A decision-making approach that is increasingly being mentioned when it comes to change is “evidence-based management”. It is also the way of working that the The Better Company stands for. But what exactly does it mean; evidence-based management? Literally, it means to rely on evidence. So evidence-based improvement is a way of improving where you rely on evidence provided. In this regard, data from validated people-surveys is an important building block.
Evidence-based work within the ‘people domain’
There is often a lack of understanding within organizations about exactly what real data in the “people domain” mean, and how you can draw conclusions from it. Take the average employee satisfaction survey as an example, which is often based on simplified measurements and flawed survey designs. The price to pay for that is significant, as you don’t obtain validated data. As a result you cannot analyze the data or define the correct follow-up actions. In other words, you find no meaningful clues for real improvement. By analyzing we mean: finding statistically significant relationships between all factors measured by the survey and an outcome to be influenced, such as alignment. Working evidence-based involves a number of conditions that, unfortunately, are still rarely used consistently in practice. We discuss the 3 most important ones.
Condition 1: Use scientifically proven drivers
By utilizing scientifically proven drivers, it becomes possible to work towards an achievable outcome. In summary, in an evidence-based survey, the relationship between cause (driver) and effect (outcome) must be scientifically proven:
A scientifically proven factor that influences the outcome variable. Our measurement methodology allows you to know which drivers your organization should focus on.
Relates to a particular situation you wish to achieve, for example, better alignment, higher engagement or a more inclusive organization.
Condition 2: Use validated measurement tools.
To work evidence-based your measurement instrument must be validated. If an instrument is validated, it means that research has been done on its validity and reliability: the instrument actually measures what it is intended to measure, even when used in different situations by different individuals.
Condition 3: Focus on coherence and effects, not averages and benchmarks
By measuring holistically – proven drivers in relation to desired outcomes – you gather data on both cause and effect, enabling us to statistically test which drivers are most important in the unique context of your organization for targeted improvement interventions. Namely, those are the few drivers that, according to the data, show the greatest, the strongest influence on the measured outcome. Thus, it involves finding and establishing statistically significant correlations. So that you know exactly which buttons to start pushing in your unique context to work towards an improved outcome and make a predictable impact.
Validated measurement tools & scales are widely used in behavioral science. By leveraging scientific research, specifically within the field of Organizational and Management Science, it is possible to make people management as evidence-based as disciplines such as financial management or supply chain management. Science offers a warehouse of knowledge about proven relationships between drivers and outcomes and about associated, validated ways of measuring them. Companies and organizations can use this knowledge to make evidence-based management decisions. The Better Company knows how to use this warehouse to improve specific real-world situations through the use of our Do Better Scans.