Fast and regularly relevant insight into the employee experience for De Jong & Laan
Mattijs Buitinga, HR Manager at de Jong & Laan
De Jong & Laan is a medium-sized account and tax consultancy firm with a service area that extends across the north, east and centre of the Netherlands. Once founded by two people, the company has grown to 700 employees in 2019 with more than 10,000 customers. In 2017, the organization started conducting employee satisfaction surveys (ESS) again after seven years of no ESS.
Mattijs Buitinga, HR Manager at de Jong & Laan, is clear about the reason for this long period between the two investigations. At the time, the priorities were in different areas than an ESS. In addition, we realized that a different way of measuring would be more appropriate. Specifically, we wanted to be able to access relevant insights into the perception of the employees more often and faster.
Even before a market exploration was conducted at the end of 2016 to find a company with whom the new measurement method could be implemented, the organization had a clear picture of the process to be deployed. “We wanted to get rid of an annual large survey with a long questionnaire and thick reports and instead short theme measurements in which the questions could differ per location or department. We had already defined a number of themes. Of the four agencies we spoke with, Integron turned out to be the most flexible and innovative that could deliver the required customization. ”
“In addition, Integron has a considerable track record in our industry and a benchmark that actually puts our results in a broader perspective.”
The first employee survey
Nevertheless, the best of the old method was retained in the new set-up. “The first survey that took place in mid-2017 was a regular ESS. Yet, the number of questions was reduced to 50 to prevent survey fatigue among employees. For each subject, such as the terms of employment, the direct managers and the cooperation, we asked what employees are most satisfied with and what they find most important. ”
A month after the regular ESS, it was time for the first theme measurement. “This was called “A Good Conversation” and related to our pilot of a different way of conducting conversations. The pilot was developed in consultation with a group of employees at all levels who contributed to its implementation. For some time now, we have received signals from employees that the current performance and appraisal cycle was due for renewal. We wanted to give employees more control over their own conversation. The aim was to look more forward instead of looking back and to reflect on what is going well and what could be improved. We also said goodbye to filling out score forms.
“Shortly after most employees had gained their first experience with the pilot, they all received a short questionnaire to measure their experience. In this way we quickly had the necessary relevant insights.”
Thematic surveys and ‘Are we on Track’
Three more theme measurements followed over a period of more than a year. “The first, ‘Referral Recruitment’, aimed to gain a better understanding of what stimulates or perhaps prevents our employees from recommending de Jong & Laan as an employer in their network. This is not an unnecessary luxury in a market where there is a shortage of highly qualified employees. The second theme measurement, “Vitality”, was the logical continuation. We want to bind and we want to keep our employees vital and captivated, so that they do not leave the organization. The final one, “Are We on Track”, dealt with the topics with the most improvement potential from the regular MTO. These were again submitted to the employees to determine whether the follow-up we gave them in the previous year led to the desired improvements. In this measurement we also asked again about the general satisfaction.
Priorities in the succession
De Jong & Laan called on the expertise of Integron to determine succession priorities. “The Integron Consultants have presented the results of the regular MTO to our management, partners and location leaders, and the Works Council. In response to their needs, they assisted us in interpreting this.
At this point we noticed that Integron is more than just a research agency, but also has the people in-house for more robust consultancy work. ”
“The theme measurements have a separate place in the activation route. “We have developed a dashboard solution for this. All important stakeholders have real-time insight into the research results. Thanks to the user-friendliness of the technology, we can independently analyse and report on this and then get to work. ”
De Jong & Laan received an award during the Experience Awards in 2018, the annual event where Integron celebrates its best-performing customers. “We were surprised that after the first year of our collaboration we were nominated for an award in the category ‘Financial Services’. Our joy was great when the results became known. The survey results show that more than ninety percent of employees are satisfied or very satisfied about working at de Jong & Laan. This makes it a victory for the entire organization and that is how we communicated it internally and externally. ”
De Jong & Laan will take the time to follow up on the research results of the previous measurements, but will simultaneously roll out two new themes in collaboration with Integron. “Themes that we are also going to measure continuously: the inflow phase of new employees and the outflow phase of employees who have left.”
Answers to essential questions
Looking back on the collaboration with Integron, Mattijs is delighted with the insights that the process yielded, including answers to some essential questions. “Let me mention two: what do we stand for as De Jong & Laan and why do our employees enjoy working at de Jong & Laan? In short, we are a medium-sized account and tax consultancy firm that is professional and where the employee is central at the same time. And despite the fact that we consist of 25 branches, there is a strong ‘we-culture’. This was constantly reflected in the answers of the employees. ”
“More than 350 employees took the trouble to explain their answers to these open questions in the appropriate comments box. We as an organization can be proud of this dedication. ”
As a regional player, De Jong & Laan also brings its ESS to the attention of companies in its area. “We are part of a network of organizations in our service area and we recently gave a presentation on this subject at a meeting for business relations. Our results were of course also discussed. In doing so, we enabled those present to learn from us and from each other. It was good to experience that there was a broad desire to get the best out of the employees. Ultimately, we all benefit from an enthusiastic and committed workforce. ”
This is endorsed by Robert Mentink, Consultant Employee Experience at Integron, and involved in the collaboration from the start. “During the Experience Awards, Mattijs and I were on stage together during a break-out session for more than 100 interested parties, including many HR Managers. This strategic trajectory can serve as an example for many other organizations. For us too, it has proven to be a driver of our capacity for flexibility and innovation. Talk about learning from each other. ”
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