Staffing Management

Dear Workforce How Do We Compile and Interpret Engagement Surveys?

By Staff Report

Mar. 1, 2011

Dear Puzzled:

First, it’s important to define the concept of engagement. Leigh Branham, author of the book Re-Engage: How America’s Best Places to Work Inspire Extra Effort in Extraordinary Times, describes it as a strong “emotional and intellectual connection” that employees have with their job, organization or boss. Because of this relationship or connection, employees are more likely to put forth extra effort.

The engagement survey can help your company determine how committed employees are and how this commitment influences their work effort. One software firm I know of uses engagement items such as “being proud to work for the company, or motivated to go beyond what is expected,” to measure employees’ engagement. It found that highly engaged employees are 1.3 times more likely to be high performers than those with lower engagement—and five times less likely to leave the company voluntarily.

We suggest that the engagement survey should cover the following areas:

• Satisfaction with the job or organization.

• Commitment to the work, supervisor or organization.

• Willingness to encourage a friend to join the company and be an advocate of the firm.

A few sample statements in a survey might be the following: “I am satisfied with this company as a place to work or in my work unit, “You can feel the high energy and excitement” or “My manager inspires the best in people.” The resulting data enables managers and employees to identify any obstacles that might get in the way of satisfaction, or reveal things that are not working and require attention.

Experts suggest aiming for an employee participation rate of 75 percent during the first year of the survey. Once you compile the data, it is important to be deliberate in making judgments. This is one piece of information regarding the health of the organization. The senior management team or a project team should be assigned to oversee the effort and lead employee focus groups.

In our experience, focused work on areas of improvement can produce the desired behavior changes within six to nine months. However, don’t start the survey unless your organization is committed to acting on the data, and to maintaining open communication regarding change initiatives. It is a highly effective way to know how your employees view their work and company.

SOURCE: Sherry Benjamins, S. Benjamins & Co. Inc., Seal Beach, California

LEARN MORE: Please read why companies are again growing concerned about engagement.

Workforce Management Online, March 2011Register Now!

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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