SPS Companies, a steel processing and pipe and tube manufacturing company, says it’s implementation of a new employee survey tool has improved its ability to quickly gauge worker satisfaction, leading to, among other things, an alternative health plan option.

The Manhattan, Kan.-based company says it installed a cloud-based solution from Ultimate Software to unify its eight HR systems last year. This year, it began using one of the system’s tools, called UltiPro Perception, to improve its annual benefits and leadership and engagement surveys.

Previously, only office-based employees with computer access could take the surveys online, said Corey Kephart, SPS vice president for human resources. Production-level floor works were given hard copies, the results of which had to be loaded into manual spreadsheet software for analysis, a process that took more than a month. With UltiPro, floor workers are now able to take the survey at kiosks, on company-provided tablets or through their own mobile device.

SPS said it loaded UltiPro in less than two weeks for its June benefits survey, said Kephart. And once the survey was complete, the company had immediate access to in-depth reports, including analyses of comments provided to open-ended questions.

“Our benefits survey showed that our employees were unhappy with the large medical plan deductible, and with that feedback, we identified an opportunity to offer a second plan with a lower deductible alongside our existing plan,” said Kephart.

The company also used the tool for its annual leadership and engagement survey in September, helping the HR department add real and meaningful value to the business, he said.

“The custom reports our senior leaders were able to build in just a few minutes provided many valuable views that enabled them to hone in on the true drivers for leadership effectiveness and employee engagement within their business units and even specific locations,” Kephart said.

For example, he added, all managers received a one-page view of the results of questions about their leadership effectiveness, which was used in debriefing and coaching sessions with HR to identify areas for improvement.

The results, he said, are also discussed in quarterly business unit review meetings, and all employees received a one-page infographic showing their facility’s results including highest and lowest scoring items and how their facility compares to others.

“We are using Perception in numerous other ways – all in which the survey results are a means to a greater end of something bigger,” Kephart said. “It’s not enough just to have results. The results become a catalyst for positive change.”

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