Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Talking to Employees - A Radical Approach to the Employee Survey Process

I've just spent the last month or so running an employee survey.  Not every company is brave enough to run one.  At the same time, not every company is brave enough to process the results face-to-face either.

As I was crunching through the numbers; creating, formatting, cutting and pasting charts.  I stopped and took notice of the numbers.  It dawned on me that these average ratings were just numbers that were somehow disconnected from the open-ended responses that came after.

In fact, I found myself thinking that the numbers might actually be irrelevant beyond their most basic function of placing a hash-mark or a tag on the level of engagement or satisfaction so that we can measure change from year to year.  But the actual activities that will create change - won't come from the numbers; nor will they come from the reading and reviewing of the open ended responses.  The improvement will come from the leadership team's ability to share these results in a meaningful, non-threatening way with their employees and get their input and perspective on what needs to happen next -- in the form of a conversation and not a presentation of results.

The Gallup Organization has developed a Q12 survey that distills those critical attributes that measure employee engagement.  The closer your results mirror the 8 to 1 ratio of engaged employees in the Gallup results, the more profitable you will be.

But the numbers are really just the gateway toward the real goodies that lie within the conversations that you and your employees will have about the data itself and what it means in real life.

Don't let numbers and measurements substitute good judgement.  Share your goals and objectives with employees, talk to them about their ideas, measure engagement and listen to what they need to get more plugged in.  Then simply work together to put those items in place.

Engaged employees, create engaged and loyal customers.  This combination will yield profits for everyone.
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