Qualitative Workplace Case Study
Due to the sensitive nature of this research – we have not named the corporation who commissioned this research.
This qualitative research project sought to gather insights surrounding the experiences and characteristics of resilient, high performing, long-term employees. The workplace had a high turnover rate with nearly a quarter of new employees leaving after the first year. Conversely, they had high performing employees who had been employed for over 15 years. The purpose of the research was to provide an understanding of the characteristics of these long term resilient high performing employees to provide insights into recruitment of individuals who would be a better cultural fit thus reducing the high turnover rate.
Vogl & Blake was consulted to explore the experiences of long term, ‘high performing’ employees and their personal, social, and behavioural characteristics, specifically within the cultural context of this workplace.
Qualitative research methods were used to address this issue and offer leverageable insights to the company.
A semi-structured interview schedule was constructed. Questions were informed by the literature on high performance and resilience in the context of the workplace and through discussions with some HR staff to gain a greater understanding of this particular workplace culture.
A purposive sample of employees deemed ‘high performing’ and ‘resilient’ by their managers participated in semi-structured, in-depth interviews.
With consent, the interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim to later be used for analysis. Two researchers independently coded the interviews into themes and performed thematic data analysis before comparing their interpretations and determining consistency.
Additionally, secondary data from de-identified employee engagement findings and de-identified exit data from exit interviews were analysed by the researchers to gain supplementary insights.
Vogl & Blake produced a report for the workplace which included the following findings:
High performing employees were resilient and adaptable which allowed them to cope or even thrive among the constant change and fast-paced nature of this particular workplace.
Participants emphasised the importance of both possessing and granting personal autonomy in the workplace.
High performers shared opportunistic capabilities, allowing them to identify and take advantage of emerging opportunities within a fast-paced environment.
One of the most common indicators of high performance was an internalisation of workplace mission and values as this made employees feel as though their work was meaningful. High performers also shared a passion for the work they do, highlighting the importance of connection to encourage motivation.
5. Social capital
The other most common indicator of high performance was managerial support (both past and present), and possession of social capital. Leadership support and social capital offered employees exposure and internal networks that enabled their potential for engagement and recognition. This was particularly the case for the women who were perceived as high performers.The outcomes of this research determined the approach and scope for necessary improvements to Interaction’s branding and website in order to effectively engage with current and new audiences.
The research indicated that quietly achieving high performers may go unnoticed without managerial or leadership support, as they may lack necessary exposure or networking opportunities. It was suggested that further research would be valuable in confirming the extent to which high performers go under the radar and comparing the characteristics of people who exit from this workplace within the first two years with the characteristics of the participants who were selected as high performers.