"Great Place to Work" Survey Results

This year, we participated in the “Great Place to Work (GPTW)” survey to gain insight into how our employees view working at the Ian Martin Group. 139 of our 155 employees responded to the anonymous questionnaire – now, the raw data is in!

Although the awards will be announced later in the year, the interesting stuff – what we need to learn & improve on – is already contained in these results.  The spreadsheet with our scores is displayed below in its entirety.  Here’s a quick orientation to it:

  • The rows show each of the questions (and categories) covered in the survey.
  • The columns show responses by several different demographic breakdowns.
  • The first row shows the number of people (‘headcount’) in each demographic.
  • The remaining rows show the percentage of people in the demographic who responded positively to the question (4 or 5 on a 1-5 scale) – over 80% is green; under 60% is orange.
  • The first column shows the aggregate responses across all employees. For example, looking at the last question of the survey, 93% of the 139 respondents agreed with the statement, “Taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work.”

Scan through our results below.

From a bird’s-eye view, I’m really pleased that the spreadsheet is mostly ‘green’.  Diving a little deeper, here are our average scores for each section of the survey: Credibility – 86%, Respect – 81%, Fairness – 82%, Pride – 87%, Camaraderie – 87%.  Let’s start by looking at the areas we need to improve.

In the ‘Respect’ section, the scores for “Special and Unique Benefits” are the lowest in the survey (the GPTW Top 50 scored 79% on average, we scored 56%).  Clearly, we need a better understanding of what our employees are looking for in this area.  I find this interesting because 2012 is a year in which we moved from sick days to personal days, lowered the tiers/tenure for vacation and added an RRSP matching program.  I acknowledge that these benefits are not at all ‘unique’ but they are significant new investments for the company.  That said, I’d really like to hear from you – what interesting benefits would make the company a more compelling place to work?

Also in the ‘Respect’ section, we received low ratings for the questions about “Personal Training and Development” (the GPTW Top 50 scored 82% on average, we scored 69%).  I am totally with you on this one.  We know that we need to up our game in terms of leadership development and providing opportunities that challenge and grow our staff.  While the company should offer support, I believe strongly that people who take initiative & responsibility for their own development will be the most successful in achieving their goals (I like some of what Netflix says about the topic in their culture SlideShare below – see slides 120-123).  Our job is to encourage your own initiative and connect it to goals of the company.  If you have goals and are looking for more support, please come forward.  We intend to make strides in this area during 2013.

The ‘Fairness’ section is the one that has most occupied my thoughts since I received the results. We averaged 82% (the GPTW Top 50 averaged 85%).  However, on two questions, there was a significant gap between the Ian Martin Group & the GPTW Top 50: ‘Fair compensation’ (69% vs. 75%) and ‘share of profits’ (61% vs. 70%).  I have a feeling that part of this goes back to a question that I’ve pondered since we did the B Corp ‘Impact Assessment’ over a year ago, “Does the company have a formal process to share financial information (except salary info) with its full-time employees?”  I think it’s time we start to provide this education.  Along with the benefits of deeper financial knowledge and further context about the company’s operating environment, I believe this will also help increase urgency as we enter the home stretch on this year’s playbook/thematic goal. I will add developing and implementing this training to Work.com as one of my top goals for the quarter.

Having looked at our areas for improvement, permit me a few last comments on the insights I gained from the demographic information:

  • First, what’s up with you under 25’s? I know… it must be me.  At 34 (and especially having been a dad for 2 years now) I’ve already become uncool.  *Sigh*… such is life.  Seriously, guys – just text me or whatever, I want to know what would make this a place you love to be.
  • Male/female views are remarkably similar across the categories.
  • People who have worked here for 6-15 years have a more negative view of the company (12% delta) than those who’ve worked here under 5 years or more than 20.  Honestly, I don’t really know how to explain this but it’s interesting… ideas?
  • I was surprised that only 24 people identified themselves as paid on “Commission” vs. 108 as “Salary”.  In general, the salary group responded slightly more positively (5% delta).

To me, the “What Motivates You to Work Here Most” demographic has the most insightful and encouraging information in the survey.  Let’s look at the breakdown:

  • ‘Job Security’ – 10 people; Average score 62% (across all questions).
  • ‘Compensation & Benefits’ – 12 people; Average score: 71%.
  • ‘Work-life Balance’ – 20 people; Average score: 77%.
  • ‘Opportunity for advancement’ – 25 people; Average score: 85%.
  • ‘Belief in the mission’ – 69 people; Average score 92%

Do you see a trend?  It’s really awesome to see that as we’ve worked so hard together to define and articulate our values that it’s really translating into people’s experience of the company.  Clearly, however, we’re not for everyone.  You can almost see our values (Authenticity, Entrepreneurship and Stewardship) reflected in and polarizing the results.  For example, for the 10 people whose top workplace priority is “Job Security”, a company with an Entrepreneurial culture is understandably not a comfortable place to work.  Given that we are trying to focus on connecting people with “Meaningful Work”, I just squirm when I read your answers: “We’re all in this together,” (40% vs. 82% company avg.), “I can be myself around here,” (50% vs. 87% company avg.) and especially, “I feel I make a difference here,” (30% vs. 75% company avg.)…

Zappos has a practice of offering a $4000 ‘quitting bonus’ to new hires at the end of their orientation training.  I want to offer something similar: a get out of jail free card.  If you feel this is not the place for you, please see Loree sometime in the next three months (it will be confidential and your boss will be notified only when all details are finalized).  We will work with you to put together a solid financial transition package to start you on your way to a company that is a better fit for you. I’m not being cute – I’m being very straight forward about this.  We will respect and honour your decision and do right by you.

So, all in all, I’m genuinely excited about the results and look forward to working on ‘Professional Development’, ‘Unique Benefits’ and ‘Fair Compensation’ this year.  Last time we did an employee survey, the lowest rating was on management’s lack of communication & strategy – but based on these results, those issues have improved significantly.  I believe we can do the same again this time around.  Please message me directly with private feedback or leave your comments below.

All the very best for 2013,



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