AON Hewitt recently released this research statistic:
11% of employer’s measure employee engagement more than once a year. 47% of companies intend to move to a more frequent survey.
Engagement surveys have been around for likely a decade when engagement concepts began to take hold and warrant further discussion and study. But the challenge is, in that decade the needle on engagement levels has not moved at all or minimally. In essence there has been no real improvement. The various reasons for this include:
- Lack of follow up and feedback to employees
- Not asking the right questions
- No planned strategy to make improvements
- Disagreement at the corporate leadership level on what needs to be done and how
- No commitment to improvement or budget to make the necessary changes
I am sure there are other reasons as well.
Are Engagement Surveys Necessary?
But are engagement surveys even necessary? Why? If you follow the research by the major human capital firms (Gallup, Blessing White, AON Hewitt, Towers Watson.) they all confirm engagement is a problem in the workplace!!! So why do you need to study it in your organization? Are you really that different? Why? Are your millennials different from the millennials at the company up the street? The competitor you deal with? Other industries in your sector? Are your baby boomers different as well? As engagement is really a people issue are the needs, goals and desires of your employees really that much different from the needs, goals and desires of the employees at the other businesses in your city or in your industry?
Likely NOT, at least not significantly!
Would it not make more sense to accept that engagement is a challenge in all industries and sectors (with some variances) and instead of focusing on studying and investing in engagement analysis, focus on investing in engagement solutions? There has been significant research along with concrete evidence that explains not only the benefits of engagement but also the connection to business success and profit. There has also been tremendous research into the drivers of engagement and the needs of employees that can have a positive impact on engagement levels.
Invest in Engagement Survey Alternatives
Here are a few engagement survey alternatives:
- Ensure that core company values and ideals are alive and well in the organization and that all leaders at every level exemplify these values by their leadership style and actions every day.
- Ensure leaders cultivate the desired attitudes, behaviors and results by the way they recognize, acknowledge and appreciate employee effort and contribution.
- Ensure leaders help employees find meaning and purpose in their work.
- Ensure leaders take the necessary steps to build trust levels and strong working relationships with every employee they manage.
- Ensure leaders take one on one time to talk to every employee they are responsible for to understand their needs, career aspirations and desires along with what motivate, inspires and engages them.
- Ensure leaders help and support employees in the work experience they are seeking so that they have the chance to enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling career.
- Ensure leaders find a way to cultivate employee ideas, suggestions and participation so they become proud and confident in their ability to be part of the process and their input is valued and appreciated.
- Ensure leaders help all employees grow, improve and develop new skills and abilities so their performance improves as well.
- Ensure leaders develop strong communication, listening and interpersonal skills to better connect with employees on an emotional level.
If organizations focused on and invested in the points above and helping their leaders develop these skills, competencies and leadership styles, I would suggest engagement surveys would not be necessary and engagement levels would increase!
Focus on the people solutions, not studying the problem
The research is clear on the challenges with engagement. These are people driven issues and will be improved and resolved with people driven solutions that are engagement survey alternatives.