Taking Employee Engagement Beyond the Survey

Employee Engagement Surveys

So you’ve rolled out your employee engagement survey and find yourself with some interesting insights! Now what? If you’re not sure what to do with that data, you’re not alone. Most companies don’t know how to operationalize these insights to truly improve performance and the employee experience. But there’s not a moment to spare right now.

In a trend that kicked off over a year ago, more than 47 million people quit their jobs last year, and a record-breaking 4.5 million Americans quit in March alone (BLS), amounting to 3.0% of the workforce. Without a strategy for putting your employee engagement survey insights to work and a roadmap for operationalizing your culture , you may keep losing employees.

The Problem with Employee Engagement Surveys

Originally a human resources concept, employee engagement has taken on broader context and value in the modern workplace, serving as a measure of employees’ dedication and enthusiasm for their job, managers, co-workers, and the organization. 

However, HR departments often find it difficult to get employees to complete these employee engagement surveys. Sometimes, when workers do fill them out and HR discovers a department has a morale problem, it can be just as difficult to get those workers to speak up and explain why they’re unhappy. There’s good reason for that.

Employee engagement surveys, and the way they’re administered, tend to have flaws that either prevent leaders from truly understanding morale at their companies, or from doing much to lift morale if it’s low. Many surveys ask information about the respondent’s department, general title, compensation level, years with the company, and so on – making anonymity unlikely. Often, employees suspect that managers will easily figure out which replies were from whom, casting doubt on how honest a respondent might be.

So if a survey reveals widespread discontent in a department or across the company, whether a leader will be able to address employee concerns will depend on how candid workers feel they can be with that leader. Surveys tend to serve as a poor substitute for daily face-to-face communication. The idea should be to create enough trust such that people can speak up without having to hide behind surveys. 

Your employee engagement survey will only be as successful as the effort and ability for post-survey culture change. When leaders do learn of morale problems through surveys, their reactions can range from denial and defensiveness to an embracing attitude that looks at the results as a baseline measure upon which improvements can be made.

Better Ways to Foster a Culture of Feedback and Stronger Employee Engagement

Use Shorter, Ongoing Feedback Channels: Use surveys to learn about your employees’ feelings on engagement. Let’s take a brief look at a couple of survey options:

  • Pulse Survey Feedback: Organizations can frequently perform pulse surveys, which consist of 10-15 questions on a specific topic. These quick surveys don’t take much of your employees’ productivity time, but they give you a real-time reading of the mood throughout your organization.
  • Career Mobility and Development Feedback: These types of surveys are typically peer-to-peer and subordinate-to-employee. They can help make the annual review process easier and more streamlined, but also provide valuable information on your employees’ career mobility plans. Employees now expect mobility and flexibility to move into different roles and to shape their workdays. But many employers do not create personalized progression plans for their employees. 

Conduct One-to-One Employee Interviews: Employee engagement interviews can be informal exchanges among managers or HR leaders and remote employees through phone calls or Zoom sessions. These might be helpful to conduct each month or quarter. They are an opportunity for employees to share any concerns, new ideas, comments, and for you to demonstrate that you hear and see the employee. These face-to-face check-ins can also help you nip problems in the bud – before they grow into mountains and this becomes an exit interview. 

Encourage Virtual Break: Employees naturally form relationships at the watercooler or taking 15-minute walks together. In today’s way of working, encourage your employees to make these breaks virtual. Recommend setting up a Zoom coffee break or a Zoom walk via social media posts. Thanks to smartphones, people can enjoy break time with co-workers just as easily and regularly as ever, which will help build trust and stronger relationships – translating into better engagement. 

Run Mood Meter Checks: Before the beginning of a meeting, ask everyone to respond with a quick phrase, single term, emoji, gif or meme to reflect a combination of their mood and personality – or ask for a rating between 1 to 10. These fun mood checks are low-key surveys without the intention of gathering feedback. Instead, these mood checks can be used to make sure everyone is having a good day and to see if you need to follow up with anyone after the meeting.

Mix It Up With Games Thanks to today’s amazing technological tools, you can create a seamless work environment for everyone, no matter where they are. Suggest that employees participate in fun activities such as:

  • Open mic sessions for singers, poets and comedians
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Gardening chats and seed-starting tutorials
  • Interactive video games
  • Team trivia

Real-Time Communication & Collaboration Plugins: One of the biggest sources of employee frustration and discontent is a lack of connection and ability to collaborate effectively with teammates. With a communication & collaboration plugin to your already existing daily communication tools – Gmail, Outlook, Slack, and meetings, you have access in real time to:

  • Tips to better understand employees’ learning styles, motivations, and values
  • An ability to create a more equitable and engaging experience for remote team members 
  • Actionable emotional intelligence data that helps team members work better with one another

The Next Step: Operationalizing Culture

In addition to these tactics, consider what technology can do for you when it comes to putting your employee engagement survey insights to work. This means taking the challenges you uncovered during your employee engagement survey and identifying WHY employees feel this way and HOW to improve it. What are the behavior, motivators, and work energizers that have led to your survey results — the why?

Knowing if your team members are content or not, engaged or not, is not all that helpful. And it also does not help align your culture to business strategy, which is essential if you want to improve organizational performance. That’s where Humantelligence comes in. We help you understand the why and then provide the insights needed to align culture to strategy for a team, a functional group, a division, or the entire organization.

In the end, team members who are engaged and connected with their organization tend to feel that their position and efforts in the company make a difference. This feeling can inspire them to stay with the organization longer. They also want to work in a role that matches their values and builds their skills. 

The problem is, many employees are not in roles that match their skills or their values. Compounding that, employers are using a “warm body” approach to hiring, not considering the personality traits, motivations or skills of candidates. Because of that, employee frustration often comes through in the employee engagement survey results. Make sure employees are a fit for their role and that it aligns with their goals. 

Let us show you how it can work for you for free! Submit this request and claim your complimentary Team Culture Mapping to understand how you can operationalize your engagement survey insights and make real, sustainable changes. Don’t worry, the time investment is minimal, and we guarantee that you will find it valuable! Best of all, after this exercise, you’ll have the roadmap and tools to:

  1. Optimize collaboration among all team members
  2. Build a more engaged & inclusive culture for your team (DEIB)
  3. Identify strengths and blind spots for hiring or learning opportunities

As a result, your team’s performance and productivity will improve. You may also want to consider an Employee Engagement Software and Performance Management System. With this type of solution, you can help employees focus on specific strategic goals and actions, delivering fast, measurable business results. You would have access to various surveys and other metrics to make sure everyone is on track for success.

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