To receive authentic employee feedback, organizations need to become better listeners.

Recently, Waggl CEO Michael Papay sat down to discuss the partnership between Waggl and Denison Consulting and the value he believes they bring to organizational culture. Speaking of the role of Denison’s culture survey in helping organizations diagnose and align around their culture goals, Michael says:

It’s just not a theoretical question set. These are questions that, when done well, and when actively managed, will fundamentally increase and drive up the performance of an organization.

Denison first joined with Waggl after recognizing the potential of the Waggl platform for applying the survey questions in a more engaging way. Waggl succeeds in this by following several important principles.

First, Waggl keeps a focus on simplicity. When a design becomes bogged down by complexity, it turns employees away. They perceive it as too hard, or not worth the effort. Second, Waggl’s crowd-sourced survey is designed to generate more authentic feedback from employees. And finally, Waggl focuses on transparency, because transparency accelerates action. When employees can see the survey results from their peers across the organization, it sparks the kinds of conversations organizations need to drive change.

However, these conversations can be effective only if organizations recognize and respond to them quickly. When organizations drag their feet in responding to employee feedback, the change process loses momentum, and employees begin to question if they’re really being heard.

How can organizations be more agile in responding to employee feedback?

Increasingly, companies are looking for ways to respond more nimbly to employee feedback. Doing so requires not only that they gather employee feedback data more frequently, but that they also digest and respond to that feedback in a timely manner.

In other words, organizations need to become better listeners. A light, accessible, easy-to-use survey won’t fix a company’s culture all on its own. This mindset can just as easily leave employees feeling disillusioned if they feel their survey responses aren’t being heard. Instead of building engagement among the workforce, individuals could grow to feel like just another data point.

Instead, Waggl is designed to create a better experience for employees when they deliver their feedback—an experience that allows them to be heard. By promoting an environment in which feedback receives an authentic response, employees can see the impact of their survey answers happening in real time.

Denison + Waggl gaining traction in the C-suite.

CEOs are catching on. The Denison Organizational Culture Survey has long been recognized as a standard-setting tool for organizational culture consultants around the world. Combined with Waggl, it brings CEOs closer to the everyday office environment, something that has become more difficult in recent years as offices have become more dispersed and CEOs more mobile.

WATCH: Michael Papay on the Denison and Waggl Partnership.

Video Transcript:

Hi there. I’m Michael Papay.

I’m the CEO and co-founder of Waggl, and I’m excited to share with you a little more insight about our relationship with Dan Denison and his group at Denison Consulting. It’s a great partnership. It marries world-class IP that’s been proven and tested around culture for decades and linked back to high-performing organizations…and I think that’s really what separates their model. It’s not just a theoretical question set; but these are questions that, when done well and actively managed, will fundamentally increase and drive up the performance of an organization.

You take that and apply it to Waggl’s methodology and platform that allows organizations to be more agile and nimble, and on the pulse of what’s happening, you’ve got something really exciting on your hands.

At Waggl, we’re really focused on promoting action; because to listen and to measure without taking action, from our perspective, is a fail and can lead to further disengagement in the workforce.

The way we do this and promote this within the platform comes across a few different ways. First, we really believe that things need to be simple. We’re not going to hear from employees if we come out with too much complexity…too many questions…too much detail related to Likert scales. Let’s keep it simple and we’ll hear from people. That’s a good first place to start.

Second, we really want to promote more deliberation and more authentic debate around the insights people are providing, and we do this by offering crowdsourcing. So, after people answer questions, they now have the benefit of reading other people’s answers and voting on which ones they like; and that brings it to life, and it creates a lot of shared energy and engagement around those actions. We have a saying at Waggl that we’re really promoting behavior change through participation in the platform—which is pretty cool and very different than a typical survey.

And lastly, we focus on transparency—because we believe that transparency accelerates action; and when it’s out there, people all have the benefit of seeing it, and they have the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation around it. And it’s that conversation around the insights that fundamentally leads to driving action.

We’re entering into some really exciting times; and right now, there is a lot of dialogue and conversation around, “How do we be more agile?” “How do we be more nimble?” “How do we be on the pulse of what’s happening in the organization?” And in order to do that, you need to be listening at a higher rate of frequency. But from our perspective, it’s not just sending out smaller, lighter, prettier surveys. It’s really about changing the game of how we listen and how we honor receiving feedback from our employees and critical stakeholders. No longer is it acceptable to just answer a few questions and hit “submit” and then that information goes off somewhere to someone and somehow, sometime it might be shared back to me. But let’s really strive to create a better experience. Because if we’re going to increase the frequency by which we’re listening, we’re going to need to provide a better experience for employees when they deliver their feedback and insight. And that’s really what the Waggl platform has to bear; and that’s the genesis of where we started our business almost four years ago.

What’s great about this partnership is really just getting started. The question set applies to the web. All framework unlocks incredible opportunities to be able to apply this across the business. So we’re directing it towards culture, and we’re feathering it into the work that’s so typically held by HR around sentiment, climate, and employee engagement.

But what’s really cool is that CEOs are grabbing hold of this question set in this framework and saying, “This is critical to my job, and I want to be able to use this platform as a modern-day version of the CEO walking around.” So, we literally have the CEOs of 10,000+ organizations who are using the questions set every six months to gauge and determine: “How are we doing on our culture across our geographically dispersed organization?” But then, we are also feathering in some questions on the off quarters around strategy…you know, “How are we positioned in the marketplace?” and “Do you have what you need from us to be successful?”

So, being able to marry the culture and strategy and elevate this platform and dialogue beyond just an HR dialogue to a leader conversation, is where we see this moving in the future.

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Picture of Michael Papay, CEO of Waggl, a company which specializes in pulse surveysWaggl HARVEST Leader Retreat
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As a CEO of a private equity firm, you know that firms with a strong, vibrant culture perform better in a highly competitive marketplace. Denison can work with you to build an effective culture in all of your portfolio firms. Our assessment tools enable you to capture a clear picture of the current cultural state of your organization. Our consulting expertise supports you in making the changes necessary to achieve superior financial performance. It is about how you work as a team, how your policies meet practice within the culture of the organization, and even how performance aligns with your investment criteria.
  • Deliver a consistent assessment of your portfolio companies
  • Give you an unambiguous picture of the culture of your organization
  • Provides a disciplined process and measureable action plan for
  • Offers hands-on strategic consulting to address gaps and affirm best
practices currently being employed by your portfolio companies
improvement
Our approach:
Financial Services
In the financial sector, you are active in a wide variety of client environments that need to support both accountability and the highest ethical standards. The trust that your customers place in your organization is dependent upon the culture that your employees exhibit every day.

You need to have a clear understanding of how your culture and the people in your organization function amidst the complexities of the current financial institutional marketplace. The Denison Model can provide you with that clarity. From brokerage firms to retail banking to institutional banking to insurance, Denison has specific, measurable benchmarks that identify both the strengths and weaknesses of your organization. With this baseline diagnostic, our consulting team can support you to put into place action plans that help sustain your high standards and see improvement in your financial performance.
Manufacturing
The manufacturing environment is constantly being tasked with improvements in both quality and delivery while also having to maintain the highest levels of safety. The Denison Model equips you with the tools to reach anyone, from the senior leadership team to the shop floor, in a globally networked manufacturing environment to build a culture oriented towards continuous improvement in these critical mission areas.

Through our consultancy services, we work with a broad cross-section of your technical and operational staff to align them around the goal of producing the highest quality products in the world—both on time and on budget.
Healthcare
Within the healthcare market, high performance is measured primarily in patient outcomes. The marriage of the institution with doctors, support staff, and operational teams is key to achieving the best patient outcomes. Denison works with you to achieve these outcomes by building a culture that is attuned to the unique ecosystem of support that patients require.

Our organizational culture assessment based on the Denison Model is a proven approach that has supported healthcare providers with actionable feedback for decades. The assessment identifies successes and clarifies challenges that you may be facing by comparing your data against the four core drivers of cultural high performance. Then, our consulting team is able to support you in addressing these challenges with action plans tailored to your inclusive and diverse environment.
Case Study
The management of culture in an organization whose members are always on the move.
Education
At Denison, we understand that student success is the goal of every educational organization. Our consulting expertise and diagnostic tools will allow your team to better understand, articulate, and implement your mission.

You will gain a collective understanding of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, and challenges benchmarked against other peer institutions, all targeted toward providing students with the best learning environment. Then, through Action Planning, we will work with you to improve your academic and operational excellence to support the diverse student learning environment of higher education, K-12 schools, and related associations.
Retail
As a retailer, you know that culture drives the customer experience of your organization. The hospitality, support, and the follow-up lived out by your staff help make the difference in each consumer interaction. It is that experience that really drives what your organizational behavior should be.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization can support each customer's experiences. We provide you with data that helps you understand your organization right from each customer’s entry all the way to checkout. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Restaurants
Smart restaurant owners know that their patrons’ experiences are driven by the culture of their organizations. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by their culinary and wait staff help make the difference in each dish that is served. They know that it is each patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what what a team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Government
To achieve high performance in a government initiative, one requires a different understanding of the metrics of success. Therefore, the advancement of the mission is measured instead of the typical KPIs or financial results of a business, such as sales growth or ROI.

For example, Denison supports both military men and women in action through our work with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). We provide a core culture assessment and an improvement program that helps this department maintain a strong culture to fulfill their mission, addressing everything needed to support men and women in combat through readiness preparation.
Case Study
A transformation that didn’t require thousands of dollars, but a new way of interacting.
Technology
Because of the ever-changing pace of the introduction of new technologies and the shortening of the technology life-cycle, exhibiting adaptability in your organization’s culture is critical. These factors drive both the need to recoup costs and the need to show profit more quickly. Therefore, being able to seamlessly change business models to drive market expansion, product acceptance, and superior performance is absolutely critical in this high-potential return but volatile market. Talent is also at a premium.

Based on diagnostics structured through the Denison Model, our consultancy team can help you build a culture in which all stakeholders understand who the organization is and who will fit the organization the best. With this alignment, you can gain a competitive edge in both attracting and retaining the engineers, researchers, and innovators needed to lead any market-changing innovation.
Transportation
Whether you deal with business travelers, tourists, or products in the supply chain, safety and schedule reliability are two of the key deliverables in this industry. For decades, Denison has worked with leaders from the transportation industry, helping to transform organizations in the face of changing markets and technologies to ensure consumer safety, satisfaction, and bottom-line business success.

When you bring Denison on board, our experienced consultants help you make decisions and plans based on data benchmarked against the global industry. As a result, we put your organization on the path to high performance, with measurable benefits right to your bottom line.
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Builds Team Orientation
Self-Directed Learning:
We provide you with recommended books, articles and blogs that INSERT TEXT HERE APOEICNWPEOICNWPOINPEW OINPOWIEJFPWOEIFJPWOEIFJPO WIEJ PWEOFIJWPOEIFJWPOPSF WEPOIJFPAOIEJFWPOPWIWIJ.
The individual manager places value on employees working cooperatively toward common goals and often relies on team effort to get work done. S/he helps establish a sense of mutual accountability for the accomplishment of goals.

Learning On-The-Job:
Social Learning:
Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint.j;jwoeifjwoe woifj woefij wpoiefj woepfij wpoeifjw epofi opwiejf wopei wpoiejf wopeifj pwoiejf woefij woefij wopeifj nfoifwjpoefijwpoefihpofewh poweif wpoefih epofiwh efwpoihwfe wpoefih weofihwe fpoweifh wpofih
Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint.
Walking the Walk: 3 Ways to Ensure a Team-Oriented Business Culture Test Link: Google Test Link: Google
Defines Strategic Direction & Intent
Smart restaurant owners know that their patrons’ experiences are driven by the culture of their organizations. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by their culinary and wait staff help make the difference in each dish that is served. They know that it is each patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what what a team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Defines Goals & Objectives
Smart restaurant owners know that their patrons’ experiences are driven by the culture of their organizations. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by their culinary and wait staff help make the difference in each dish that is served. They know that it is each patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what what a team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Defines Core Values
Smart restaurant owners know that their patrons’ experiences are driven by the culture of their organizations. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by their culinary and wait staff help make the difference in each dish that is served. They know that it is each patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what what a team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Works to Reach Agreement
Smart restaurant owners know that their patrons’ experiences are driven by the culture of their organizations. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by their culinary and wait staff help make the difference in each dish that is served. They know that it is each patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what what a team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Manages Coordination & Integration
Smart restaurant owners know that their patrons’ experiences are driven by the culture of their organizations. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by their culinary and wait staff help make the difference in each dish that is served. They know that it is each patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what what a team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Develops Organizational Capability
Smart restaurant owners know that their patrons’ experiences are driven by the culture of their organizations. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by their culinary and wait staff help make the difference in each dish that is served. They know that it is each patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what what a team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Creates Change
Smart restaurant owners know that their patrons’ experiences are driven by the culture of their organizations. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by their culinary and wait staff help make the difference in each dish that is served. They know that it is each patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what what a team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Emphasizes Customer Focus
Smart restaurant owners know that their patrons’ experiences are driven by the culture of their organizations. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by their culinary and wait staff help make the difference in each dish that is served. They know that it is each patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what what a team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Promotes Organizational Learning
Smart restaurant owners know that their patrons’ experiences are driven by the culture of their organizations. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by their culinary and wait staff help make the difference in each dish that is served. They know that it is each patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what what a team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Creates Shared Vision
Smart restaurant owners know that their patrons’ experiences are driven by the culture of their organizations. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by their culinary and wait staff help make the difference in each dish that is served. They know that it is each patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what what a team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support each patron’s experience. We provide you with benchmarked data from across the food industry to help you understand your organization right from each patron’s entry to the final after-dinner mint. We also provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address your challenges, allowing you to attract new customers, retain loyal brand customers, and ensure superior financial performance.
Empowers People
The individual helps to create an environment where individuals have authority, initiative, and ability to manage their own work. The individual has a sense of ownership and responsibility for the organization.

Self-Directed Learning (Books | Articles | Blogs):
Learning On-The-Job:
Social Learning:
Practice this competency on-the-job. Ideas for what other leaders are doing to develop this competency for themselves and their teams.
Identify a suitable form of learning from others through mentoring and/or coaching.
1:1 Mentoring
Identify or ask your manager to match you with an executive mentor or a peer mentor based on your action plan focus area.
Group Mentoring
Join or create a group of 4-6 peer leaders who engage a senior mentor and meet as a group once or twice a month to discuss various topics and do structured group activities. Group mentoring combines senior and peer mentoring, as mentees learn from both the mentor and each other.
Training-Based Mentoring
Join a training program that matches you (or take the initiative to identify a mentor) with a mentor based on the specific skills taught in the training program.
Community of Learning: In-Person
Community or learning (often called “learning circles” is a great way to network and learn from peers and leaders for a common area of interest (management excellence). Join or start a group of employees who are interested in strengthening a particular competency. Identify specific topics, format (talk, panel, discussion, etc.) and meet periodically.
Community of Learning: Virtual
Similar in concept to “In Person” community of learning, except that where in person interaction is impractical or impossible due to different geographic locations. Instead, members use electronic methods such as email, instant messaging, and video conferencing. Join or start a community of learning that is virtual and build your global network and expertise.
Coaching
Identify a professional coach to help you improve, grow, and develop skills to overcome obstacles strengthen your competencies.
Create an employee group and provide the sponsorship and resources needed as they focus on solving a customer need.
Have leaders engage their employees in discussion to clarify what decisions they can make, those they can influence, and those who are beyond the scope of that employee’s responsibility.
Create a manager “learning community” that allows managers to learn from each other about best “people management” practices, including delegation and empowerment.
Have employees form a “disappearing task force” with a clear charge to understand and resolve a specific business challenge.
Recognize and reward individuals and teams that take the initiative to solve a business issue or customer problem.
Hold weekly “current affairs” meetings to provide regular updates and information to employees so that they can make more informed decisions.
Give staff the opportunity to tailor their training curriculum to fit their interests and needs.
Empower employees by giving them the ability to “stop the line” if they see a quality or safety risk.
Ask employees to provide their leader with a list of responsibilities and decisions that they believe they should own.