Improving Employee Satisfaction, Enhancing Communication, and Identifying Resource Gaps – A Triple Win with Honestly
Employee satisfaction is crucial to a company's success more than ever in today's business landscape. PARI, a renowned expert in respiratory health and a manufacturer of respiratory masks, understands this well. However, gathering essential data can be a challenge, especially in a globally operating company with a highly diverse workforce. In collaboration with Honestly, PARI found the ideal solution.
- Following a change in leadership that led to organizational changes, PARI GmbH sought to understand how their employees were adapting to these transformations. To achieve this, they sought a specialized service as a previous employee survey conducted with a self-built solution had proven inefficient and time-consuming.
- The challenge lay in creating a multilingual and customizable survey. Additionally, PARI sought a reliable partner for support when needed.
- With Honestly, PARI found a dependable partner that not only offered a scientifically validated survey design but also allowed for tailored questions, including open-text fields.
- This facilitated the identification of improvement opportunities across various areas. Notably, the clear evaluation by departments and teams and industry-wide benchmark data provided a valuable context to the results.
For over a century, PARI has stood as a leading brand in the field of inhalation. With its headquarters in Starnberg and additional locations in Weilheim, Gräfelfing, and Gilching, the PARI Group is firmly rooted in the region. Beyond its German presence, PARI's network extends to international branches and a global distribution network. PARI boasts a workforce of around 500 employees and a stable management team with a successful track record spanning over a century.
PARI is recognized as a manufacturer of medical products, particularly inhalation devices, and has been the preferred choice for doctors, pharmacists, and patients for many years. However, PARI transcends being a producer of top-tier medical products; it embodies the dedication and passion of individuals working tirelessly. The mission at the heart of PARI is to make life easier for those with respiratory diseases and their caregivers.
PARI Case Study
- Employees in the System: 500
- Managers in the System: 10
- Survey Cycle: Semi-anually and ad hoc
- Languages: German, English, Spanish
- Surveys: Employee Satisfaction
- Engagement before Honestly: Self-built solution
A few years ago, we conducted an employee survey using a self-built solution, and it proved to be a monumental task. It failed to consider the specific needs of a mid-sized company like PARI. I was determined not to approach it the same way again.
Simplifying surveys while meeting individual needs
In small businesses and startups with limited staff, conducting satisfaction surveys might be manageable without specialized tools. However, as a company grows, this approach quickly becomes inadequate. Even if the survey itself can be organized, the analysis inevitably becomes an ordeal. Cornelia Pierach-Walter, Director of Human Resources at PARI, knew this from firsthand experience: "A few years ago, we conducted an employee survey using a self-built solution, and creating the survey and analyzing the results were daunting tasks. It didn't account for the specific needs of a mid-sized company like us, and I was determined not to repeat that approach." The problems were diverse. The planning and execution consumed significant resources, and the multilingualism within PARI's workforce went unaddressed. This resulted in employees in foreign locations being unable to participate at times. Many production workers faced a similar predicament, lacking their email addresses or laptop access to contribute their perspectives. Furthermore, the substantial effort involved meant that this was a one-off effort.
"Once you reach a certain employee count, having a solution like Honestly becomes crucial." - Cornelia Pierach-Walter
However, a change in leadership became the catalyst for PARI to search for a better solution. "A new CEO naturally brings fresh ideas to the company and initiates some restructuring. This inevitably causes some level of unrest. What is the current employee satisfaction level? How are people coping with the changes? We simply didn't have answers." Hence, it became all the more essential to revisit employee satisfaction surveys. This time, PARI faced several challenges. The survey needed to be available in multiple languages, including German, English, and Spanish. Additionally, participation needed to be possible without an email address. "It was important for us to have a specialized partner who could address these needs and offer support if issues arose," Ms. Pierach-Walter emphasized. Moreover, the company aimed to establish an annual cycle to gain a longitudinal perspective on employee satisfaction.
Participation rate: An impressive 80%!
PARI found a strong partner in Honestly. A compelling reason for PARI was the versatile capabilities that the tool offered.
"We didn't want to rely solely on pre-made questions; we also wanted the flexibility to include our own input. Therefore, we incorporated both questions from the Honestly satisfaction survey and customized PARI-specific questions in our survey. This allowed us to directly address our unique situation." - Cornelia Pierach-Walter
An advantage was that the questionnaire had been collaboratively designed with the University of Berlin, ensuring that questions were coordinated and asked in modified forms multiple times to reveal correlations.
The success validated PARI’s choice. Almost 80% of employees completed the questionnaire. Ms. Pierach-Walter viewed this result positively: “I am very pleased, especially considering it was the first implementation.” Moreover, the company prioritized not pressuring employees to participate. “Excessive pressure only results in employees developing biases that can distort the results.” Instead, PARI adopted the approach: Those who have insights will participate voluntarily. “This is also crucial for our company culture. In some large corporations, I’ve seen bonuses or similar incentives tied to employee satisfaction surveys. However, this approach doesn’t yield reliable responses for any company.” Hence, PARI valued the complete anonymity guaranteed by Honestly.
Diverse insights leading to numerous improvements
PARI was not only enthusiastic about the planning and execution but also the survey’s evaluation. The multiple-choice questions were well-received by the workforce, and the option to provide open-text responses saw active utilization.
“While it was somewhat overwhelming, it was also immensely positive that so many employees seized the opportunity to contribute their perspectives, demonstrating trust in both the company and Honestly.” Cornelia Pierach-Walter
The evaluation of responses revealed three areas for improvement at PARI. These issues, which directly impacted employee satisfaction, were identified through the Honestly survey tool.
1. Transparent and Open Communication of Management Information
The survey conducted with Honestly’s tool indicated a need for improvement in this area. “We weren’t previously aware of this. However, the option for open-text responses quickly revealed that information was only partially understood or not understood at all. Our CEO frequently used English terms, leaving some employees, particularly those in production, feeling excluded.” Subsequently, efforts were made to enhance communication between top management and employees to ensure better comprehension. “Our CEO is diligently working on incorporating more German terminology,” Ms. Pierach-Walter shared with a smile.
2. Workload in Some Departments
Arguably, the most significant insight gained from the satisfaction survey related to the acute workload. It was revealed that certain departments were operating at full capacity in terms of both time and personnel, as explained by Ms. Pierach-Walter: “We were simply unaware of this before.” The Honestly evaluation made it evident that it was not uncommon for some teams to work on weekends or have back-to-back meetings without breaks. “Subsequently, we conducted another survey with a smaller group using the Honestly tool and derived initial measures. These included resource allocation, better task prioritization, and improved project management. Positive employee feedback had already been received regarding these measures.”
3. Unclear Communication Regarding Talent Development
The third area highlighted in the satisfaction survey pointed to unclear structures within the company. “Some employees expressed concerns about the absence of an internal talent development program. However, we were able to quickly address this criticism in one-on-one discussions,” Ms. Pierach-Walter stated. “In a highly diverse workforce, such a program doesn’t make much sense. Our managers, for instance, require a high level of expertise in their specific areas and cannot easily transition to other departments.” Improved communication and a deeper understanding of employee development at PARI led to increased employee satisfaction following the Honestly evaluation.
Evaluation by Teams and Departments
The extensive benefits of the evaluation prompted PARI to continue using the Honestly service for future surveys within the company. Alongside data protection and guaranteed anonymity, the ability to analyze data by departments and teams was considered important. “However, we acknowledge the need for improvement at PARI. Our internal allocation of employees to teams was not entirely accurate, and this has naturally affected the results,” admitted Ms. Pierach-Walter. “In the first quarter of 2024, the next survey is scheduled, and we will adapt our own preparation accordingly.” This will facilitate even more detailed analysis in the future.
A special feature: Scientifically validated benchmarks and AI
PARI was particularly impressed by the automatic data analysis capabilities of Honestly, including the presentation of data in various clear dashboards.
“The external benchmarks were especially helpful.” Cornelia Pierach-Walter
Honestly collaborated with the University of Berlin to create these benchmarks. The satisfaction survey was administered to approximately 15,000 employees from various industries. The resulting figures now serve as benchmarks, allowing for comparisons within and outside the company’s industry.
“This not only informed us about our internal position but also provided a reference point with other competing companies. This significantly aided us in evaluating the results of the initial Honestly survey. Had we used a different tool or none at all, we would have had substantial comparative data only after several years, and only internally.” Cornelia Pierach-Walter
For the next survey with Honestly, PARI has already set a new goal. “There is the possibility of using AI to evaluate open-text responses,” Ms. Pierach-Walter said. “This time, we did it manually. In the future, the Honestly AI can automatically cluster and categorize responses by topic, saving PARI some additional work.”
The collaboration between PARI and Honestly proved to be pivotal in increasing employee satisfaction and enhancing communication within the company. By utilizing Honestly, individual needs such as multilingualism and barrier-free participation were effectively addressed. The high participation rate of 80% reflects the acceptance and voluntary participation of employees who placed trust in both their employer and the Honestly solution.
Only through the successful employee survey could PARI uncover issues in communication, workload, talent development, and other areas. The detailed evaluation provided by Honestly made it easy for the company to derive concrete measures and implement them strategically. Some improvements were already evident shortly after implementation. Overall, the partnership with Honestly is a milestone on the path to creating a successful and satisfying work environment at PARI.