Employee Engagement: The Missing Piece
You thought you put in place all of the pieces it would take to run a successful employee engagement survey. You did your homework and knew that you should:
• Garner executive commitment and support
• Ensure that action would be taken according to the engagement survey results
• Communicate effectively to the workforce regarding the importance of employee engagement and the need for their anonymous feedback
• Administer the report and gather data
• Summarize the employee engagement findings and report them back
You did all that, but then implementation of the engagement results hit a huge snag. The managers, for the most part, did nothing with the engagement results. They simply did not follow up. The entire effort will be for naught unless the managers fulfill their role to enact the results vis-à-vis their followers.
It’s late in the game to figure out why they are stalled. They may not have fully understood their role in affecting employee engagement; they may not have bought into the need for assessing and improving employee commitment; they may not feel they have the skills to have the one-on-one conversations necessary. Regardless you now have a new list of to-do’s.
To rescue the survey and make use of what was learned, you need to engage the managers so they in turn can follow the recommendations of the survey and engage their direct reports.
• Provide support.
Help managers understand how critical their role is in the process and in their success. Share the employee engagement survey results in a way that makes sense to them. Help them see how to interpret the results and how the results apply to their team in particular. Make sure they understand how improved engagement will benefit them personally, their team as a group, and the company as a whole.
• Simplify the follow-up process.
Are your busy managers overwhelmed with what they think will take too much time? Outline a plan that will give them the steps they should follow to use the results in a way that will increase engagement. Let them know it can be as easy as presenting the scores and asking each report, “Where should we improve and how?” Provide some role plays and coaching on how to have those meaningful and productive conversations with their reports and their team.
• Hold them accountable.
Managers should understand from the start that engagement is their responsibility too. In fact, it should be a measure of their performance as a manager. A manager’s relationship with their team has a significant impact on an employee’s happiness at work. Just as they are tasked with managing the performance of their team, they should be expected to carry out their responsibilities in implementing the company’s strategic initiatives. Effective survey follow-up is certainly a part of that.
Fix the piece that was missing in your employee engagement program and get the managers enthusiastically, effectively and accountably aboard.