Published on 16-Jun-2011
"IBM SPSS gives us the basis we needed for decision-making, which helps us rethink our business processes and if necessary align them more closely with the needs of the employees." - Prof. Dr. Kurt Zischg, Director of Finance, Informatics and Human Resources at Rudolf Ölz Meisterbäcker GmbH
Rudolf Ölz Meisterbäcker GmbH
Business Intelligence, Information Infrastructure, Information Integration
Rudolf Ölz Meisterbäcker GmbH has been tickling Austria’s tastebuds since 1938, when the family-owned company first began its successful pastries business. Today, Ölz is the market leader and the most popular pastries brand in Austria. The company has stores and warehouses in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, and in 2010, its 850 employees helped to generate total sales of €183 million.
Flexible analysis of an employee survey to gain insights about employees’ needs.
Thanks to IBM® SPSS®, Rudolf Ölz Meisterbäcker GmbH is able to filter its employee surveys by specified variables, create histograms and frequency tables, and perform statistical analyses.
IBM SPSS provides definitive, quantified information about areas such as employees’ needs and the general work climate. This information provides business managers with a sound basis for decision-making to optimise business processes, improve collaboration and support the development of the company.
To read a German version of this case study, please click here.
Rudolf Ölz Meisterbäcker GmbH has been tickling Austria’s tastebuds since 1938, when the family-owned company first began its successful pastries business. Today, Ölz is the market leader and the most popular pastries brand in Austria: brand awareness is at about 98 percent, based on aided recall studies. Eight out of ten Austrian consumers buy Ölz products, more than two thirds regularly and often. The product portfolio comprises more than 100 different products, including specialties like Topfen-Plunder, punch stollen and Bio-Keimkraft toast, a delicious organic sliced bread made from sprouted seeds. The company has stores and warehouses in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, and in 2010, its 850 employees helped to generate total sales of €183 million.
Cultivating organisational culture
To support the continuous growth of the Ölz brand, a coherent organisational culture is crucial. The company emphasises openness and respectful collaboration: its guiding principle is that only with satisfied employees can Ölz continue to hold its excellent position in the market and grow further. A major concern of the company’s management team is to understand the needs and attitudes of the employees in all parts of the company.
Prof. Dr. Kurt Zischg, Director of Finance, Informatics and Human Resources at Rudolf Ölz Meisterbäcker GmbH points out: “The focus of our company leadership philosophy is on maintaining a sound corporate climate and fruitful cooperation at all levels of the business. After all, our employees are our most important resource. And esteem guarantees good employee relationships.”
Employees’ views in focus
In mid-2010, the senior management team decided to conduct a comprehensive employee survey in all departments of the company. The priority was to obtain hard data regarding the work climate, the mood within the company, and employees’ needs. The results would then be used to support decision-making, plan new measures, modify business processes and reconsider communication channels.
The need for an intelligent solution
To conduct a survey of more than 800 employees and analyse the results, Bäckerei Ölz needed a statistics solution that could deliver well-founded insights without too much effort. During his former job as professor at a university of applied sciences, Kurt Zischg had already gained some experience with IBM SPSS software, which made it an easy decision to use IBM SPSS for the employee survey as well.
He comments: “I got to know IBM SPSS as a first-class statistics solution that provides versatile analysis functionality and is easy to use. These were exactly our requirements.”
Successful knowledge transfer
To help to plan the employee survey and the statistical analysis of the results in detail, and also to get to know the features of the statistics software, Bäckerei Ölz invited an IBM SPSS consulting team to conduct a workshop at the beginning of 2010. Working with the consultants, the project team around Kurt Zischg created the plan and concept for the employee survey and the results analysis. The result of the workshop was an extensive questionnaire with 49 detailed questions.
“The questionnaire contained questions about all areas that are important for successful collaboration, such as: employees’ own work environment, their relationships with colleagues, the corporate climate, professional development and acknowledgement, ideas for improvement, and personal employee data,” explains Zischg.
Registering results manually
Because not all employees at Bäckerei Ölz have their own PC, the questionnaire was distributed and filled in by hand in paper form in mid 2010. All divisions of the company were asked to participate: sales and distribution, logistics, production, purchasing, finance, IT and stores. The detailed questions were measured on an ordinal scale: employees could tick values between 1 (applies completely) and 6 (does not apply at all). Subsequently the questionnaires were collected and manually registered within IBM SPSS, where they can be analysed. IBM SPSS Statistics Base is used the main analytical solution, and IBM SPSS Custom Tables makes it easy to present the results in a clear tabular format.
Diagrams at a click
The first stage of the analysis was to examine the validity and plausibility of the results: Are there any answers that cannot be correct? Did employees leave gaps when they filled in the forms? Kurt Zischg was able to get an initial overview of the results within a few minutes.
“When I need a distribution graph for frequencies or mean values, I only need to click on a certain variable and then the software generates a corresponding histogram. For such tasks, IBM SPSS offers a user-friendliness that I have never experienced in any other statistics solution.”
The integrated IBM SPSS Custom Tables solution pays dividends for easy analysis. With a few clicks, Zischg can create user-friendly tables that provide an overview of the statistical analysis. How many percent of the employees are satisfied with the working hours arrangement; how many percent see a need for improvement at cross-department communication; is there a gender-related tendency or a problem in a specific department? All these questions can now be answered instantly, displayed clearly, and compiled into a report. As Kurt Zischg states: “I can drag individual variables quite easily into one column or row and immediately get the table I need. The same level of comfort applies for report generation in Microsoft Office formats – it actually only takes one mouse click to output a report.”
Deep knowledge without diversions
Other functions of the IBM SPSS software offer well-founded and detailed insights into the employee attitudes. For example, Kurt Zischg can use hypothesis tests to calculate probabilities in real-time and render them in graphs immediately. In this way, the solution provides extensive functions not only for descriptive, but also for inferential statistics. Rapid access and analysis of the records facilitates the evaluation of the survey results and provides insights easily, without delays or diversions.
“Thanks to IBM SPSS, we achieved our central goals for the employee survey: we sharpened our awareness of employee interests not only within the senior management team, but also among all the employees themselves. Furthermore, IBM SPSS gives us the basis we needed for decision-making, which helps us rethink our business processes and if necessary align them more closely with the needs of the employees. Finally, we now possess the information necessary to review measures that we implemented in the past.”
Looking to the future with SPSS
The insights that the company is gaining from the SPSS solution have led to a number of actions that the management team has taken to react to the needs of the employees. Key examples include: the introduction of more flexible working hours; changes to the rules governing stand-ins; and changes to cross-departmental communication procedures. The company wants to extend its use of IBM SPSS statistical analysis, and also expand into the area of data mining in future.
Kurt Zischg concludes: “IBM SPSS completely has convinced us that it is the right solution for our needs, and will continue to support us in our efforts to increase growth while supporting a productive corporate climate and effective business processes.”
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