Is your Employee Engagement Process like a Broken Pencil?

Employee Engagement can be like a Broken PencilIs your Employee Engagement Process like a Broken Pencil?Without timely, pertinent, and tangible action, your survey, open door 'ideology', suggestion box, feedback tool, or other (so-called) employee engagement undertaking is ...

... pointless.

In fact, you could very easily put forward the idea that asking employees to provide input without them seeing speedy and credible effort can actually be detrimental to the organization.

 "Do you trust me?"

There is no point just talking a good game if the workforce has come to expect that nothing ever comes of the process.

The employees will continue to roll their eyes and (at best) provide canned or less-thoughtful feedback when the time rolls around for another tedious survey.

They will murmur among themselves "why do we even bother with this?" and become further disengaged.

If challenged on it, some may even pluck up the courage to answer along the lines of "Don't ask for my input and then get mad or ignore it when I tell you the truth and you don't like it"

Thus, the circle of hostility and mistrust continues.

"Good things come to those who wait."......yeah, right!

A common symptom of big-data surveys is Analysis Paralysis.

When all the metrics and subjective feedback is handed over to (i.e. dumped on) a task force such as the already overworked HR department, there is naturally a lot of time and effort spent sifting through it in hopes of unearthing an optimal outcome.

It can frequently take months before the company is ready to issue their cringe-worthy 'You spoke we listened' announcement.

And when that message is delivered, many employees will be thinking "huh, our department didn't ask for that" or "I don't remember anything about that in the survey"

Most of us probably don't remember what we had for lunch just a few days ago, never mind a survey question from months ago. It is therefore key to begin addressing areas of concern or potential improvement as quickly as possible.

"When can you start?"

This is a typical question in many of life's circumstances; job interview, getting your car fixed, negotiating house improvements, your boss asking about your next project...and so on.

The same urgency needs to be an integral part of the Employee Engagement process.

The easiest way to accomplish timely improvements is by delegating to people who are ready and eager - i.e. those who have just taken the survey.

Today's employee is used to an agile and fast-moving attitude in and out of work.

  • At work, they can take on various job functions and be asked to change direction at any time as conditions dictate.
  • At home, we are all socially savvy to the point of expressing our opinions on any topic online or reacting to something at the 'ding' of a tweet, text, or email.

Just think of the massive boost to the overall Employee Experience when they find out they are trusted and empowered to be agents of change.

"An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory."

We are all acutely aware that you cannot think yourself faster, thinner, or more artistic. Endless reading about the latest advances in running shoe technology, what diets are currently trending, or what's a must-see at the art gallery will not accomplish your goals.

The culture, relationship, and morale-building process is the same.

Your Employee Engagement efforts must be Transformational rather than just Informational.

Wen Employees Sharpen the Pencil they can accomplish great thingsBy establishing a schedule of attainable goals and then working (individually and with your team) to accomplish these through activities, efforts, and good old-fashioned conviction, amazing things can happen.

The changes in workplace culture and engagement at the local level will be very visible and an integral part of holistic improvement throughout the organization.

When people see commitment at a higher level and are empowered to drive small, sustainable changes within their own domain, they become even more enthused to keep the momentum going.

Believe it or not, they will likely sharpen that pencil so they can take another survey, see where they have improved, and establish the next set of issues they are going to solve.