I’m excited to announce that we are publishing a new Bersin blueprint (collection of reports, tools, and case studies) focused on designing and implementing an employee engagement strategy. In doing the research, talking to practitioners, and creating these reports and tools, many important insights emerged. But one of the most essential points was the importance of sitting down and thinking hard about why an organization wants to measure employee engagement and what it intends to do with the information.
Designing a Strategy
When organizations decide to assess employee engagement, many start by simply searching for an engagement survey vendor. They quickly learn, however, that there are a plethora of choices, each with its own theories about and approaches to employee engagement. Further, unless an organization understands what it wants to measure—and why—surveying employees may cause more problems than it solves. Organizations should be prepared to take action on the feedback they gather in order to show employees that they have been heard and their voices count. Otherwise, surveying can actually decrease engagement, because employees may feel as if their time has been wasted and the company does not value their input.
A more effective approach is to start by identifying the organization’s most pressing employee challenges. Leaders can then decide which of those concerns they are willing and able to address. Keeping the focus aligned to the company’s business goals is also crucial. Targeting efforts in these ways will allow organizations to create a customized approach based on their most important engagement drivers. Only then can organizations prepare to actually measure employee engagement and take action based on the results.
Our new report, Designing an Employee Engagement Strategy, describes a three-stage employee engagement design process to assist organizations in creating and implementing their own engagement strategies. Because employees, their work, and an organizations priorities change over time, this is a dynamic process that should evolve with a company and its goals. Addressing these foundational issues will allow organizations to collect and track data that can provide insight into performance over time and inform adjustments that might be needed as existing challenges are addressed and new ones emerge.
Making Sense of the Options
As highlighted in our Evaluating Employee Engagement Measurement Options report, the three approaches to measuring engagement most commonly used by practitioners are surveys, interviews, and internal and external data analysis. Annual surveys are, by far, the most common approach to measuring employee engagement. However, rapidly evolving technology has created the ability to conduct shorter, more frequent pulse surveys. Interviews (e.g., stay interviews, exit interviews, focus groups) can be a more personal way to understand what keeps employees engaged. Finally, content analyzing internal and external data gathered through employee communication portals can prove useful to learning what is at the forefront of employees’ minds.
Navigating the Vendor Landscape
Focusing on the vendors that primarily operate in the employee survey space, our report, Navigating the Market for Measuring Employee Engagement, helps organizations to make sense of the complex and far-reaching engagement assessment arena.
In order to navigate this landscape, organizations should start by asking both “why” they are assessing engagement and “how” they intend to use the data once they have it. Many organizations conduct engagement surveys to either diagnose potential problems or to monitor what is going on (why). They often then use the data to either enable changes or enhance productivity (how).
Using why and how as the guidelines, we have identified nine archetypes of engagement assessment solution providers, based on the intended uses of engagement data, what they actually measure, and the related features and services they provide. We have mapped the vendors and archetypes to guide organizations’ vendor research and consideration. Download the Employee Engagement Vendor Market Navigator infographic here.
Showing Employees Their Voices Matter
Asking employees for their thoughts and opinions should be only one step in a much larger engagement strategy. Sharing the assessment results with employees and involving them in the action-planning process are also essential to demonstrating that an organization values its talent enough to both listen and make changes—thereby improving communication and the relationships between employees, their work, their managers, and the company. Our new Design a Strategy for Measuring Employee Engagement Blueprint helps organizations make the right choices every step of the way.
As always, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to add a comment below, connect with me on Twitter @RAEricksonPhD, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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