Corporate Spirit CS Ltd | HR Intelligence to support business success. | 2/2012Pirjo B. Vangsnes, Nordic HR Manager, Santander Consumer Bank AS, Oslo“Added value for globalemployee engagement surveyslies in effective use of results”As Santander Consumer Bank was looking to further improve its employee “Systematic approach is essential in employee engagement. It is aengagement with state-of-the-art tools and knowledge, Corporate Spirit continuous process that goes through the entire company, fromwas selected as partner, largely thanks to the company’s global bench- top-down and then up again – information flows constantly, like a spiral,marks and Cixtranet3® reporting system. According to Santander’s Nordic and relevant signals need to be discovered. Our corporate values actHR Manager Pirjo B. Vangsnes, this is just the kind of equipment that can as cornerstones; they are the common denominator on which every-efficiently help international organisations use data from various levels and one puts their focus in daily work. Understanding and adopting them islocations. Pirjo B. Vangsnes is based in Oslo and manages Santander’s HR essential also when it comes to engagement.”issues in Nordic countries, coordinating them with other regional offices.She has been pleased with Corporate Spirit’s methods and tools, which Even within the Nordic countries, levels vary considerably in generalhave been actively implemented throughout the organisation. opinions or attitudes towards certain issues. With tools such as Corporate Spirits global benchmarks, data can be put in the right reference frame and thus interpreted so that results are comparable amongst them- selves. Based on the first experiences in dealing with Corporate Spirit, Pirjo B. Vangsnes is looking forward to the next steps. “Already at the bidding stage, Corporate Spirit presented convincing ideas and methods about their ability to work with international organi- sations. The annual surveys are important, as is the work that is done between them. The results must be turned into tangible action plans that are implemented in an efficient and appropriate manner. The added value for any data comes from interpreting it into practical and useful tools for our line managers, so that they can carry out their respective roles in improving employee engagement. Cixtranet3® has been very well received and actively used. The managers find it very useful, which is important for efficient employee engagement.” Santander Consumer Bank AS is owned by Santander Consumer Finance, which is part of Grupo Santander, one of the world’s largest banks. The division is present in 14 countries across Europe and the USA. Santander Consumer Bank AS provides financing in the areas of car finance, credit cards and consumer loans. The bank has business in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, with almost 600 employees throughout the region and total assets of NOK 62 billion.
EDITORIAL Global benchmarks EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT It’s aBeyondEngagement differentOur mission is to help organisations buildenvironments and teams where employeesachieve their best potential. worldBy engagement, we mean how positively em-ployees think of their work, organisation and itsvalues, as well as their willingness to extra efforts,when needed. Enabling continuous engagementamong employees requires flawless organisa- out theretional leadership and other prerequisites.So why does engagement matter? One answerfor this can be found in the Macleod-Clarke2009 review to the UK Government: “Employeeengagement is the most important factorin creating outstanding organizationalperformance.” Global benchmarks put culturalThe evidence indicates that successful leadershave to be champions and line managers have to differences into perspectivelead engagement. But the HR profession and HRpractitioners have a vital role to play. As JackieOrme, Chief Executive of CIPD, emphasises: Advanced communication methods and social media may be“A key challenge for the profession is to ensurethat employee engagement ‘gets put on the shrinking our world, but certain cultural variation still remains.table’ in companies and organisations. HR can’tmanufacture engagement, but we have a key Amongst the Nordic countries, Finns still rate their superiors’role in helping companies develop an organi-sational culture where engagement can thrive, performance higher than the rest. Austrians and the Swissensuring that managers have the skills to makeengagement a reality.” believe their superiors are keen on employees’ ideas, while theThe outcome of our own global engagement Spanish and French give lower ratings. In India, people tend tosurvey (39,000 respondents from 21 countries)showed that the main drivers of engagement rate commitment to employers higher than anywhere else.are leadership, commitment and performance.That is why our latest engagement model is These differences cannot be changed through benchmarks as well as knowledge to utilisebased on these. However, we argue that measur- global exchange programmes or annual them for added value.ing engagement – even with the best tools – is meetings with office managers. In order tonot enough. In order to reach your goals, you understand the variations and particularly to Doing an international survey and comparingalso need to have the tools and means to facili- put them into perspective, certain bench- absolute percentage averages of various itemstate and motivate leaders in the organisation to marks need to be established. Comprehensive between countries will most likely lead to theactively and systematically utilise that information. experience and understanding about human wrong conclusions, bearing cultural variation behaviour in various cultures is obviously in mind. A comprehensive collection of exter-You can read more about engagement in this required to create this kind of toolkit for inter- nal benchmarks helps scaling results, as wellNewsletter and on our website: national organisations. as discovering the real strengths and areas ofwww.corporatespirit.eu development. Synchronizing countries and culturesLet’s keep in touch! Besides culture, the nature of work plays a Corporate Spirit’s benchmark norms are based significant role in job satisfaction and engage- Jukka Pohjola on extensive global basic research as well as a ment variations. Criticism towards excessive Managing Director database of our current surveys, updated annu- information flooding is typical for modern ally. In addition to 30 country- and area-specific managers. Work in general is perceived as norms, we have designed precision norms for quite demanding. On the other hand, blue- blue- and white-collar workers, managers and collar workers are more critical towards reward specialists in each country. Combined with our systems and would appreciate more feedback experience of over 25 years and almost 3,000 from their superiors. In general, top manage- employee surveys, we are able to provide any ment’s evaluations are higher than with other international organisation with highly reliable respondent groups.
Global benchmarksVarious stages at work are evaluated in very various countries. Having analysed altogether “An employee survey conducted without anydifferent ways. Rewarding and change man- millions of responses, we’ve found some amaz- proper normative benchmark could usuallyagement get clearly lower points than, for ing differences in response styles in different be regarded as quite questionable”, Juha Ala-instance, awareness of expectations. Without countries – as well as some quite different mean- Lipasti continues. “A standard finding wouldrelevant benchmark material, topic areas can- ings and values attached to individual questions.” generally be that weaknesses in the employeenot be compared with one another. survey are connected with unsatisfactory re- Knowing these cultural differences, it is diffi- muneration, poor information flow and too“Benchmarks enable seeing things in a cult to imagine that reliable information could little feedback. This misinterpretation oftennew light” be gained simply by comparing the propor- takes place because almost every culture nor- tion of favourable responses from one country mally judges and values these types of ques-“Our normative benchmarks are based on one to another. If in Spain, for example, half of the tions more critically than other types of ques-of the most extensive international databases of respondents tend to respond favourably to- tions. If a survey states that 65 % of the staffemployee engagement surveys available”, says wards a single question, it may be a very good dislike the information flow, would that beJuha Ala-Lipasti, Corporate Spirit’s Head of Inter- result in Spanish terms. However, it might be a good result or perhaps something wenational Operations. “They form a reliable frame that the same result in Denmark is quite poor should worry about? Reliable benchmarks helpof reference when evaluating survey results from compared to similar companies in Denmark. determine that.” Benchmarks Notable added value for interpretation of results – the average level of satisfaction varies to a great extent between different types of groups and questions. and benefits Fewer interpretations that simply state the obvious – salaries and communication are being criticized, worker-intensive groups are less satisfied in basically all fields of research compared to superiors and management. For more information about how your organisation can benefit from global bench- Relevant comparison of results from different countries – it is absolutely necessary to avoid marks, feel free to contact your Corporate comparing results from different countries as such. Country-specific benchmark material enables Spirit contact person or your local office. taking cultural impacts into consideration.