Want Employee Engagement? Ask these 3 questions.

It is no secret that engaged employees deliver a better customer experience and have lower turnover. Yet, knowing this data and knowing how to improve employee engagement are two very different things. I recently had a senior leader tell me, “I know and believe the data on engagement’s link to outcomes. I just don’t know how to get us there.” This leader is not alone in his frustration. Many leaders have read the statistics proving the correlation between engagement and customer experience, but don’t know how to close existing gaps. 

Pro tip: An engagement survey will not improve engagement.  

I wish I had a dollar for every time a senior leader has boasted about conducting an engagement survey as evidence that they are working on engagement. The survey gives snapshot data on the current state; it does not fix problems. Leaders fix problem by creating action plans to address issues identified in the survey. 

Employee engagement requires active listening, keen observation and a commitment to action. 

Question #1: Are we using employee engagement survey data to launch a timely, targeted, and strategic action plan?

Are you using engagement survey data to launch a timely, targeted, and strategic action plan? If not, save your money, because measuring isn’t managing.  It’s like taking someone’s blood pressure every day and not taking action when the numbers are consistently within stroke range. 

The other common occurrence that erodes employee commitment is burying the findings because they don’t reflect well on leaders. 

Pro tip: Your employees already know. They are the ones who gave you the scores.

During countless focus groups over the years, employees have complained that, “I don’t know why I participate in these discussions. Nothing is ever done.” Or, “We have done so many surveys and discussions. Administration never shares the results.” 

Question #2: How will we share the results?

Before you conduct an engagement survey, ask yourself, “How will we share the results?” 

It takes humility and courage to look at lousy employee engagement survey results and own them. If you want to improve engagement, transparency is key. My advice is to frame the results like this: “You spoke, we listened, and here is what we plan to do…”  

Administration often delays this message until they have the perfect plan. Don’t. The initial sharing may be that you have formed a task force to address key issues. 

Question #3: How committed are we to making necessary changes as a result of data?

How committed are we to making necessary changes as a result of data?

I once heard a speaker tell his audience that his secret to success is this: “No action without data and no data without action.” In other words, he insisted on being a data-driven organization, but refused to collect data without commitment to act on what is learned. 

Employee engagement won’t happen because you conduct a survey. I will happen because you are committed to change, ready and willing to take action, and courageous enough to be transparent with your findings. 

Baird Group is healthcare’s culture catalyst. We’ll help you assess your culture and take meaningful, targeted action. Contact us at info@baird-group.com 

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