Dealing With Your Engagement Results by Mark Wager

Dealing With Your Engagement Results by Mark Wager

Dealing With Your Employee Engagement Results

By Mark Wager

So you've received your employee engagement results and they are not good, so what do you do next? This is a scenario facing Managers all across the world and as employee engagement surveys become more popular, the challenge of dealing with the results will grow. I regularly coach leaders and help them avoid the common mistakes that not only fail to improve employee engagement but actually make it worse.

It's all about your culture

The most common mistake that I have observed is when Managers receive the employee engagement data and approach it in the same way that they approach their data on sales or stock. They analyse the data line by line and then as a management team come up with a response to each individual negative result. You might be thinking that this is sensible and logical and wondering what is wrong with this approach but you need to think about the nature of the data that's in front of you. Sales and stock reports are factual reports based on actual transactions yet an employee engagement survey is completed by your workforce on their perception of how they are valued by the organisation. When you deal with perceptions you need to take a different approach than you do with facts. Don't think I'm diminishing the importance of employee surveys, in fact it's the opposite, your employee engagement survey is the most importance piece of information that will come across your desk as it is a reflection of the effectiveness of the culture that you have created within your organisation. If you put together an action plan without considering what aspects of your culture is creating this perception you could easily end up making things worse. A typical example is getting feedback that staff feel they are not being informed about what is going on and then putting together an action plan to have more meetings. If this works it's a stab in the dark. You need to look deeper than survey results and review the culture that the collective leadership the organisation is creating.

Leadership is all about perception and perception is reality.

Establish your leadership philosophy

To amend your culture you need to establish or in a lot of cases amend and re establish the leadership culture within the organisation. Your leadership culture is a description of both the verbal and often non verbal behaviours that will influence people to achieve the organisations objectives. My favourite leadership philosophy statement is from Red Bull Racing, the Formula one racing team who have won the constructors championship for the past four years. Their philosophy is "Be brave and do things differently." This simple statement sums up the identity of Red Bull Racing. It's an identity that it's workforce can connect with and relate to. Just imagine if your company was a person how would this person be described? Are they old or young, fun or dull, driven or laid back and then think how would your staff relate to this person.

Talk to your people

Don't go from survey results straight to the action plan without the important middle step of talking to your people. The survey has given you the areas of where to look and in order to determine what aspects of your culture are creating poor perceptions with your team. Talking to staff will give you the detail that you need. A tactic that has worked well for me is to introduce "skip meetings" these are regular meetings in which people meet with their manager's boss effectively skipping a level. I recommend that these are held on a monthly basis in the beginning and then move to bi-monthly and the meetings only need to be around 15 minutes. This regular line of communication not only improves engagement by providing staff with a sense of significance the "skip meeting" is also a good quality assurance tool for your leadership culture. It allows you to confirm if the culture you think is in existence or if in fact it is actually existing.

Focus on your people leaders

The most important factor in employee engagement is an employee's relationship with their manager. If the relationship is poor then there is little the organisation can do to retain the employee. Bad Managers will cost you more money in employee turnover and lost productivity than any other factor in your organisation. Turn your Managers into leaders. Nowadays people don't need or expect to be managed, they want to be led instead. Investing in developing the skills and knowledge required to create an environment of empowerment and innovation will be the best investment you can ever make.

When you receive your employee engagement results don't despair if they are bad because the genesis of every great success has it's origins in an initial failure. Change can only occur when the reality of the present is clearly defined and instead of bringing you down, you should be delighted that you have started defining the reality of your organisation. Today is the first step towards tomorrow's success.

Posted: Monday 22 September 2014


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