Life after the Employee Engagement Survey

Oct 27, 2020 | Blog, Motivation

So you’ve done it. You’ve conducted an employee engagement survey.

Over the past weeks, or even months, you’ve been getting buy-in and bringing together your team to get this project rolling. 

You’ve read all the stats and studies about employee engagement. You know that 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work, and that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.

You know that in order to ensure your organisation’s long term excellence, employee engagement needs to be a priority, and have managed to convince your team, peers and directorial board the same.

You’ve implemented a cross-company engagement survey. 

All (or almost all) of the employees in your organisation have taken the time to fill in their sentiments about the company, their team, the culture, and their own personal relationship with their role. They’ve detailed everything from how motivated and engaged they feel, to how balanced their personal and professional lives are, to how inclusive they think your company is, and more.

It’s been a huge undertaking, demanding a large amount of coordination from you and your team. But you’ve done it. You can safely say you’ve finally got the numbers to back your decisions, and that you’ve got your finger on the pulse of your organisation.

With all this information, you’re in the perfect position to implement change.  

The time is now. The participants of your survey have their eyes on you and are hungry to see results. You’ve got the qualitative and quantitative data to show to your board to bring about company wide change. The world seems like your oyster. 

But then you freeze. What next? 

You know the state of your organisation, but how do you actually improve it? 

Your survey has identified your company’s weak points, but where to go from here is unclear. How can you improve engagement levels between now and the next survey?

Time is ticking and you’ve got to act fast lest you lose momentum.

Welcome to life after the employee engagement survey. 

 

Where to improve after the employee engagement survey?

 

It’s clear that employee engagement surveys are an effective means of checking the pulse of your organisation.  

They’re the first step in driving improvement, and can help you identify weaknesses and strengths across various teams and departments. However, you need to act fast on these results, since, as time goes on, the results of your engagement survey will become increasingly irrelevant.

Unfortunately, for many organisations, this is exactly what happens. 

This next step is never taken. Engagement surveys are implemented year-on-year, but the results are the same again and again. Metrics simply and dishearteningly plateau. 

It’s critical you do not allow this to occur in your organisation. You should take action and use the insights you’ve gained to create improvement to build a stronger company.

That’s why we’ve broken down employee engagement into four key areas: Development Opportunities, Teamwork, Middle Management, and Basic Needs.

By optimising these four key areas, you can have a direct impact on the primary drivers of engagement in every organisation and make sure that by the time your next survey comes around, there will be a marked improvement. 

We’ve also ensured that all of these techniques are suitable for remote or hybrid workforces, so that no matter where your employees are, they can feel the improvements you’re making to your organisation. 

 

#1: Growth Opportunities 

 

When employees feel that they have an opportunity to grow professionally within an organisation, engagement radically increases.

This means providing employees with opportunities to try new things, start new projects, advance in their career through promotion cycles, and feel their work is seen and appreciated within the company.

Provide performance metrics that employees can use to chart their progress and direct their energies. Clearly communicate how they should prioritise their labour.  

Create opportunities for your employees to find mentors within your organisation – individuals who can teach them and will be invested in their professional development.

Ensure employees receive feedback on and recognition for their work. This will help provide direction and purpose, as well as drive a sense of accountability and ownership. 

Offer employees opportunities to learn and develop their skills. Offer an L&D budget or provide training internally. 

Finally, ensure the promotion track is clear to your employee – what do they need to do to earn that next raise or advance within the company. 

 

#2: Teamwork and collaboration

 

The team in which an employee works is critical to their happiness within an organisation. 

In fact, some studies even go on to suggest that it is ultimately teams themselves which hold most influence on engagement within an organisation, and that any endeavours to improve such metrics engagement within an organisation should focus on a team level. 

Efforts to improve engagement scores should focus on effective team collaboration and relationships. 

Psychological safety has a big role to play in effective team collaboration. Ensure that team-members feel safe to make and share their mistakes. Teams should be encouraged to effectively support and collaborate, thereby promoting a spirit of ingenuity and continuous improvement. 

Create opportunities for team members to spend time with one another and learn more about one another will enhance collaboration and a supportive mindset within your teams.  

Ice-breaking sessions can rejuvenate team spirit if it has stagnated, encouraging teammates to re-engage with one another and understand one another better. 

Schedule regular video calls, organise daily standups and virtual after-work drinks in order to create opportunities for remote teammates to collaborate.

 

#3: Middle Management 

 

Middle management are critical to engagement in an organisation.  

In fact, Gallup says that managers are responsible for up to 70% of the variance in employee engagement.  

Ensuring that managers are well trained, attentive and fair to their teammates will improve employee engagement levels within your organisation. 

Train your managers properly in effective leadership styles. Of these, there are two primary types, supportive leadership and developmental leadership. Both leadership styles are formed by a series of positive management behaviours including providing feedback and recognition, supporting employee growth, regular communication, and personal caring.

Regular touch-points should take place between managers and their team members, whether these are scheduled calls, monthly one-on-ones, or ad hoc chats. 

Encourage your managers to act as role models. It’s frequently been observed that a manager’s mood directly influences that of their followers. Managers should demonstrate engaged behaviour, which will in turn be replicated by their team members.

 

#4: Basic Needs

Last but not least, basic needs are an often overlooked fundamental component of employee engagement. Occasionally, it is the absence of essentials which your employee engagement survey may expose.

Basic needs can be broken down into psychological needs and physical resources.

Psychological needs are the basic needs an employee must have met in order to feel motivated. Maslow’s theory of human motivation explains that humans must have physiological needs, safety, social needs, esteem, and self-actualisation needs met in order to feel engaged.

As well as these, employees need to have the appropriate physical resources in order to be engaged. 

Ensure that your employees have access to the equipment, physical space, technology, training, and work environment employees need to perform at their best.

In the case of remote employees, make certain that they have a physical space in which it is possible for them to work effectively and undisturbed. 

 

 

By ensuring that these four areas of engagement are optimised, you will be well on your way to improving engagement across your organisation, so that by the time your next engagement survey comes around, you’ll see a marked improvement in its results. 

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