Employee Engagement


More Than a Set of Survey Results

Let me begin by saying that I am a huge fan of the work of Marcus Buckingham and his colleagues at Gallup. I have been for many years, especially their body of work that culminated in the Q12 engagement survey with other studies and reports. It really was groundbreaking and set the tone for having the right conversations.

For organizations that have the infrastructure to thrive and prosper from administering the Q12, I say, “more power to you”. Stick with me and I’ll explain about the infrastructure in a minute. (See their recent work here: http://bit.ly/1syZNhW )

First, lets make the distinction between employee engagement and employee satisfaction.

The intention behind conducting an Employee Satisfaction survey is to measure how the organization’s employees feel about their work and the organization. In the past, this type of survey was considered the “gold standard” and the way organizations bench marked themselves. Many still do.

Employee Engagement is a little different. The intent is to determine how invested the individual employee, and the employee population as a whole, is in the success of the organization. Historically, the survey questions seek information about the relationship between the individual employee and their leader(s), between the employee and their fellow employees, whether they feel they have the opportunity to do their best work every day, the level to which they are positively challenged, have the equipment/resources they need to do their work, and more. The questions are valid and provide useful results. However, it is my opinion that it doesn’t go far enough.

In recent years, the two sets of information probably look more similar than different. (2016 SHRM: http://bit.ly/2pYDd97 )

No matter which survey organizations invest in—and it is an investment, they usually don’t include a mechanism for capturing data like…

  • How often does the individual employee eat their lunch at their desk while working? How many employees do this often, most days, every day?

  • How often does the individual employee work more than 40 hours in a week?

  • What percentage of employees do?

  • Does the individual employee participate in the company wellness program? For how many years?

  • What percentage of the employees participate in the company wellness program?

  • Does the individual employee participate in corporate responsibility programs like a green initiative, food drives, United Way Day of Caring, raising money for causes like the Alzheimers’ Association?

  • What percentage of the employee population participates in whatever corporate responsibility programs the organization undertakes?

  • The number of years the individual employee sees themselves staying with the organization?

  • Are there aspects of the organization’s culture that need improvement? If so, what suggestions does the individual employee have for improvement?

  • How does the individual employee see themselves and the work they do as contributors to the organization’s growth and success? Today? In 3-5 years? Past that timeframe?

  • How does the individual employee define organizational growth and success?

  • What does the individual employee see changing with the organization in the next 1-2 years? Beyond that?

  • What “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” does the individual employee have in mind for themselves? The organization?

See where I’m going with all of this? I feel that by only measuring the items in the survey questions, the organizations’ leadership is missing much, in terms of how engaged the employee population really might be. It is my belief these items are very relevant ways of measuring engagement, too.

What can you do to shift the paradigm in your organization? Spend time looking at all of the ways your organization makes it possible for your employee population to engage. I’ve given you several examples here. Then, start talking with the HR leaders with oversight for the conducting the survey, at whatever interval. Make the case for considering ways that satisfaction or engagement measures might be augmented with additional data.

Contact me for help. I’d love to have this conversation with you and your leadership. How about TODAY?