Normal Employee Attitudes Shown by Employee Survey Benchmarks

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PPI's updated employee norms database show most organizations getting low marks for internal communications.

Information in this organization is communicated well.

Trying to define a "normal" workplace is as difficult and unpredictable as describing a "normal" family. Employee survey benchmarks, also called norms, provide a critical frame of reference for interpreting employee satisfaction survey results.

"While there is no way of defining 'normal' workplaces, there are average or predictable answers to some employee survey questions," said Paul M. Connolly, Ph.D., president of Performance Programs, Inc., (PPI). "Most companies, for instance, have a hard time getting high ratings for internal communications."

PPI recently updated and expanded its industry norms database, which organizations can purchase regardless if they use PPI to conduct the survey. The company has conducted hundreds of employee surveys worldwide since 1987, resulting in a norms database with as many as 100,000 responses for each of 86 questionnaire items.

Connolly's most recent review of survey answers found that 60 percent of employees had neutral or negative attitudes to the statement "Information in this organization is communicated well."

Many organizations have difficulty with internal communications, and Connolly defines high agreement as 67 percent or more of responses residing in the favorable or highly favorable categories. Another management challenge is revealed by responses to the statement: "My manager gives me the freedom to do my job." The data showed that 72 percent were negative or neutral on this statement. Career advancement, management consistency, and recognition are other challenging areas. And there are signs of the times. "We've seen trust and the sense of security deteriorate somewhat since the first time we analyzed the norms in 2004," said Connolly.

"Norms help you judge whether results are high or low compared to other organizations," he said, who encourages organizations to repeat their surveys several times and develop internal norms. "Even if you find certain items disappointingly low, you may find your organization outranks many other organizations. Outside norms are especially important for a first-time employee survey."

Norms reports include the mean, standard deviation, frequency distribution, and number of respondents on which the norm is based. Employers can obtain norms for general business or for one of 16 industries and categories, including nonprofits. Multinational organizations are well represented in the database.

Norms are available with no minimum purchase, and employers who share their survey data with Performance Programs for inclusion in their Employee Feedback Database receive a 50 percent discount. Identities of organizations in the database are kept confidential.

Employers and human resource consultants can also purchase a preview of PPI's norm data in the book and CD combination, Employee Opinion Questionnaires: 20 Ready-to-Use Surveys that Work. In addition to the questionnaires, the book provides 30 of the most frequently asked questions, along with their norms. A complete list of 700 questionnaire items is available in The Employee Survey Question Guidebook.

Performance Programs, Inc (PPI) helps consultants and organizations of all sizes understand and leverage workplace surveys, tests and assessments in order to find, train and retain outstanding employees. PPI specializes in customized surveys and assessments, is an authorized distributor of Hogan Assessment Systems and Clark Wilson Group 360 Feedback, and is a certified trainer of these systems;

Kathy Connolly
(800) 565-4223

Gail DeLano
Fisher Vista/HRmarketer
(831) 685-9700

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: on behalf of the company listed above.


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Kathleen G. Connolly
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