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Pitney Bowes Survey Program Wins Workers’ Hearts and Minds

Creating new programs in response to employee needs increases organizational engagement and customer satisfaction for mail product giant. Making the survey available in various languages encourages participation.

by Randy Sterns

Committed employees are critical for business success. With a vision of significantly expanding its business over the next few years, Pitney Bowes has made fostering a highly engaged workforce an integral part of its overall business strategy.

To inspire greater employee and customer satisfaction, the company implemented an employee survey solution from Kenexa , a provider of talent acquisition and retention solutions, to measure employee engagement. By improving that process, the company gained valuable insight into employee perceptions; and by learning what resonates with employees, the organization was able to respond with effective engagement programs.

Pitney Bowes provides a comprehensive suite of mailstream software, hardware, services, and solutions to help companies manage their flow of mail, documents, and packages. With $5.6 billion in annual revenues, Pitney Bowes takes an all-inclusive view of customers’ operations, helping organizations of all sizes to optimize mailstream. With about 34,000 employees worldwide, Pitney Bowes serves more than two million businesses in 185 countries through direct and dealer operations.

Placing a high priority on attracting and retaining talent, and recognizing a highly engaged organization as a key differentiator for success, Pitney Bowes identified improving employee engagement as part of its strategic architecture. Earlier, paper-based employee surveys were executed inconsistently and did not yield accurate or timely snapshots of employees’ attitudes, perceptions, or needs, locally or globally, and inhibited responsive action.

“We were not measuring engagement on a consistent basis, and although we tried to react to information we gathered, engagement was not socialized from the highest level of the organization,” explained Andrew Gold, director of HR Innovation for Pitney Bowes. “The survey was an event rather than an ongoing part of our communication and employee relations process. We realized we needed a partner that could make the survey process simpler and help us understand the needs of the various different groups of employees across the organization.”

After surveying the provider landscape, the company chose a solution offered by Kenexa. Phyllis Botte, director of compensation for Pitney Bowes, said, “We needed a vendor who could understand our organization and create a methodology so we could report based on our rapidly changing organizational structures.” The vendor needed global capabilities to measure employee engagement and the ability to translate the survey in multiple languages. And the results generated had to be meaningful at the local level and correlate to business results.

Distributed in more than 15 languages, the 43-question survey has been conducted annually since 2004. At first, employees were apprehensive. Three years later, they have seen tangible action plans as a result of the survey. Participation in the survey process has increased from 51 percent prior to outsourcing to 86 percent last year. One factor behind the increase is the option for employees to complete the survey online at their convenience. And employees are seeing the value returned.

One key survey finding was that employees wanted more information about the company’s plans and direction for the future. So Pitney Bowes created “The One Forum,” a two-hour communication session that brought employees together with senior management for an entertaining and informative exchange about how individual roles fit into the organization’s vision and goals.

Employees also desired more training and career development. In response, Pitney Bowes revamped its training programs and communicated the changes. Now, live and online courses help employees develop in their current roles and for future opportunities, generating a large increase in employee utilization of training and development programs and a very positive employee response.

Seeing that the organization’s high performers were highly engaged, the company began “spotlighting” top performers by featuring them in corporate newsletters and on poster boards in the office. A prospective customer visiting a Pitney Bowes location to meet with a spotlighted manager found the recognition so powerful it motivated his commitment to work with the company.

The company is driving the process online to further improve process management, reduce costs, and enable participants to get the survey in their language. Future plans also include tying survey results to manager evaluations to foster continual organizational improvement.

Tags: Benefits, Engaged Workforce, Learning, RPO & Staffing, Talent Acquisition

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