White Papers

  • Employee Focus Group Best Practices

    Conducting focus groups is a common, qualitative research methodology employed by many organizations, practitioners, and researchers. However, depending on your research question, employee focus groups may not be the most appropriate or effective data gathering approach. Based on research and our collective experience, this white paper presents best practices in focus group research and includes sections on the advantages and disadvantages of focus groups, focus group administration, participation sampling strategies, asking questions, research and facilitation tips, and recommendations for summarizing results.

  • What is Employee Engagement?

    Do you have a pulse on your people? Employee engagement is key to business success, yet many organizations fail to robustly understand and assess engagement relative to their specific context nor do they have a thorough grasp on the various approaches toward doing so. This paper provides a brief summary of the history of engagement, outlines popular frameworks and definitions, and addresses best practices in assessing employee engagement while also providing our unique perspective and approach to understanding employee engagement; helping organizations unlock the door to increased engagement, productivity, and positive business results.

  • What is an Employee Value Proposition and Why Does it Matter?

    Is your organization clear about why employees want to work there? Does your organization offer employees the things they value most? A variety of workforce and business factors are challenging organizational approaches to attracting, engaging, and retaining key talent which translates into difficulties of differentiating, defining, articulating, and communicating an organizations' competitive advantage to recruit and retain top-performing talent. Organizations that understand their employee value proposition and are intentional about strengthening it will be more effective in not only attracting new talent, motivating and engaging current employees but in achieving other important business outcomes. Based on research and our experience, this white paper outlines what the employee value proposition is, why it matters, how to avoid common pitfalls and how be more strategic in measuring and leveraging your employee value proposition.

  • Why Does Organizational Culture Matter in Mergers and Acquisitions?

    Research on the success/failure rates of mergers and acquisitions indicates that between 55-77% of all mergers and acquisitions fail. Organizational culture plays a key role in the success of mergers and acquisitions, thus approaching mergers and acquisitions from an organizational culture perspective provides a systems view on the interdependent components that need to work together to ensure success. This white paper outlines the important ways that organizational culture makes mergers and acquisitions more difficult, outlines our approach to culture assessment and comparison in the merger and acquisition process, and discusses the importance of redesigning processes, leadership, and communication in optimizing merger and acquisition success.

  • Voluntary vs. Involuntary Surveys

    A common research question for conducting surveys and assessments is should we require participation? Research supports that voluntary participation is better, resulting in greater trust in those systems and more open and honest feedback. However, there are some cases where involuntary feedback may be warranted and necessary. This white paper offers a research-based answer plus practical applications and experience to explore the issue of voluntary versus involuntary participation.

  • Developing Competency Models

    Competency modeling is becoming a popular methodology in organizations due to recent research and design improvements that have successfully linked competencies to performance. They are also useful tools on which to base employee measurement and inform organizational people systems. This white paper introduces the concept of competency modeling, the different approaches to competency modeling, and outlines our approach to competency development.

  • What is Organizational Culture and Why Does it Matter?

    Organizational culture is a hot topic; intuitively people understand that culture matters yet few companies have spent the time to be intentional about culture. Culture is the root of all behavior in an organization and studying your organizational culture allows for a deeper understanding of the culture, more specificity in articulating cultural aspects are helping and hindering the organization, and a way to determine the specific aspects of the culture. This white paper takes an in depth look at organizational culture, why it's important, how it differs from organizational climate, and our approach to organizational culture assessment.

  • Reporting Statistically Significant Results (Statistics Series)

    Whether or not statistically significant differences in employee survey results should be reported to managers is a frequent issue in survey reporting. The survey industry short answer is No. This white paper explores and illustrates the fundamental issues surrounding the question of reporting statistically significant differences, based on research and best practice. Practical guidance is offered in terms of at which levels statistically significant difference should be reported.

Case Studies

  • Performance Management System Effectiveness

    This case example describes a program evaluation process, over several administrations, for a company's performance management system. Beginning with the business context and detailed background of the performance management systems evolution, steps to measuring effectiveness are described in detail. Several outcomes are discussed related to the program evaluation and research related to testing potential program changes.

  • Competency Model For Managers

    This case study takes you through our approach to competency modeling, which we have used successfully in several organizations. Each of our competency models is created uniquely for the client to support their company's business strategy, set expectation for exemplary performance behaviors, and reinforce the organizational culture they desire. Organizational outcomes are also discussed.

  • Leadership Team Offsite

    This leadership team offsite example was specifically tailored to address a particular issue in the client organization. The approach highlighted by this case is representative of our work with leadership teams going off-site to tackle a problem using pre-work research as a basis for conversation. Other examples of off-sites are included as well as a brief description of outcomes.

  • Online 360 Process for Leaders

    This example highlights one of many 360 processes for leaders we have created for client organizations. Each 360 process we develop is tailored to the size of the leadership team we work with. These processes are often the starting point for developing other organizational systems and solutions (e.g., competency models for leaders, and input for selection processes). Outcomes of the program are also discussed.

  • Employee Engagement and Culture Survey Program

    The employee engagement and culture survey program described outlines our typical approach to full-scale organizational survey administration. Starting with the business context we describe the development of customized content, reports and feedback materials. Some cases also demand the need for managerial training to understand results and action plan. Organizational outcomes are also highlighted.

  • Merger and Acquisition Effectiveness and Culture Fit Assessment

    The program outlined in this example has successfully been used with a large local company who experiences growth through mergers and acquisitions. It highlights our approach toward measuring organizational culture, assessing culture integration, and creating reports and implementation materials as necessary. Organizational outcomes are also highlighted.

  • Start-Up Competency Model, Toolkit for HR, Employee Self-Assessment, and Hiring Practices

    This case delineates a process used with a large local company who supports internal 'start-up' groups. The development process for the competency model, self-assessment, and toolkits are detailed as well as the immediate outcomes of the program. These processes can easily be adapted and implemented in smaller start-ups to mid-size businesses supporting internal start-up groups.

  • Employee Value Proposition Program

    This is a specific example of a customized approach to measuring the employee value proposition in a company. Similar to other survey administrations, the case describes the development of content, reports, and feedback materials to this particular context. Some cases also demand the need for managerial training to understand results and action plan. The outcomes of the program are also highlighted.

  • Organizational Culture Assessment & Change Process

    This is one example of an organizational culture assessment and change process over a three year period. The change process is ongoing, as discussed in the outcomes of the program. Our approach to organizational culture assessment and the subsequent change process is highlighted here - it is unique to the organization's internal culture and business strategy.