• jimjr11

    Brennan, I’m certain SoapBox is an ideal product, however I take issue that the data gathering is the challenge leaders face. A far larger issue is how to prevent the “BIG THREE” ( politics, culture, silos) from interfering with the actions indicated by the survey. For example, my firm does employee engagement, but we start with the CEO and he asks only one question. Next we put rules inlace that guarantee no interference for the big three. If an idea is offensive to an executive, they have to have a better reason for not doing something than the employee had for suggesting it. The “or else” is that we get all the data and can move an issue all the way to the CEO in matter of days. If the executive loses the debate, he/she has only a few days to make the change.

    With all the surveying tools I’ve looked at, the data, debates and recommendations are all owned by insiders with careers to protect. There’s only so much pushing you can do when you need your career. Worst yet, is the committee approach. Always remember that nothing truly brilliant nor truly stupid comes from a committee, just the average wrong answer.

    So, with regard to the best way to engage employees is to ask them a simple opened ended question, asked by the CEO and then execute the changes so fast that the results serve to enhance employee participation. Also, the facilitator should absolutely put some portion of their fees at risk pending the client’s assessment of the results. Otherwise, it’s just software.

    • http://www.brennanstudios.com Brennan McEachran

      Hey Jim, I don’t think data gathering is the issue. Orgs are generally pretty good at collecting data… The issue is not treating engagement as a leading indicator to your results.

      I think, in the way you do it, it would be about the importance of setting a question the CEO asks so it will go beyond dialog and will also help the business move forward. If leadership is doing this because they feel obligated to then they’re missing a huge opportunity to grow their business.

      That said, I believe engagement is a bottoms up and top down problem. Managers need to care too

      • jimjr11

        The question the CEO asks the employees isn’t esoteric, it’s as broad and open-ended as a question can be. The challenge with specific questions is that they tend to confine employee thinking to the questions being asked. Our question is nine words long and it generates huge response. Neither my team nor the management team have any idea where this is going to take us. To assume otherwise is just plain silly. I’ve seen surveys where people vote on issues, which are shared along the way. Who cares what the vote is, if it’s a valuable suggestion or comment, management needs to deal with it, votes notwithstanding.

        Regarding your comment on the bottoms up and a top down problem. In our case, since we always report to the CEO, the initial opportunity to make a change is shared with whomever owns the expense or service, usually in the middle somewhere. The top down occurs only when the middle isn’t cooperating. They are always hesitant to be obstructionist because eventually they will end up at the officer level justifying not taking an action, which by all views is a good idea to execute. Not a good more for one’s career.

        “If leadership is doing this because they feel obligated to….:”, I’m sure neither the employees nor investors care much why. I’ve been doing this for twenty years and some portion of the executives and management need to be dragged into this, they’re usually the lazy ones. Not wanting to improve earnings isn’t a choice they get to make when the CEO is really in charge.

  • chad hatten identity theft

    well written