So, your engagement survey has done a fabulous job in pinpointing the current state of your company-wide engagement, BUT what are you going to do to FIX any of the problems it highlighted for you? You know how important engagement is. You’ve had the phrase ‘we can only manage what we can measure’ drilled into your thinking. And your people are waiting for you to make them happy – that’s enough to make you disengaged. Why isn’t this working? Maybe because we don’t appreciate the differences in the types of survey we are giving. Or, maybe we’ve stretched our expectations of the survey results way outside their original intent. Probably both.
The 2 kinds of engagement surveys
Let’s look at what we’ve got. There are two perspectives that frame the activities in your business: the organization and the individual. My research validates that the ‘language’ of these two types of surveys will differ, according to their different needs. Look at it this way: Organizations need productivity; individuals wish for engagement. So, which language does your engagement survey use?
- From the individuals’ perspective,
you get lots of how-does-it-FEEL-to-work-here kinds of questions (because engagement is mostly ‘felt’).
- Do you have a best friend at work?
- Do you feel your leader cares about you?
- Do you feel your opinions count?
Imagine your job depends on increasing engagement results. What are you going to do about finding a best friend for anybody? Do you really know why anyone feels their boss doesn’t care about them, not to mention what to do about it? And, by the way, how exponentially more horrific does this become when you have thousands of employees? (For that matter, even 10 could be tough!)
- From the organizational perspective,
you get a lot of how-great-do-our-processes-MEASURE-UP-to-you kinds of questions (because productivity is mostly measurable).
- Have you received a performance appraisal in the last 12 months?
- Are you clear as to the expectations in your role?
- Are you able to see how your role affects company-wide performance?
Now, imagine you’re the one who receives these answers. Better? You will probably put together a task force to address the changes to the work processes. But, even if you roll out some pretty good stuff, are you sure – as your job depends on it – that you are going to improve engagement?
Which kind of survey are you using? That’s a trick question, because neither of these surveys is enough on its own. Why? Because, for 2 decades, at least, we have had the same horrifically awful statistic that less than 20% of employees are actively engaged in their work. With the time and investment we have put into measuring their moods, shouldn’t we have seen more of an active increase in engagement? Because, don’t we urgently need it with businesses changing in such unprecedented ways? It’s as if the surveys have been pointing out the obvious for decades, but what are we supposed to do about it?
Measure something new – – in a new way
Why are we measuring if our people are engaged, instead of how to engage our employees in the productivity that the organization needs? [And, btw, why aren’t we figuring that out before we ask them whether they got there or not?]
In my graduate thesis, I unveiled an assessment system that surveys how your people choose to perform so that leaders have precise, predictive information to highlight strengths-based paths to drive the business – now and for the future – without sacrificing engagement. The result is sustainable Engaged Productivity™.
Of course, as you saw from the statistics above, simply achieving engagement in productivity, at any one moment, would be a pretty great thing. But, it is the ability to keep it going, even through changing environments – that engages me the most about this new method. Unlike ‘happiness’, this could be sustainable.
Fear not, though… You can keep your engagement surveys. Let them inform you of the state-of-engagement at any moment. Then, if you add the measures of Engaged Productivity™, you can highlight the most engaging path to get productivity back on track and predict ways to keep the foundation of your engagement activities running smoothly. Your people can choose to work, in a way that works! (Maybe even engaging in a few new friendships.)
Next up… What does engagement really mean?
We may be all bent on measuring it, but we haven’t really agreed on a definition.
There are 3 ways to frame that definition, btw.
Engaged Productivity™ encompasses revolutionary new thinking
to solve the employee engagement challenge in quick, precise and predictable ways.
Learn more about Engaged Productivity™
Follow Authentum on twitter: @AuthentumAtWork