• kevin kobett

    My definition of employee engagement is employees working to improve the process. If they care enough to submit an idea, they are likely to be conscientious and dependable in their other duties. Surveys are needed because HR and upper management cannot see what’s happening with frontline employees.

    An online kaizen forum can also measure employee engagement. Post a problem and collect comments/ideas. Just like you are doing here. This process ensures frontline supervision embraces employee engagement since upper management can see how problems are processed (accountability).

  • http://www.TobyElwin.com/ Toby Elwin

    An engagement is difficult to judge without exit interview data. Without insight from the people who opted out of the organization, no matter the reason, engagement provides an incomplete picture to busines impact.

    • http://twitter.com/TexasTwittHR Seth McColley

      Toby…I’ve never been a big believer in exit interviews. Perhaps I’ve just never seen them done a) right or b) effectively, but I’m just not certain how reliable the data is, to be honest with you. My gut tells me that most exiting employees are “checking the box” and telling their employers what they want to hear, so they can move on and leave as quietly as possible. That being said, how exactly would you go about connecting the dots between exit interview data and engagement? What would that look like?

      • http://www.TobyElwin.com/ Toby Elwin

        Seth,

        Doing things incorrectly, too often, is an unfortunate element that should detract from if it should be done. But I do agree, I have not often seen it done well.

        People want to be heard. Exit interviews provide your organization an opportunity to find out why your talent disengaged. How did the organization lose this person’s motivation, to the degree a job change was a preferred option? Changing jobs is no small endeavor, so the information available lends qualitative and quantitative data.

        My main point, though, is that the population who take the engagement survey is biased because the disengaged are no longer part of the survey population.

        Most surveys I’ve been involved with are a train wreck from concept,
        agenda, administration, and analysis too, but people continue to launch
        them. Just getting a dialogue with the survey sponsor on why to use a 7-point over 5-point scale reveals a good opportunity for survey quality.

        2 views:

        http://www.surveygizmo.com/survey-blog/question-scale-length/
        http://www.leadershipiq.com/online-programs/why-5-point-scales-dont-work-and-other-deadly-sins-of-employee-engagement-surveys/ [this report is worth the sign in]

        When you can combine opinion from who remains and who left you have a better organization environment scan. Those truly disengaged either hamper business productivity, and you want to find out why, or chose to leave and you want to find out why, as well.

        How could exit interviews provide a more clear view?

  • http://twitter.com/worksimple WorkSimple

    Great points, Jason. I particularly like the first one, defining engagement for your organization. After all, no two organizations or teams are alike. Some teams require more than others, meaning engagement should be increased. Either way, remember to always illustrate to your employees what is expected of them, company focus, as well as their role in it. When they are innately aware of what they need to do, and how engaged they should be with each, you’ll probably find engagement to be a very natural thing for any team member.

  • Peter A. Arthur-Smith

    In my opinion, Jason Lauritson’s viewpoint is flawed, even thought the underlying sentiments should certainly be heeded to. Taking his four questions, I would respond this way:

    * How do you define engagement? – He stated: “If you haven’t defined engagement for your organization clearly and you have been using an engagement survey from a vendor, you are defaulting to their definition of engagement which may or may not be relevant to your business.” Jason’s overlooking that there’s been plenty of research over the years of people’s fundamental drivers in a work environment. These have been done with millions of people over more than one continent and are simple in nature. You only have to read the books “Drive” by Daniel Pink and “The Enthusiastic Employee, ” by Dr. Sirota and you will see the basis of the PEACAM survey I’ve developed. It is simple and doesn’t need adapting to any organization, since it will just indicate whether the organization is “lighting fires within their people” or ‘lighting fires under them.” Most of them are doing the latter, which is why they don’t have “engagement.”

    * How does engagement drive your business results? – If you have true engagement, you don’t have to “drive” business results: “driving results” implies that you are already failing in engagement. With proper engagement you only have to “focus” and “steer’ people toward the results you desire. My answer to a CEO’s question, “Why should we do this?” is: Most business results are only of interest to the owners, shareholders or executives; they are not translated into the expectations of other stakeholders in or around their organization. Hence most business results are not personalized to everyone required to produce them, ergo there’s limited engagement.

    * Can we measure it in a way that impacts business results? and How will we prove engagement’s impact on results? – To get the pay-off of any engagement initiatives, executives have to do their work, too: which is to faithfully implement the common-sense strategies that usually emerge from any PEACAM survey. So many executives don’t get the pay-off because they’re too busy pointing their finger at their people rather than themselves. When executives do fully play their part, the results from the oraganization and their people speak for themselves – it’s a no-brainer. It doesn’t need a lot of research because it will be pretty self-evident. However, since people by nature are a “slow moving resource,” you normally have to wait up to nine months in a consistently positive environment (rather than being yanked around to all sorts of crisis) for the full results to emerge. There are usually no overnight wonders with people.

    It is within this context that I have my beef with Jason, even though I’m sure he does a lot of good work with his own approach. What usually puts a lot of CEOs off, is the reams of analysis and data that are thrown at them, with no simple approach to implement the outcome. That needs to change, if we’re gpoing to make progress with the “engagement issue.” Best, Peter A. Arthur-Smith, Leadership solutions, Inc.