Data Set and Senior Management Team

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  • Topic: Data set, Management
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Ballard Integrated Managed Services, Inc., Part 2

The initial survey effort led by Debbie Horner, HR manager of Ballard Integrated Managed Services, Inc. (BIMS), did not produce useful findings. The survey had several flaws that made the majority of the results questionable. Some items were biased. A few questions were worded awkwardly, likely affecting the response. Some of the information needed was not asked, further reducing the value of the effort. Additionally, the data entry typist and general office support person made a number of errors when keying the data into the spreadsheet, compounding the poor results.

In hindsight, Debbie suggested that she should have pretested the sample instrument before issuing it to the workforce. Such a step would have likely revealed many of these problems. Further, to improve the 17.3% response rate, she should have taken different steps to encourage employee participation. Just inserting it into the payroll process did not inform employees sufficiently about the purpose and sponsor of the survey. Advance information to explain the need for gathering their views, as well as reassurances about confidentiality and anonymity, plus descriptions of how the information would be used are among the many steps that Debbie might have taken to increase the response rate.

Knowing that Barbara Tucker, general manager of the BIMS operation at the Douglas Medical Center, and the rest of the top management team were disappointed in the findings, Debbie proposed that she create a second, improved survey effort that was better planned and marketed. Although somewhat reluctant to authorize the effort for fear of creating more damage, Barbara approved the request. She felt the need to understand the current employee dissatisfaction and increased turnover rate was urgent and thus merited the continued effort.

Learning from the initial effort, Debbie designed another survey instrument. This time she circulated it among the senior management team, inviting each person to complete the survey, reading for comprehension and flow of the actual wording, as well as for completeness. A number of suggestions were made in terms of question phrasing as well as about adding new items. These ideas were incorporated into the survey design. The revised instrument was again circulated among the same group of senior managers. The group’s consensus was that the revised instrument was complete and ready to administer.

To ensure the instrument was easily understood from the employee perspective, Debbie solicited five craft workers to voluntarily pretest it as well. These five were all on noncritical medical leave, so they were able to comfortably conduct the review. Additionally, as they were currently on leave, none would be in the actual surveyed population when the study instrument was issued later that month. Each of the five had minor phrasing suggestions that Debbie incorporated. Finally, Debbie sent this last version to the senior management team for final review. It was approved unanimously (see Exhibit C for this second data collection instrument).

Then, Debbie had a sudden thought. Why interview current employees about why they might quit and about their level of satisfaction? Perhaps she should be surveying those that had already left the organization. By asking them, “Why?” she might learn more about who would quit in the future. She might be able to develop a model for predicting voluntary terminations. This indeed would be an important contribution to the company.

With this in mind, Debbie decided that her next study population would be those who voluntarily left their employment with BIMS. Given the higher than normal, and unfortunate, turnover rate, Debbie was certain that she would be able to collect the data over the next 2 to 3 months. She would ask those departing to complete the survey during their exit interview with her office. Usually the exit...
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