Improving staff motivation

How an hospital used Synthetron to improve staff motivation


The top management of a large hospital complex had gone through a major restructuring and sensed unrest among the staff. They wanted to take action to improve staff motivation.


To capture the main motivators and de-motivators directly, the management organised a series of 12 segmented Synthetron discussions for employees (doctors, nurses, administrative and cleaning staff).


The approach addressed the feeling in some parts of the organization that they didn’t really belong, or that all the decision were made in HQ.
It also helped build team spirit as every month staff had the experience of working with global colleagues on an important question.

Translating values into behaviours

How a financial institution translated its values into do’s and don’t for branch personnel using synthetron online dialogues


A financial institution wanted to translate a set of global values into meaningful do’s and don’t for everyone “on the floor” in their retail branch network.


Synthetron took a segmented approach, organising 8 sessions catering to different languages and split by size and by level (branch director and branch personnel inviting for each around 200 employees).

In the discussions, participants were first asked to share their enthusiasm for the values so as to understand drivers and hesitations.
Next, the focus lay on the meaning and translation of values in behaviours. Meaning in the sense of what do we stop doing? Start doing? or keep doing?
Finally the participants engaged to share what they can do to make things happen.


All participants that were invited did participate. They were very enthusiastic that they could contribute their views. The discussions created an instant buzz within the network on the values .
The analysis yielded some surprising insights in terms of do’s and don’ts, in the deep understanding of current mind-set of participants and in the change forces.

The content analysis was the basis to produce a small booklet with do’s and don’ts using participants’ own words. The MindSet (language and motivation) profile was used to adapt the communication style. The roll out plan was based on the analysis of change forces.

The do’s and don’ts were rolled out successfully. They were perceived from the beginning “as ours” and two years later are sticking well

Digging into disappointing employee survey results

How a FMCG crowdsourced solutions using Synthetron online dialogues following disappointing survey results on retention and work life balance


A Consumer goods multinational board member was surprised to see – despite overall good results – some very low work-life balance and retention scores in his BU.
Management did not have instant answers for this nor insight in what potential actions would work.


The entire BU was invited to spend 1 hour of its monthly “all in office” day to join a Synthetron session around this, many of them sitting even in the same office. Top management was observing the discussion in a separate room and got some feel of the authentic feedback and sensed the energy of the conversation.


On the day of the discussion, the entire department felt lots of energy and excitement, some difficult topics were on the table and solutions were now clearly articulated.

Within two weeks, Synthetron presented the results to the management and two weeks later to all participants. These included an insight in what the different causes and issues were with a clear table of motivators and de-motivators and actionable “so what table” with 4 improvement areas and the specific suggestions (one area was about a very sensitive topic, that was so far invisible to management). The mindset analysis furthermore made the management aware of how important it was for them to act and how they could best communicate amongst some of the very sensitive issues.

The BU management took action on both the practical solutions suggested, and addressed the sensitive issue very openly. This has created instant good will and a significant increase in People survey scores on this the next year.

“This exceeded our expectations, and those were high.”

Senior board member

Assessing readiness for culture change

How a global company used a Synthetron value jam to assess readiness for a culture change


A worldwide division of a large industrial services multinational developed a proposed new corporate culture with a changed mission. They wanted to test this in order to launch it successfully at the worldwide top 500 conference.


Synthetron organised a value jam session with 8 online open discussions split by employee segment to identify : motivators, irritators , hopes and fears today.
The resulting synthetrons were analysed by segment and also integrated to give an overall  insight into prevailing, missing and aspirational values for different managerial segments.
A clear overall value map (values that enabled or slowed down) for person, team, company outside world plus profile of each segment were produced from the synthetrons and MindSet analysis


Management realised there was a significant gap between today’s aspirations & emotions on the one hand and the proposed new culture on the other.
They realised this would compromise the worldwide conference and that they needed first to adapt  the  proposed corporate culture based on the input, and find the necessary bridges and convincing arguments.
They postponed the conference while they addressed this gap.

Addressing diversity to improve retention

Synthetron online dialogues. Moving forward. Together

How a top league consultancy used Synthetron to address diversity and improve female consultants’ retention


A top league consultancy was concerned about the high staff turnover of its female consultants and felt they did not adequately address diversity.


Two Synthetron sessions – one for male employees and one for females – focused on identifying reasons for joining the company, motivators, tension points and when and how tension points became breaking points.


The outcome demonstrated that both groups had distinct sets of motivation and retention factors.
This output has allowed the organisation to differentiate its policy towards the two groups

Building Employee Value Proposition bottom up

Synthetron Express. The perfect product for a fast turnaround single issue enquiry. Let your people express themselves

How a telecom company built its Employee Value Proposition (EVP) from the bottom up using Synthetron online dialogues


The challenge of the HR department of a telecom company in a changing market environment was two fold:

  •  Maintaining a high level of motivation and employee engagement
  • Attracting the right people

Available material was too generic to help build the “who we are” and “who we want to be” pictures for the EVP.



First, the desired insight was identified: the components of the EVP (affiliation, culture, HR policies, way of working and job), then 6 business-critical target segments were recruited for 11 Synthetron online discussions in different languages over 3 days.

Synthetron designed the discussions to trigger all of our 3H components: behaviour (Heart), rational thinking (Head), and practicalities (Hand). People discussed what motivated them about the company, what they were less enthusiastic about, shared their aspirations and finally give their advice to the leadership.
After every discussion, participants were thanked and given a quick report, which created a lot of goodwill.
The management report was structured so as to give the global view of all segments and the specific insight per segment, in terms of drivers, image, mind-set and management implications.
Profile sheets indicated the starting level and drivers of engagement and how to improve or maintain it, the recommended tone of voice and finally what is common and different to other profiles.



The report and following workshops helped to build the EVP of the company.
This new sharp and strong EVP has since helped to:

  • Build the internal employee branding plan
  • Rewrite job advertisements and find better fit candidates
  • Rewrite the internal career site and reach higher training rates
  • Launch new strategic employee programs

When you deal with a big company, it is not always easy to get the opinion of large groups of employees. Focus groups are time consuming and do not cover all opinions. Working with Synthetron has allowed us to involve a big part of the company when defining our Employee Value Proposition. The Synthetron process is simple, the outcome very valuable, and our people really enjoyed participating. Thanks to the chat sessions we now have a more realistic view about how our employees perceive us as an employer.

VP Employee Engagement Belgacom (Belgium)

Addressing disappointing HR survey results

Listen to your employees in a Synthetron online dialogue and move forward together

How a multinational organization used Synthetron’s crowdsourcing method to address disappointing HR survey results


The annual internal employee satisfaction survey produced disappointing results for “leadership” and “trust” measures. Management discussion led to the idea that by reorganising the organisation, most of these issues would be solved. However, they wanted to hear from the floor if this was really the case. What really mattered to the employees.


Synthetron held a series of 8 Synthetron discussions segmented by management level and business unit/country.
In the discussions participants were first asked the same poll question as in the survey for calibration, followed by a discussion of why to identify root causes. Next, the focus was on identifying the solutions and Key Success Factors. During the discussion, the hypothesis of re-organisation was tested.


A surprising set of root causes were identified. The main root cause was the decision making process in the organisation. In none of the discussions did the participants confirm that reorganisation was the way forward. 4 actions surfaced repeatedly as higher synthetrons in all the discussions. The report give management insights into what actions would have most impact and which were perceived less important.

Management shared the report openly with the participants and held a set of global web meetings to share what actions were identified through the Synthetron session.

In the end, no reorganisation took place. Rather, the decision process was streamlined and a campaign to strengthen empowerment was launched.

The following year’s survey showed significant better results on trust and leadership.

Team building for the new CEO

How the CEO of a small charity use Synthetron to understand the real story of why things weren’t working.


As new CEO he was struggling with team building. He needed to find out what was really going on. Who’d have thought that such a small charity would have such complex personal dynamics? In their large open plan office it was proving hard to get to the bottom of what anybody thought.

He was keen to improve the effectiveness of the organisation, increase its impact and demonstrate how he could add value to a cause he really believed in. But first he had to understand the real story of why things weren’t working.


A donation in kind had given him access to a Synthetron dialogue. He decided to invite everybody from the London office plus some of the regional managers who dealt with volunteers and partner organisations. The topic was simple – what is working and what’s not. Synthetron helped craft the questions that would give him the answers he needed and he watched the session closely. “Maybe you don’t need to do a report” he ventured afterwards, “Since I saw everything already.”

But the Synthetron consultant suggested doing it anyway to look at what was going on below the surface. Not just WHAT people were talking about but also HOW. Understanding the team building dynamics, their motivations and sources of resistance.


The most surprising discovery was the crisis of confidence inside the organisation. He knew there had been some bumps in the road under the previous leadership but he hadn’t realised how deep it ran for employees. No wonder they were struggling to convince partners to get on board if they felt so unsure of the mission and vision of the charity. He was happy to get such a clear steer on the problem blocking team building. And on what they wanted to address it. He set up small action teams straight away to address the issues of what they offered partners and the materials and prospect lists that people needed to get cracking. Let’s move from shy and uncertain to clear and confident he declared.

Involving staff on strategy globally

How an international NGO involved its staff on global scale to shape its new strategy


This international NGO was one of the biggest. The winds of change were blowing through the organisation. Therefore, it wanted to update its strategy. Old, defunct processes were swept away and new questions were being asked of everybody.

The changes were refreshing but also felt a bit unstable. There were some murmurings out in the field as people wondered about the new direction. What was it? Did they agree with it? Did they want to stay?

Then in an unprecedented move the Head of Strategy decided to involve everybody. So they could give input into the new strategy for the next 20 years. However they had staff in 80 countries and no shared language. Hence they thought it would take forever. How could they make sure everybody had a fair chance to express themselves? How could they turn all that raw data into meaningful and robust recommendations?


We set up several Synthetron online dialogue sessions in parallel to be able to involve staff across time zones and languages. In an unprecedented move for inclusion, every single staff member was invited to participate. Hundreds of people inputted thousands of statements and generated a million data points.


After careful analysis the Synthetron consultant was able to give them a single image summing up the story. As well as clear direction on the updated mission and strategy.

Then the board wanted to find out if office staff were over-represented. So Synthetron did a segmented analysis looking only at field staff which confirmed only the most minimal differences of opinion.

The strategy team then incorporated the discoveries into their decision making, confident that their thousands of committed employees were aligned with the new plan.



Fair play and diversity

Let members have their say about their membership in a Synthetron online dialogue

How Synthetron was used to make progress on Inclusion and Diversity


Now that she was in the second week of the job as Inclusion and Diversity manager she was beginning to realise just how hard it was going to be to make this work. Not only was there a split at board level between those who understood the importance of this and those who thought it quite unnecessary, but it was also proving difficult to find out what people really thought. She’d seen those meetings where nobody dared speak up, or they all hid behind political correctness. She wanted to get to the real story so she could see how to move forward.

Then she heard how they’d used a platform called Synthetron in another part of the business and decided to investigate if it could help her too.


We set up 10 online discussions with more than 500 people in the organization.


Two months and ten discussions later the story unfolded before her. Based on what real people in the organisation – over 500 of them – really thought. What they shared about their experiences when they knew they could do that safely.
There was a lot of work to do but she had a much clearer sense of where they stood. And what the Inclusion & Diversity journey was going to look like. She had discovered some hazards to be avoided and some great ideas to be spread across the organisation. A surprising insight had been that fairness was something everybody agreed with. It meant much more to everybody than I&D and avoided a lot of the pushback she had seen in some of the conversations. She had a word to move forward with and a way of measuring progress thanks to the classification data of everyone who participated according to how aware, willing and able they were of the issues at stake.

See how we can help you with our Synthetron I&D+ tool.

Articles on Inclusion & Diversity

  • Sallie Crawcheck, former CEO of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, considers why we still expect women to behave like men and think that is diversity. LinkedIn article
  • Greg Ward, MD of Transguard group explains why it’s just not that hard to have a diverse workplace. LinkedIn article

Leadership meeting needs an agenda

Give citizens a voice with a Synthetron stakeholder dialogue

How a large multinational used Synthetron to focus the agenda for a top leadership meeting


A large multinational was planning the agenda for its Top 100 Leadership meeting. They did this every two years. This time they wanted to discuss how to implement the new strategy. Head Office had created it and they wanted to see it in action.


Prior to the meeting the team used Synthetron to work out where to focus the agenda. They wanted to discover which aspects of the strategy were most important. Before developing the script, Synthetron consultants asked if the strategy was well known and accepted. Although the answer was yes, the script allowed for both scenarios. All of the meeting participants were invited to join in the discussion to help shape the agenda.


In fact the discussion highlighted a lot of confusion. This was true at various levels. Many people were not aware of the strategy and few understood it. Leadership discovered the trouble spots and could start to tackle them. Knowing the Hot Topics for the meeting meant the meeting planners could give them the priority the meeting attendees were looking for. They fine-tuned the agenda and focused on what would generate energy and engagement. In the end they could all move forward. Together.

Getting everyone for the new strategy

How a major electronics manufacturer used Synthetron to engage employees on a new strategy.


A major electronics manufacturer was about to have a significant new strategy launch. They wanted to engage employees to bring it to life in the organisation. But it’s not always easy to create a fair way for everybody to have their say. Traditional cascade systems and town hall meetings can mean many people aren’t heard. So they decided to use Synthetron instead.


We organized 3 Synthetron online dialogue sessions on the same day with a total of 600 employees.
For each session, employees listened first to a webinar explaining the ideas. Then they had their online discussion.
After this session, the CEO came back online to thank them for their participation and tell them when to expect feedback.
In total, more than 2500 comments were gathered through the Synthetron.


Synthetron analysed all the sessions afterwards to deliver key conclusions on employees’ hesitations and accelerators to the client.

The Synthetron sessions identified practical aspects of the strategy that were important to employees on the factory floor or in the distribution chain. Gathering these points of view built engagement as well as provided valuable data.

This enabled the management to adapt the strategy and set targets which they knew were supported by staff.