Issue Identification and Improvement
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“The productivity of people requires acceptance of the fact that the person who does the job is likely to know more about it than the person who supervises it.” -- Peter Drucker
To create an environment that supports truly effective performance, organizations need to understand the critical relationship between what employees think and how they perform their jobs.
Since 1994, the I3® Diagnostic (pronounced “I-Cube”) has provided insights into more than one-half million employee opinions and perceptions in organizations across industries.
I3 is a diagnostic and organizational improvement system that offers a comprehensive approach to identifying and addressing workplace issues through employee focus groups and interviews with leadership staff. The diagnosis looks at issues as diverse as human resources, operations, staffing, workplace communications, environment, equipment, work, procedures, compensation and benefits, leadership and teamwork.
IRI Consultants’ client participants range from executives to physicians to machine operators and maintenance workers. Over the course of hundreds of engagements, we have collected more than a half-million employee responses, giving us the ability through the I3® Diagnostic to directly link employee perceptions to organizational productivity and profitability. During this time, the I3® Diagnostic has helped organizations and business units realize measurable operational gains.
I3® helps expose the hidden issues in an organization – those not typically addressed in standard surveys and questionnaires. These hidden issues can directly influence employee and organizational performance in ways that may not otherwise be visible to management.
The I3® Diagnostic consists of a three-part process that includes:
- A comprehensive organizational diagnostic
- A detailed and actionable roadmap for improvement
- A quarterly measurement process that provides accurate feedback on the extent to which initiatives are perceived as accomplishing their objectives
The diagnostic component begins with two questions:
1. “What are those things that make work hard?”
2. “What are those things that make work easy?”
These open-ended questions allow employees at any level of the organization to identify an issue that affects performance. Because all responses are anonymous, employees are candid in their responses. Employees are grouped according to common interests in the organization (work shift, position, labor category, etc.) and provide their input in one of two ways:
- Data Input Groups - A focus group process in which employees meet for 90 minutes in an anonymous small group setting. Under the guidance of a skilled facilitator, they are asked questions and provide written, unstructured responses. The responses are affinity-sorted and ranked by the input group and then entered into a proprietary database for further sorting and analysis.
- The I3® Assessment - A diagnostic tool developed using data from in excess of 500,000 employee comments during more than 300 I3® studies. Each open-ended or multiple choice employee statement reflects an issue within the organization affecting employee performance. The issues are clustered into specific categories derived from the database. The assessment provides baselines that are supplemented by the open-ended responses
Management receives a detailed interpretation of the data, including a roadmap for organizational improvement. The results, grouped by issue category, highlight the most pressing issues in an organization, both on macro and micro.
As an additional option, IRI can produce a report that includes comprehensive analysis, conclusions and recommendations. Consultants are available to meet with leaders to brief them about the findings.
The I3 roadmap identifies various opportunities for organizational improvement based on three levels of issues identified through the I3 process.
First, there are “global” issues, which employees perceive need to be addressed, but that may be beyond the organization’s short-term control. These issues are often capital-intensive and require substantial investment, limiting management’s ability to make meaningful change in the short term. These decisions and the rationale behind them, need to be communicated to the workforce so that employees better understand the organizational dynamics and develop a greater acceptance of leadership decision-making.
Second are unit-level issues that can be addressed by one group without affecting other groups. Examples of these include workgroup leadership, teamwork and departmental processes and efficiencies.
Third are general operational issues that are most effectively addressed at a business unit-wide basis. Examples include organizational leadership, equipment, systems and procedures and staffing.
Through facilitated planning meetings, management creates the initial high-level action plan to determine the best way to address the highest priority issues.
Why Use the I3® Diagnostic?
Clients who have used the I3 process have realized substantial improvement gains, including:
- Reducing new hire turnover rates from 55% to 4%
- Saving nearly $1 million in training costs within the first year of implementation
- Measurably improving customer satisfaction by improving employees’ perceptions about customers
- Making significant process improvements to equipment maintenance schedules, reducing operational downtime
- Being honored with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the Wisconsin and Missouri Quality Awards
Successfully Implementing Change
Most performance improvement efforts fail because the organization is not equipped to manage both the business and the improvement effort. To overcome this barrier, IRI can provide a complete improvement management service that includes employee communication, progress tracking, process management, technical expertise and more. It is this combination of services that transforms the I3 system from a superior performance diagnostic into a superior performance improvement tool.