Adam Hill swears by surveys. The 45-year-old CEO of LGM Financial Services collects candid feedback from his employees every quarter. He does the same with clients, partnering with market research firm J.D. Power to get twice-yearly opinions from dealers and original equipment manufacturers it provides with finance and insurance products, including Mazda, Hyundai and BMW.
All of this feedback, including the negative kind, lets Hill measure morale and satisfaction in real time, ensuring they are the best they can be. Lately, they have been. Recent surveys have found that 94% of retailers said the company met or exceeded their sales service expectations, while employee engagement levels reached 77%, higher than the Canadian average of 70% according to Aon Hewitt.
Hill doesn’t just rely on surveys. He also spends one day a month handwriting notes to employees celebrating a work anniversary and uses that opportunity to ask them, “Are we still meeting your expectations? Is this still a great place for you to work?” This two-pronged approach allows Hill to sniff out areas that need improvement. For example, one survey revealed that automotive dealers weren’t satisfied with the support they were getting, so Hill increased training in the service department, opened the phone lines on Saturdays and made changes to the management team.
“We want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly,” says Hill. “We’re constantly challenging people to give critical feedback, and if we get that, we will actually do something about it.”
That doesn’t mean staff will get a ball-pit meeting room if they ask for one. They will, however, get the courtesy of an explanation as to why their idea was turned down. “People don’t expect you to always do something about their suggestion, but they want to know that they were heard,” says Hill.
This strategy has been effective in encouraging employees to continually share their ideas, absurd or not, which is evident in the fact that 91% of employees participate in the surveys. There’s even been an increase in innovation and creativity, which led to the hiring of a whole new software development team.
While any company would be satisfied with the engagement and satisfaction scores that LGM receives, Hill says, “We don’t like to rest.”