Kuehne + Nagel gives voice to áll employees
Text: Marjolein Brokkelkamp Bureau [De Redactie] | Photography: Zuiver Beeld
“What employees think about Kuehne + Nagel is valuable to the company”, – says Caroline Tjan, National Communications Manager at Kuehne + Nagel Netherlands.
“Not only for the company, but also for work satisfaction and the development opportunities of its employees. This is why since 2015, we have organized a ‘Roadshow’ from May to September; a tour for the board members at all Dutch offices in order to make personal contact and share experiences.”
Honest, authentic answers
In order to give all employees the opportunity to express their views on the organization as a whole and their personal work environment, Kuehne + Nagel decided to use the second edition of the Roadshow Sendsteps. With this public interaction tool, employees are given an opportunity to actively participate in the presentation. They can respond to statements through their mobile phone and ask questions to management. Subsequently, vote results are displayed directly on the PowerPoint slide, while open comments can be filtered when they appear on screen.
“The anonymity offers the security of letting your voice be heard without someone listening and watching”, – explains Tjan. “This year, the Roadshow’s theme is ‘company-wide cooperation’. Questions that employees can easily answer with yes or no are, for example: “Do we have a culture that stimulates cooperation?” and “Are you satisfied with the cooperation within your team?”. There are multiple choice questions about options that can promote collaboration and, of course, there is also room for open questions and responses.”
Individual look & feel
In advance, Kuehne + Nagel thought carefully about the closed questions, because as well as unambiguous they also need to be applicable to all locations. In addition, managers can determine the content of the questions themselves. “Every establishment and every employee is unique”, – stressed Tjan.
“One of the main benefits of Sendsteps is that all employee responses are anonymous and remain so. Apart from the fact that it is technically impossible to find out who gave a specific answer, it is much more important for Kuehne + Nagel to create a safe environment in which employees feel heard.”
“We use Sendsteps through a licensing agreement. This will enable us to get to work on the events and meetings of our choice. In addition to the Roadshow, this could equally be a meeting with international stakeholders in which an anonymous vote is desirable. One of the major advantages is the simple implementation of the tool. Sendsteps is integrated into PowerPoint, a program that almost everyone can work with. We work with master templates, where each PowerPoint-slide that is generated is automatically ‘branded’ in the look & feel of Kuehne + Nagel. This makes it more personal and this also plays a major role in the engagement.”
Seeing criticism as an opportunity
The meetings with employees are not optional for management; the feedback will launch projects to realize changes and improvements. Tjan: “This summer employees at a particular establishment made it clear that there is little time and space for departmental consultation, and that they would like to be informed of things more often, to make their job more effective. Reactions will be displayed on a large screen during the event. This makes the board members vulnerable because they need to respond to the opinions on the spot. On the other hand, this allows us to get honest, authentic answers. Not always easy, but it is a chance to create dialogue about the important matters of the workplace
We have respect and admiration for honesty and it gives us a way of addressing work processes differently. In other words: that we can accept criticism positively, and use this as an opportunity to address problems systematically. Together with the HR department and the division management, we have used this feedback to develop a training model that brings teams closer, with input from the Roadshow. Initiating practical change based on anonymous findings is an unusual method, but it works. The employees are our biggest asset and with Sendsteps they can literally and figuratively make their voices heard.”