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Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony, 28 March 2023
Designing an Organisational Thermometer in Practice
The chance of a lifetime to launch an international career! Designing a generic organisational thermometer; aligning it with participative organisational change at the workplace level, enthusiastically supported by management. This could become a competitive game changer.
1 Main Points
- ACTEW (ACT Electricity & Water) and satisfaction indices.
- The design criteria for the ACTEW surveys.
- The attributes of an organisational thermometer and the issues involved.
- ACT Public Works & Services
2.1 ACTEW as a Case Study
The satisfaction indices arose accidentally in our Q Research work for ACTEW (ACT Electricity and Water). They wanted to look at satisfaction indices for their customers and I managed to tack on staff as well. The situation was tenuous and we certainly didn’t have any remit to pursue organisational change.
Nevertheless the marketing manager and the CEO were keen to look at satisfaction indices and we conducted them twice a year in April and October for domestic customers (what they really wanted) and once a year for large customers and staff from late 1992 to late 1994. (We also conducted a staff satisfaction index for an ACT Government Department in December 1994 with a report in January 1995.)
The work with ACTEW wasn’t sufficient to establish a baseline for staff satisfaction, but it helped ACTEW towards corporatisation. (I always thought that surveying the domestic customers twice a year was excessive but the money was good.)
I don’t think ACTEW was interested in the approach after corporatisation. I’d made my own sunset clause decision to cease involvement with Q Research and take a year overseas in February 1995 (see Karakorum Highway for the purpose of the trip).
Although customer satisfaction is unique to each organisation, staff satisfaction is generic and can be applied to any reasonably sized organisation and hence so can an organisational thermometer. ACTEW had 1370 employees when we began our satisfaction surveys.
Between late 1992 and the end of 1994 I treated the staff satisfaction indices developed at ACTEW very seriously. I was thinking of developing the tool of staff satisfaction into an organisational thermometer to take to the world.
2.2 My Choice
In every life one comes to forks in the road or choice points. For example, I married person A, but should I have married person B instead (hypothetical only). One occasionally wonders about this and what life might have been on path B, not seriously because that is dangerous. Similarly, I entertained the idea briefly, almost a daydream, of devoting a career to organisational thermometers and workplace change. Instead, Denise and I headed off to the Karakorum Highway and a year of adventure — a wonderful trip.
The organisational thermometer approach was also a unique and a wonderful opportunity. I even had a potential collaborative pathway forward. I don’t regret not doing so. Nevertheless, the opportunity still exists. Maybe someone will take it up. Continue reading “Organisational Thermometer”