Engagement Surveys- A Means or an End?

The benefits of having an engaged workforce cannot be stated enough. However, the challenge for organisations is not merely retention of key talent within the organisation. It is in fact to understand the underlying aspirations, motivations, and desires of the employees. These factors more often than not become critical drivers for a highly engaged workforce. From an organisation your company measure and track the critical feed forward that benefits business, employee and bottom-line.

 

So, while organisations are relying on Surveys to measure engagement, are the surveys being used effectively or are they just left to be indicators?

 

Surveys are not merely a way to check the pulse of the organisation; they should be ideally be used as vehicles to improve the organisation perspective, employee engagement not only has the potential to significantly effect employee retention, productivity and loyalty; it is also a key link to customer satisfaction, company reputation and overall stakeholder value. Thus, in the process of establishing if the workforce is engaged or not, employee engagement surveys have become a norm for organisations whether big or small. Surveys can help culture, people practices and employee experiences which gradually translate into business success.

 

In a study conducted by Gallup "The worldwide employee engagement crisis" released in 2016, it has been observed that in spite of the importance given to employee engagement, the engagement scores have not changed or improved. "Though there have been some slight ebbs and flows, less than one-third of the surveyed employees have been engaged in their jobs and workplaces during these 15 years. According to Gallup Daily tracking, 32% of employees in the surveyed market are engaged - meaning they are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Worldwide, only 13% of employees working for an organisation are engaged."

 

"On one side, we have organisations that are using people analytics to analyse the survey results and thus create a robust plan around People processes. The benefit of this approach is visible when people start seeing efforts taken to discuss and plan actions around the survey results, thus leading to a positive shift in the participation percentage year on year. On the other hand, in the name of engagement surveys, organisations are running employee surveys that merely do the job of measurement of the satisfaction levels"

 

It was observed by Gallup in this study that organisation practices around using the Engagement survey data lay on 2 different ends of the spectrum. On one side, we have organisations that are using people analytics to analyse the survey results and thus create a robust plan around People processes. The benefit of this approach is visible when people start seeing efforts taken to discuss and plan actions around the survey results, thus leading to a positive shift in the participation percentage year on year. On the other hand, in the name of engagement surveys, organisations are running employee surveys that merely do the job of measurement of the satisfaction levels. Absence of a robust action plan, leads to failure in engaging workforce and achieving the purpose of the whole diagnostic exercise.

 

Even in the absence of Google approach to data, if organisations were to merely focus on the following, they would leverage the Engagement survey results far more effectively.

 

1. Set the objective of the survey clearly.  Leadership team ought to clearly spell out the Organisation and Leadership's objective from the survey. This will not only help align the leadership team's objective but also create an avenue towards getting Leadership involved in the whole exercise

 

2. Do not make Engagement surveys a standalone activity. It should have a detailed post survey data analysis and action plan

 

3. Create an engagement survey taskforce.  It is very essential to have employees be a part of the Employee Engagement taskforce. The taskforce brings an outside in approach which only the HR team may or may not bring in.

 

4. Results of the survey need to be analysed such that we are able to create correlation to the organisation metrics like productivity, cost and revenue. This will help set goals with respect to engagement levels that the organisation thrives for.

 

5. People Managers should be made accountable since the core of the employee experience relies around relationship between employees and their managers.  Recognition of People Managers is one way to encourage accountability. 

The need of the hour for organisations is to grab the opportunity of enhancing the employee engagement and I will sum it up to state that the Engagement Survey is a continuous 'Means' to:

 

- Enhance business growth 

 

- Make Business competitive

 

- Ensure stakeholders inclusion through purpose and culture dissemination

 

- Bring together Individual and Organisation's ambition

 

- Continue to develop a sustainable organisation

 

- Grow with the customer and carry all stakeholders along with a Unified purpose

 

- Finally believe in "People First"
 

Rajesh Padmanabhan is the Director and Group CHRO at the Welspun Group. He began his career with the ICICI Group and was Vice President-HR at ICICI Infotech. He has served in pivotal HR positions in Essel Propack, the Oberoi Group, Patni Computers, Capgemini and Vedanta Resources. Rajesh is a Post Graduate in HR as well as Finance from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies.

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