Engagement and Surveys: Based on Gallup’s Q-12 (the 12 research questions that validly and reliably determine employee engagement) and research conducted by Sears (1998 HBR article) on Employee-Customer-Profit Chain. we know that there is a scientific, definable link between an employee’s attitude toward his/her company and job that directly affects customer retention and profitability.
a. Start with the Science: Engaged employees go “above and beyond” at their jobs. Key issues—
i. Work Environment: Herzberg’s two-factor analysis research: separate factors drive satisfaction (motivation) and dissatisfaction (hygiene factors). In essence, people need basic needs covered to come to a company or organization, but higher needs must be addressed to stay around.
ii. The Job: Theory of job design (Hackman and Oldham)—higher employee engagement happens when their work is meaningful, they have autonomy, and get feedback.
iii. Type of Leadership: When followers feel that leaders “care” about them, inspire them to noble visions, and effectively communicate, their motivation is increased and strong engagement ensues.
iv. Engagement and profitability—Gallup’s research has shown a causal relationship between engagement and profitability.
b. Eliminate Complexity and Add Value: Keep it simple.
i. Ask as few questions as you can. Conference Board reviewed a number of major engagement studies and came up with the eight (8) key areas and questions around engagement (see p. 113).
1. Do I believe the leaders in the organization will do the right things? (Trust and Integrity)
2. Does my work excite me? (Nature of the job)
3. Does what I do make a difference to the company? (Line of sight to performance)
4. Can I grow my career here? (Career development)
5. Do I feel good about being associated with this company? (Pride)
6. Do I like those I work with? (Coworkers and team members)
7. Am I being developed? (Employee development)
8. Do I value my manager? (Relationship with manager).
ii. Pick a valued engagement model and employ it. There are MANY engagement models out there that are valid and reliable. Just pick one and get started.
iii. Focus on data, rather than opinion. When developing or reporting, focus on data first and opinion second, if at all. Negative respondents tend to disproportionately add detail to the ratings, which can be debilitating to the employee.
c. Create Transparency and Accountability
i. Share your results openly. The more transparency, the better. Shows honesty, trustworthiness, and courage.
ii. Give regular feedback—focus on feed-forward comments: You told me to do this, and here’s what I did….
iii. Make accountability for engagement central in your performance appraisal.
iv. Post results: Posting team engagement scores can prod people to become more competitive, especially as a team.