First time Qvest users often ask:
- Which kinds of organizations use Qvest?
- For which purpose do they use Qvest?
- What kind of questions are asked in a Qvest?
- Which kinds of insights does Qvest provide?
- How do organizations benefit from these insights?
In this article I will answer these questions by introducing Paul and Susan.
Paul is the CEO in a big public company
He has used Qvest several times to map key concerns and informal relations in his organization.
Purpose: Effect measurement
The first time Paul used Qvest, he wanted to find out whether the organizational structures and management principles he launched the year before had actually decreased the gap between different departments - and between managers and employees - which they were designed to decrease.
Qvest Topic: Strategy implementation in [company name]
He therefore kicked off a Qvest inviting all his employees to join a conversation about "Strategy implementation in [company name]".
It's easy to sort the question-output in project-specific themes in the 'Question Themes' feature in the Analytics section in the Qvest tool.
Questions like "What do you think is most important - our management principles or improving the infrastructures in our city?" and "How much time do you spend in meetings discussing stuff that has nothing to do with our citizens?" made Paul realize that he and his management team had been putting so much effort into introducing the new structures and management principles, that they had neglected talking to their employees about what matters - and should matter - most to them. Namely, the everyday problems they solve for citizens.
By acting as if management was the most important thing for managers to talk about, Paul - unintentionally - had given the employees the impression that the core tasks they spent each and every day solving were less important. Instead of decreasing the gap between managers and employees, Paul had increased the gap by making management a core task in itself.
Thanks to the insight Paul gained from Qvest, the implementation of the new organizational structures and management principles took a new direction. Instead of talking to employees about the new management principles, Paul and his management team found different ways of demonstrating the principles when talking to employees about their everyday problems and tasks.
Susan is Head of HR in a big private company
She started using Qvest because she wanted a "snapshot" of her organization.
Purpose: Qualify employee satisfaction survey
Susan wanted to make sure that the yearly employee satisfaction survey made sense to the employees. She didn't want to replace her traditional survey, but she thought there might be questions she didn't think of asking. She wanted to give employees a chance to add important questions to the survey.
Qvest Topic: Key aspects of employee satisfaction
Susan wanted people to exchange questions and answers which mattered to them, so she kicked off a Qvest with the topic "Key aspects of employee satisfaction".
Even though the employees asked a lot of interesting questions in the Qvest - such as "If [company name] is supposed to be a modern company, why is everything top-down?" and "How do we stay optimistic when all we hear is burning platform?" It wasn't the content in the questions and answers that made Susan see her organization in a new light. It was the way the questions were distributed among the different groups in the organization.
The Qvest Network is part of the Qvest Analytics section. Each dot represents a group, e.g. departments or titles. In the tool, you can see the question and answer exchange between two groups/dots by clicking the string between them.
The Qvest network showed an imbalance in the relationship between employees, middle managers and senior executives. While employees directed all kinds of questions to senior executives - resulting in answers like "If you are not happy, you should talk to your immediate manager or HR" and "That, my friend, you have completely misunderstood" - senior executives directed all their questions to other senior executives. The consequence of this behavior was that middle managers were left out in all the important conversations about strategy, well-being, collaboration and day-to-day management.
Susan used Qvest to identify the reason why her company was struggling to implement new initiatives. By shedding light on the way the different groups were - and weren't - communicating, she was able to help her organization reinstate the missing link between strategy and everyday actions. Starting with adding 12 new questions to the satisfaction survey, including "To what extent do you get the information you need from your immediate manager?" and "To what extent do your everyday tasks reflect the overall company strategy?"