People Analytics Research Leader
Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Transparency and personalization have magnified the urgency for companies to act on employee engagement issues. The low percentage of engaged employees worldwide has remained static for years. Increasing engagement has proved difficult, and the onset of employee and stakeholder presence on social media has only amplified the need for companies to improve their engagement efforts. Organizations can no longer apply a one-size-fits-all mentality to shaping employee engagement.
To increase engagement, companies should embrace the following three behaviors that can empower leaders and teams with good and actionable survey results to make informed people- and business-related decisions.
1. Ask employees the right questions at the right time and face the results—good or bad.
Steering the conversation about employee engagement requires organizations to not just listen but to listen to the right things. For organizations, becoming better listeners means asking the right questions at the right time. Pulse surveys allow companies to reach out to employees as often as necessary. These quick, insightful, and topical surveys can connect each question to a measurable action.
Leaders and managers should not be afraid of receiving negative survey results. Bad news is better than no news—it allows managers to diagnose problems and implement improvement plans. Consistently positive results may indicate employees are playing it safe rather than aspiring toward breakthroughs.
Call to Action
- Listen to what your employees say and hone your skills by expanding listening channels beyond annual engagement surveys.
- Ask topical questions that are relevant to employees.
- Have honest conversations about both good and bad survey results.
2. Make employee engagement data easily accessible and actionable.
Engagement survey data can help shape an organization only if the data is easily accessible. Everyone in an organization needs data—perhaps not all the data, but certainly enough to feel ownership and accountability. Many organizations that listen well also share data transparently from top to bottom and cross-functionally— employees should not have to wait for leadership or managers to distribute information. Dashboards have become the medium of choice for sharing engagement results by enabling flexibility with how and to whom information is disseminated and have drastically reduced the layers between data and employees.
However, distributing data does not guarantee that leaders and managers will automatically know what to do with it. Employers should verify that their companies have a plan in place to act upon survey results so managers can effectively utilize the engagement data that comes their way.
Call to Action
- Share engagement data transparently from top to bottom and cross-functionally (within reasonable parameters).
- Develop dashboards (or another easily accessible and flexible tool) to share engagement data regularly throughout the organization.
- Map out a plan for your company that helps managers understand their teams’ results and enables them to take appropriate action.
3. Determine the engagement measures that matter to the business.
Tracking engagement against a variety of indices reveals the multiple ways in which engagement affects outcomes. Creating a complicated system is not necessary—employers should decide on the measures that matter most to their company and assess those measures’ impact.
Customer Net Promoter Score, financial results, and industry-specific measures all play a role in understanding how engagement correlates with success. By looking at this data over time, organizations can better predict which actions are necessary to prevent team burnout, increase loyalty, and drive business objectives.
Call to Action
- Keep engagement measurement simple.
- Determine which organizational and business outcomes are important to your company.
- Assess the impact of engagement on those selected organizational and business outcomes.
- Develop and implement necessary actions to improve engagement and drive business results.