In 2000, Sean Fitzpatrick (founder of TalentMap) and Dr. Tom Foard collaborated to develop the original TalentMap employee satisfaction survey. The TalentMap survey was based on a review of the best practices of other organizations and through active participation in the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). Our review included a detailed study of over 30 survey instruments and a thorough scan of published peer-reviewed academic papers and white papers published by leading consultancies. The initial employee satisfaction survey was developed, field tested and validated with ten knowledge-based organizations across Canada with 3,000 respondents.
More recently we arrived at our current understanding of employee engagement through a combination of our 14 years of “in the field research” with over 500 organizations and ongoing review of research published and presented by leading practitioners and academics in a variety of conferences and journals each year. Today our employee engagement model combines our 10 years of experience with the “best of breed” research conducted by experts in the field, namely Dan Denison, David Maister, Gallup and Jim Collins.
We consciously selected the work of these experts to augment our research model because they developed four well-documented empirical models linking employee feedback to organizational performance.
The first empirical model was produced and published by Dr. Dan Denison formerly of the University of Michigan Business School, and currently Professor of Organizational Development at IMD (International Institute for Management Development) in Lausanne, Switzerland. He measured ‘Organization Culture’ across hundreds of organizations and found that the lowest 10% of companies produced an ROI of only 6% while the top 10% produced an ROI of 21%.
The second empirical model was created by Dr. David Maister formerly of Harvard Business School. He surveyed 29 firms in 15 countries to determine whether positive employee attitudes correlate with corporate success. He was able to show that in many companies, it truly is attitudes that drive financial results and organizational success, and not, as widely believed, the other way round.
The third empirical model was developed by Gallup using an impressive sample size of eighty thousand managers and one million staff from 400 companies. Gallup used its expertise in survey research to link employee engagement to business performance.
Finally, the work produced by Jim Collins in “Good to Great” is relevant. Although his work does not include specific results of employee surveys, it provides an impressive empirical framework to improve business performance. We used his framework to inform some of our business performance dimensions, such as Innovation and Customer/Client/Patient Service.
Since TalentMap first developed its first job satisfaction survey and subsequent employee engagement surveys, a growing and remarkable body of academic and practitioner literature has built proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the power of an engaged workforce to deliver superior business results.