3 Must-Have Employee Engagement Steps to Take Before You Survey

by Jan 30, 2016Employee Engagement Training

What went wrong? You were certain you were on the right track. You had been convinced after your employee engagement training of the importance of a highly engaged work force. You believed enough in the value of employee engagement as a critical driver of business performance that you were willing to invest heavily in improving employee advocacy, discretionary effort and retention. But here you are with the results of the employee engagement survey and it seems you are stuck. How can you capitalize on the survey results to measurably improve employee engagement? What should you do now?

You are not alone. In fact, in our experience of over two decades in the field of employee engagement, over half of the organizations who conduct surveys are stymied into inaction when they receive the results. They have the necessary data but are uncertain how to take the best next steps. Their curiosity about the level of engagement has been satisfied. But there is little lasting satisfaction when there are no clear moves forward nor specific goals for meaningful improvement.

We maintain that the problem lies at the very beginning of the process. If you want satisfaction from your engagement survey, you need to plan far ahead of administering the survey so that you are ready to make decisions for change when the results are in.

Here are three steps we recommend you take before you even launch the assessment:

1. Add Engagement to Your Scorecard and Assign responsibility for actions.
Get your folks ready for action once the feedback is in and hold them accountable to improving engagement scores. Make sure leadership is on the same page and management understands what you expect them to do. They will be in charge of action planning and implementation. They should be preparing for needed changes ahead.

2. Be clear about where roles begin and end.
Effective engagement surveys cover many topics. Your people need to know which areas they will be responsible for and which not.

We survey over half a million employees across more than 5,000 organizations every year. While many areas and actions matter in terms of engaging and retaining top talent, the research can all be broken down into ten overall categories that combine to describe employee engagement: alignment with the organization’s strategic direction, individual contribution, team effectiveness, retention risk, trust with coworkers, effectiveness of managers, feeling valued, trust in senior leaders, job satisfaction and benefits.

Each segment of your workforce should be involved in the engagement effort. For example, senior leaders can play a role in seeing that the engagement initiative is aligned with company strategies; managers can be responsible for team effectiveness and employees responsible for their individual contributions.

3. Plan on choosing just the critical few moves that will make the greatest impact for your unique strategy and corporate culture.
Rather than spreading your efforts too thin, focus your energy on the few improvement opportunities that will have the greatest impact. Then, as you make progress, you can move on to other actions that will keep the momentum going in the right direction.

The Bottom Line
Plan ahead for action before you begin your employee engagement survey. With the entire work force understanding the rationale for the assessment and involved from the outset, they will be far more confident that this is not just an empty exercise in gathering data but a company-wide effort to build a better work environment and improve organizational performance.

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