Often with medium and large size companies, the Human Resources group will field an employee survey. There are three things that I have seen done with those surveys that make them very valuable tools in gauging the quality of the leadership in individual departments and divisions.
1.) All Employees Should Participate in the Survey – In many organizations, HR simply sends out the forms and typically get 50% or so participation. Hence, you just don’t know how reliable the results are. To trust the findings, you need to have all employees fill out and submit the survey. Technology can provide a big help here. The survey can be filled out online and security tools can be implemented that prevent connecting specific people with their responses, but can report who participated and who didn’t so HR can follow up and make sure all employees respond.
2.) Have Employees Indicate What Department They Are In – I say departments because you want the sample size to be big enough to see real differences. Typically departments are at least 100 employees or more. Maybe that is called a division in your company, but it is the sample size of around 100 or more we are after. You then have each employee indicate their department or division when filling out the survey, and again, software can enable us to make sure employee identity is protected, while also enabling us the break out the results by departments.
3.) Include Questions that Shed Light on Leadership – You want to include statement like: The goals and strategies of my department are clear? I receive regular feedback from my boss? I have confidence in the direction of my department. Each of these questions should be rated on a five point scale where: 1= strongly disagree, 2= disagree, 3=neutral, 4=agree, and 5=strongly agree.
I have seen some very significant impact with this approach. In one company I worked with, it enabled them to spot two departments that clearly needed to do a better job of selecting strategies for making progress and clearly communicating them. In another case, the core problem that was spotted was a lack of confidence in the direction for a particular department.
Leadership is critical in any organization. Having a tool to help gauge the performance in this area is highly valuable.