DHG Voice - Our People Have Spoken!

The verdict is in – DHG is a great place to start, grow and flourish in your career!  We are pleased to share the FANTASTIC results of our 2016 DHG Voice: Employee and Partner Engagement Survey. The results reflect a DHG team committed to our Mission and a supportive culture. In the below podcast, Matt Snow (CEO) and Effin Logue* (CPO) discuss the exciting survey results and share a glimpse of what’s on the horizon based on feedback from the survey. Be sure to check out the infographic below, which provides a quick snapshot of the great results.

DHG Voice: Engagement Survey Results


AGH: Hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of our DHG Podcast series. I’m Alice Grey Harrison, your host and I love this venue because we get to hear from our people about the things that matter the most to them; flexibility, careers and people. Today, I have with me Effin Logue, our Chief People Officer, and Matt Snow, our Chief Executive Officer. And I’m really excited that they are here today to share with us their take and their perspective on our recent engagement survey. Welcome.

EL: Thank you.

MS: Thank you.

EL: Glad to be here, Alice Grey.

AGH: Okay, so let’s start for anyone out there who doesn’t know what an engagement survey is. What is that?

EL: Sure, essentially an engagement survey is a temperature check on our people. The official technical definition of engagement surveys health-wise predict employee commitment and discretionary effort. I like to think of it as how well are we engaging the hearts and minds of our people.

AGH: Very good, clear enough. So we just took this in January and we got our scores back last week so we are ready to share. What did our people have to say? So Effin and Matt, tell us areas that we increased and why these are significant in terms of what the margin was?

EL: Alice Grey, the engagement survey is really focused on three areas; engagement overall, performance enablement and leadership. I have to say we are absolutely delighted with the results of our survey in all three areas this year. So let me just break it down a little bit for you. If we focus on overall engagement, there’s five key questions that are part of overall engagement. Our engagement score overall is 82% favorable this year compared to 78% favorable in our last survey and also compared to 69% overall for the industry norm. So we are just delighted with that four-point increase in overall engagement. We were also told by our vendor that that score of 82% favorable puts us in the 92nd percentile of all professional services firms. So we are over the moon with the results of the engagement piece.

AGH: Let me stop and ask you, it doesn’t seem like much of an increase.

EL: Oh.

AGH: Tell me about that.

MS: No, it’s huge. It’s a big increase and I like to look at it too, over not just one year but over multiple years in terms of how we’ve moved it. One point is a big move and it is an example, the whole index for professional services firms didn’t change year over year. It was at 69% so our 82% compares to that 69% overall. So it didn’t change, we did move four points. Now, if you look over it for two years, we’ve actually moved seven points. So we’ve listened to our people, we’ve made changes, we’ve had Effin helping lead us in our strategy and we’ve gotten the results.

AGH: Great.

DHG has an Outstanding FutureEL: That’s good. Yeah, it’s been terrific. 90% of us are proud to work at DHG. I mean think about that, 90% of us are just very proud of DHG. I can’t keep the grin off my face when I think about it and 91% of us feel that DHG has an outstanding future. That’s versus 79% two years ago. So just think about 79% up to 91% in two years. I just say, “Wow,” to that, it’s extraordinary.

AGH: What a great thing to celebrate.

MS: Yeah.

EL: Yeah, when we look at the performance enablement scores, now that’s really taking a look at the degree to which we at DHG make it easy for our employees to perform…

AGH: So wait, are you saying we’ve given them the tools and the knowledge and the development that they need, is that what that means?

EL: That is exactly what that means.

AGH: Okay.

EL: It looks like you’ve been studying.

AGH: I did a little homework.

EL: Well done. But the delightful piece is the performance enablement is also up this year and it’s up three points just over a year ago and for example, one of the key questions in that 92% of us say, “The people I work with cooperate to get the job done.” So again, 90% of us believe that teamwork is an extraordinary foundation for DHG.

AGH: Wow, that’s amazing.

EL: Yeah. And finally, if we take at the leadership dimension and leadership says, we’re really looking at do our leaders care? Do they provide communication and recognition? Do our leaders remove obstacles so we can get things done and do they do a good job managing the day to day work? The scores in leadership are also incredible. We are up five points over last year and we’re now at 82% favorable overall, and one of my favorite results is the question, “Do our managers treat us with respect?” 92% of us feel our managers treat us with respect.

MS: That’s huge.

AGH: Wow. That is huge.

MS: And if anybody wonders if they contributed to this, that takes a lot of managers and partners, doing a great job every day in order to get those kinds of results.

Proud to work at DHGAGH: Yeah, absolutely. With 2,000, nearly 2,000 — we do have about 2,000 people right now including our interns and that’s a lot of people that are feeling good about being here.

EL: I know. It’s great.

MS: That’s right.

AGH: I wish all of you out there could see the glow on Effin’s face. It’s quite fabulous. So can we look at maybe some of the areas that we focused on last year to help pull those scores up?

MS: Yeah. So last year, and people may remember, we focused on communications, visible leadership and also on recognition. These were three areas that came out of the survey that we felt like we really needed to focus on in order to continue to drive more engagement of our people and so we did. And Alice Grey, I know you’ve worked very hard. You are sitting right here but you’re a big part of our communication strategy in the firm and our goal has been to try to be very transparent to get information out as quickly as we can. We got information back on from our focus groups on how can we do that better? We created new mediums to be able to do that. And also, I found as I go around the firm, our market leaders and our industry and service line leaders are much more in tune with needing to communicate with their teams. The whole visible leadership really is tied very well to communication. I mean that’s one way that we can really be visible in front of our people and share how can they perform better, how can they build a better career? And so I think our year one of really focusing on this, it was more about firm-wide approach. We dove down and said, “No, let’s get all of our leaders engaged with being more in front of their people,” and they did a fantastic job and our people noticed it. Last of all, recognition was a big piece of feedback. We want to be able to recognize people more and certainly, I don’t need to remind everyone about our RAVE program, which has just been phenomenal and I applaud Effin and her team. So many people are involved in doing that but also all the people in our firm really. It’s one thing to set it up, it’s another thing to actually get everyone engaged. So for me, it told me hey, not only are we listening to the right things from the survey, they were obviously right. They were validated by how well everyone responded in getting involved with RAVE.

AGH: Yes.

EL: And just to give you some data on these points, our communication which we focused on is up seven points year over year, our future vision is up six points year over year, and recognition is up eight points.

MS: Awesome, that’s awesome.

AGH: Wow. Yeah, that’s great.

EL: We are really seeing the results of that type of a focused effort.

MS: Yeah.

EL: And kudos to everybody. I know just doing this podcast is yet the next foray in communication which we think is fun.

AGH: It is, it just makes me so proud. I hope that everyone feels as proud as I do to be part of the DHG team. It’s extraordinary.

MS: Yeah, it is.

AGH: So which leads to this year. We obviously learned some areas that we need to focus on. So tell me what those areas are that came out of this survey?

MS: Absolutely. And let me just say first of all, this is something that I know we’ve really been focused on and I know Effin has really coached me and the rest of our leaders on is the need for us to listen to what’s in the survey and we have to show our people that we’re not only listening but that we’re acting on it. So that’s what’s really important that we listen to what’s being said and there’s a lot in the region and market level that will be focused on. But as a firm, there are really two things that I think really popped up. One was to what extent do we use our clients and the feedback from clients in becoming better as a firm? Our people told us they thought we could do better there. The good news is, is that we have an active project underway that everyone in the firm will become engaged with beginning as soon as this summer and how are we going to define the DHG client service way and how are we going to measure that? And so we’ve got an action plan already in place for that. I think these second one, which I’ll let Effin speak to, dealt with accountability and really, got to the whole issue of performance evaluation and how do we all do a better job? Effin, do you want to tell us a little bit more about what’s underway in that area?

EL: Yeah, absolutely. Accountability comes up in several different ways in the survey and it’s really accountability to clear standards and expectations and a clear understanding of what is expected of me. One thing we know is that our traditional way of doing goal setting where we write goals and let’s all be a little honest, including me, we just don’t look at them again for another year and we’re all guilty of that and it doesn’t help us with clear standards and expectations. So we are redesigning the performance improvement, the performance evaluation programs for both our employees and for our partners. And what we’re driving to is much more frequent goal setting, checking up just the frequent conversations about how things are going, “What are you working on, how can I help you?” That’s really the importance of accountability across the firm. Now we think we’re going to do a great jobs of that. That is coming for partners in 2016 and that is coming for all employees in 2017. We’re going to see which pieces of our employee evaluation we can introduce in 2016 so we don’t hold everyone up for every aspect of this, but the full program then gets rolled out next year. So that takes a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of creativity to design something that works for 2,000 people and it’s actually meaningful for 2,000 people. But it’s important that we design it right and get it done right. So we’re taking our time to make sure it works for everybody.

MS: I think it — I couldn’t agree more and I know Effin’s approach to these issues and projects that we have in the firm is very measured and what I like about is that she engages with people and with focus groups and with a number of people at different levels in the firm to figure out how do we address this and how do we solve them? And really get to the crux of the issue. I think here on accountability, I recognize that all of our people, they just want to know day in and day out, “What I can be doing better? And I don’t want to wait until my next yearly review or whenever my next performance evaluation is. I want to know today. Am I doing what I need to be doing?” And that’s at the heart of building a valuable career and feeling good about that. So that’s what we’re after. It’s not going to come quickly and overnight. I know the measured approach that Effin’s taking with her team, it’s going to definitely get us there.

AGH: That’s super exciting and I know that from my perspective, it has to become a part of our culture, just the way RAVE has become a part of our culture and that didn’t happen overnight.

EL: Correct, yeah.

AGH: Okay, so before we conclude, Matt I just want to ask you, when you look at these results as a whole, what do you find inspiring? How does that make you feel as the CEO as we move forward?

MS: Well certainly very proud, first of all. My goal for us as a firm is for us to be recognized as one of the best places to work not just in each of our markets but in the whole country. That’s the standard that we really want to go by and not so much just for the validation in it of itself. That’s nice, we’ll celebrate and high five when we see that. But also it creates that discipline for us and being able to hold ourselves accountable that we have a workplace and we have a culture that enables our people to build a valuable career here and that’s really what we’re after at the end of the day. The other thing that I find inspiring too that I’ll mention is we had certain regions in markets last year that may have been trailing behind the average for the firm, in certain categories or overall, it just works out that way. But to see some of those markets really turn it around this year is amazing and I know there’s going to be some high-fiving specifically in certain markets that really move the needle and that’s what inspiring. When you can see a mark on a piece of paper and know that you can move that higher in the course of a year or two years, that really does it for me.

AGH: That’s fantastic. Well, I know both of you are very busy so I want to thank you for taking time out of your day to speak to all of us about the engagement survey results.

MS: Thank you.

EL: Thank you.

AGH: And I want to thank all of you for listening to Life at DHG. It’s our premier podcast series. If you like what you just heard, we hope you’ll tell your friends and colleagues and be sure to follow us on the Apple Podcast app. Be sure to check out the DHG blog for more great stories about our Life Beyond Numbers. Join us next time for another edition of Life at DHG.

* Effin Logue served as Chief People Officer from 2014 - 2021 and is now a proud DHG Alumni member.

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