People surveys help to maintain high morale

In common with many organisations, Deloitte undertakes a regular people survey, the results of which go on to form the basis of our talent strategy. The people survey is important to us for a number of reasons – particularly because it tells us what drives people’s commitment to the firm. Engaging our people is a significant part of our strategy, and to do this, we need to have a very clear understanding of the issues that concern them.

Over the past three years, the people survey has become a vital source of information. Deloitte’s deal with Andersen in the UK in 2002 saw 3,500 partners and staff hired into Deloitte. This led to a huge change management programme, handled by our in-house human capital team. The team worked closely with senior management on all elements of our integration strategy, from organisation design to reward strategies.

What became evident was that the logistics of bringing together people was the easy part of the deal. The longer-standing issue was how we ensured that client focus and commitment levels from both the new joiners and existing staff were maintained. Creating an environment where new recruits were able to thrive and pick up where their careers had left off at their old organisations was extremely important. It was also vital to ensure that those already at Deloitte had the opportunity to grow and develop in the enlarged firm.

Despite a mutual commitment to client service, there were issues on both sides that required resolution. Our people surveys have helped to shape and focus our strategy around emerging priorities. The reality of people surveys is that they can make for difficult reading if an organisation does not have the appetite to deal with issues of morale and motivation. However, if the information that a survey provides is not acted upon by management, there could be a long-term damaging effect on the success of an organisation.

It was clear that at Deloitte, the key areas of focus had to be around career development, reward and benefits, and how the firm recognises success.

Recently, the results of our third people survey since the transaction were received. The focus on our people is having positive results with significant improvements in commitment levels. However, it is clear that even with more positive results coming through, it is important to keep the way we engage with our people under review, so that it can be directly linked to our talent strategy. In a competitive market, retaining and recruiting staff remains a significant challenge, and we strive to ensure that we remain a high-performing organisation.

John Connolly
Chief executive and senior partner,

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