participate in HR projects.

Meet all the employees

This will take a long time, especially if the company is large. But this is the only way you can understand who you are dealing with. Some of our employees work in the Central office in Moscow, so we had the opportunity to communicate with them personally. But about 60 % of the staff is located in branches, which is more than 100 cities of presence in the country. There were only 15 of us, so we created an Express schedule of skype conferences and reached 2,500 people in a month.

Separately, we spoke with the Directors of branches and, separately, with teams in each region. The most valuable reaction we received in one of the first days: instead of greeting from one of the cities, we heard: “finally, Moscow has come down from the sky!”This gave us a clear understanding that our calls are not just a formality, we saw that people need live communication.

Get immediate feedback

Make sure that people can talk about their problems at any time and get answers to their questions in a timely manner. Thanks to the skype method, we have established a single window service. Now, when any problems arise, people contact us immediately, because they know that they will be heard. At the same time, they can use not only corporate email and phone, but also skype and messengers for quick communication.

Let people know that their opinion is important

It is necessary to convince employees that their opinion really affects the situation. People need recognition, they are ready to turn mountains if they are noticed and explain why their opinion is important.

For example, when conducting any internal research, we do not ask employees to answer our questions… We just tell people that participation in surveys is a real opportunity to point out possible growth areas to the company’s management and loudly declare needs that were not met before for some reason or were simply not visible “from the outside”. The results of surveys that are passed “uncut” to the owners and management of the company can have a lot of impact. Thanks to this communication, we have implemented a number of excellent projects. For example, we launched a large-scale recreation area in the Central office, produced an impressive circulation of corporate products, and made several global changes to business processes.

Ensure safety

If employees are afraid to give feedback for fear of a negative reaction from the top, it is better to make all surveys anonymous, giving people security guarantees and observing them in a hundred percent of cases.

For example, you can use online resources that will ensure the peace of mind of the interviewees. At the initial stages, we really liked iAnketa — our employees could take the survey at any time convenient for them from a mobile device. This way we didn’t waste their working hours, while ensuring complete confidentiality.

Tell us about your results and plans

It is equally important to regularly inform the team about positive changes in the company that were influenced by the employees themselves, as well as about plans to make the company better with their help.

For example, we conduct large-scale PR campaigns within the holding company every six months. As practice has shown, it is especially effective to do this in summer and winter. We talk about the victories and achievements of individual employees, entire teams and the company as a whole, as well as remind you of the goals for the upcoming period, which we are approaching thanks to the participation of everyone. Such communication channels as corporate radio and TV, corporate portal, social networks, chats in popular messengers, as well as mailing lists and advertising posters both in the Central office and in the company’s representative offices throughout the country help us achieve the necessary effect.

The most important thing is to create a single information field for everyone: office employees, production staff, as well as those who work in the “fields”.

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