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A comparison of two different countries working environment

In my first article, I explained the overall reasons for why a healthy working environment is so important. In this article, I will try to explain how it is possible to get an overall picture of how employees perceive the working environment, and how it is possible fairly easily to pinpoint the most critical WORKING ENVIRONMENT problems existing in the company. Being able to pinpoint the problem makes it easy for a company to take action. It saves a lot of money for the company, but I will come to that in a later article.


The charts:


Please take a moment to become familiar with our charts. They should be easy to understand for everybody. Please have a look at the two charts shown below. Take a few minutes to think what kind of WORKING ENVIRONMENT that these two different charts might represent:


Chart 1:

Chart 2:  
How to read the charts:  

Please note the elements in the chart:
The chart is divided into three main categories:

  1. General working environment (Right side of the chart)
  2. Physical working environment (Upper left side of the chart)
  3. Mental working environment (Lower left side of the chart)

Workers taking the survey, are asked to rate their company with a rating from “0” to “10” where “0” is the worst rating (or expression of the worker being very un-satisfied) and “10” is the highest rating (or an expression of the worker being most satisfied). An average is calculated for each elements in the survey, and the average is shown as this chart. Thus the bigger the orange area is the more satisfied the worker also is. The less orange, less satisfied. Very simple.


The two charts above, shows two completely different perceptions of the WORKING ENVIRONMENT seen from the workers side. Chart 1, has a very large orange area, and as you can see, there are not many areas where there are a big difference at all. It is a picture of a very healthy and sound working environment. Only one area, namely “skill-up and education” are rated very low and needs attention. As this chart is an average, it means that most employees are really unsatisfied with the company’s policy on skill-up and education of the employees. This might be the area that needs most attention. It might be so, that offering employees opportunities for skill-ups they want, can keep them from seeking jobs elsewhere saving your company the trouble and cost of finding new employees and making them familiar with the product or services that you provide to your customers.


The second chart is completely different from the first one. First of all, the orange area is very small, telling the story of employees being very unsatisfied with the WORKING ENVIRONMENT on many areas. Only very few issues, like smoking policy, discrimination, air quality, and working hours are rated high. The average rating of all other issues is quite low. As this is an average, it tells a story about most employees being unsatisfied with most WORKING ENVIRONMENT issues on the working place. It is a company having huge difficulties in a lot of issues. This company probably looses a lot of money because of unsatisfied employees that are not able to engage properly in their work. It can be difficult for such a company to find out where to start improving the WORKING ENVIRONMENT. On the other hand, all areas are relevant and just small improvements can be perceived by the workers very positively and have a huge impact for the company. But I will come to these improvements and what might be most effective in future articles.

You dont need 100% satisfaction  

Some might want to look for a company with 100% rating or as close as you get to 100%. But remember how you would rate a company if it was you. Clearing the magic 50% is the key issue. 50% means that you are neither satisfied or unsatisfied which also means that the worker does not really have any WORKING ENVIRONMENT issues they find critical. So, 50% is NOT a bad rating at all. No woker will ever rate a company with 100% in all categories. If he did, it wouldn’t be a serious rating. Of course 60% or 70% is much better than 50%, but the point is three things:

  1. To clear the magic 50% in average
  2. Not having an un-even rating
  3. Not having areas rated under 25% in average in any single issue
What does it actually express?  

The chart is an expression of the workers degree of satisfaction, and can not necessarily be a comparison between two actual working conditions. You cannot take this chart and for instance compare Japan and US, and say,

“US actually has a better WORKING ENVIRONMENT than Japan”

What we measure here, is the employee’s degree of satisfaction working there. Japanese workers might be satisfied with a lower standard of WORKING ENVIRONMENT than US workers would. So what you can compare is the level of the workers satisfaction.


It is also important to understand, that the chart might give you an idea of where the WORKING ENVIRONMENT problem in your company lies, but the comments from the employees specifies these areas making it possible for to advice the company on where to actually start improving. The chart makes it easy to understand where the problems are, and the workers comments specify the actual problem /-s. You need both if you want to optimize the WORKING ENVIRONMENT in your company.

The two sample charts  

The two sample charts shown above is by the way:

  1. First chart – a european workers WORKING ENVIRONMENT in 5 different companies during her last 20 years of employment
  2. Average of Japanese ratings we have got to date
    (“Human relation” and “predictability” was added to the survey later, why on the Japanese chart these two figures as a “0” rate)
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