Updated: Nov 3, 2021
We all had a duty last weekend to take part in the census to give the UK Government a better picture of the population in order to help with planning and funding public services in our local area. A simple form for us all to complete and also a vital tool in ensuring communities get what they need. So given its effectiveness, have you ever run a “census” within your business?
A census for businesses
Just as a census of every UK citizen gives the Government the information it needs to fund and plan for infrastructure and resourcing for the years ahead, a census of your employees could be a valuable way of ensuring you provide your workforce with everything it needs to be effective in delivering for your business, but can also identify what you are lacking in terms of motivation and engagement.
Taking the form of a simple survey, you could run it online via a tool such as SurveyMonkey, supported with encouraging internal comms and perhaps an added incentive of a prize draw. Submissions would be limited to one per employee and answers would be anonymous.
What should your census cover?
Unlike the UK census questions, you should have the personal details of your employees such as their age, working hours, addresses etc. But your business census should cover topics such as
Length of service in the company
Diversity and inclusion
Training and learning
Pay and benefits
Overall satisfaction of the company and their line manager
Would they recommend you as an employer
Try not to make it ask every question under the sun as you will have too much data and who wants to answer a load of questions about work. Just ask the key questions that you need to know.
The data would provide you with a great insight into your business and would be great basis for evaluating existing employee benefits and planning new policies or initiatives.
You may discover through analysing the data that your younger members of the workforce don’t see training opportunities or progression being available. You can then use this insight to look at training programmes or to kick start your succession planning.
A census within your business would also enable you to evaluate your current benefit scheme to test whether or not it is still fit for purpose. By revising your benefits offering to better align with your employees, you should be able to improve employee satisfaction and retention.
Survey done, now what?
Once you have conducted your census and all the information is gathered and analysed, act quickly. The sooner you can react to the findings, the more effective your actions will be, as over time, your employees views on the company will change – remember this is just a snap shot in time.
The first step upon deciding which actions you’re going to take, is to communicate your decision to the workforce. Let them get excited about how their views will be impacting the business and what you provide. The more information and data you can give to explain your decisions, the better too.
With each change, build a plan around its implementation to make sure it’s done gradually and effectively and gather feedback frequently to ensure its success. Run an audit of any new processes to make sure they are not only compliant but also fit for purpose. This way, if issues are discovered, it’s still early enough to put them right. Don’t forget to keep communicating progress and even delays with your workforce to ensure their continued engagement.
And finally, don’t wait another 10 years to do it again – start to plan another census in 18 months or 2 years time to monitor your progress.
If you missed your opportunity to take part in the 2021 census on 21st March, there is still time to enter your information here.
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