10 Ways to Better Analyze Employee Engagement Results

10 Ways to Better Analyze Employee Engagement Results
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Analyze Employee Engagement Results

Far too few organizations fully analyze employee engagement results to identify what matters most to attract, develop, engage, and retain their key talent.  They take a simple, bird’s eye view of their employee engagement survey results. They look at overall scores, weaknesses, and strengths, and then decide to work on a couple of weak areas.

This seems like a fine place to start, but if your approach is feeling stale and has not created the result that you were hoping for, it’s time to take on more advanced data analysis.

10 Ways to Better Analyze Employee Engagement Results
Based upon results from when we assess organizational culture, if you want to get the most from your engagement survey results, follow these ten tips to understand what it will take to improve employee advocacy, discretionary effort, and intent to stay.

    Engagement drivers are survey items that are actionable, as opposed to survey items which purely diagnose the level of engagement. All survey drivers impact engagement; however, some make a larger impact on engagement than others for your unique situation.

    Engagement drivers vary from organization to organization and from year to year, from department to department, and from person to person within an organization.

    A driver’s analysis identifies which survey items have the biggest impact on engagement in your organization right now.  A natural response to survey results is to look at your lowest performing items and work on improving them. But, what if your lowest performing items don’t show a comparatively high correlation with overall engagement?

    Undoubtedly, your organization is not exactly the same from location to location, department to department, or team to team. Different types of employees experience your workplace differently, due to a variety of factors, such as who their manager is, what kind of work they’re doing, and who they interact with. This is why it’s important to dig deeper than aggregate organizational survey results and segment your results based on demographics that make sense to your organization.

    By segmenting your engagement results, you might discover some that areas are more engaged than others. Use these differences to your advantage as you create your follow-up plan.  You can also apply the same drivers’ analysis to targeted demographics like department, location, age group, etc. You might discover that one department is more driven by recognition than another or that your younger employees are more driven by professional development opportunities.

    Use this insight to develop targeted individual development plans for improvement.

    Segmenting your results allows you to develop a tailored and more strategic engagement follow-up plan. Engagement isn’t one-size-fits-all. To really increase employee engagement, you need to understand your people, their workplace experiences, and what drives them to work for you.

    Who ever said your engagement survey should only be an engagement survey? Sometimes it makes sense to broaden your scope to tackle more survey topics at once or to include other topics you’d like to compare to engagement.  What other surveys does your organization conduct over the course of the year?

    If none, what other non-engagement topics (safety, strategy changes, org. changes, sales effectiveness, etc.) would you want to collect feedback on? You could combine these questions on one survey and leverage a savvy survey system with built-in demographics, so only the right people see the right survey items.

    One popular topic for our engagement surveys focuses on company and manager follow-up. Engagement surveys are only as good as the actions taken as a result of the feedback.

    Adding a couple questions about whether or not the employee’s boss followed up after the last survey can give you the ability to analyze employee engagement results among those whose managers followed up and those who didn’t.

    Who is responsible for employee engagement in your organization? Most will answer HR and leadership; some will also include managers. But one important group is rarely held accountable: employees.

    After you analyze employee engagement results, employees have to bring themselves to the table. They have to accept that there’s an unwritten agreement between them and the organization, and each entity has to deliver on its end of the deal. The employee has to choose to be engaged, and the organization has to foster the choice that the employee continues to make every day.

    Provide easy opportunities so that employees can actively participate by leading follow-up employee engagement focus groups, participating in focus groups, and serving on an engagement committee or task force.

    Managers play a critical role in engagement, both in impacting employees’ experience and understanding the unique challenges and opportunities of their teams. It is important to equip your managers with the time, resources, and tools they need to impact employee engagement.

    One way to segment, analyze, and act on results is to look at the results of individual departments or teams within departments. Presenting organization-wide results is important, but take the next step and empower managers to look at results within their teams. As part of this process, managers should address results with their individual teams and work with their employees to dig deeper and brainstorm ways to improve engagement on their team.

    Most often, managers will look to you for guidance on how to follow up with employees. Since there’s opportunity for managers to become defensive, you want to make sure they understand how to handle employee feedback appropriately and continue engagement conversations with their teams.

    A recent study showed that employees whose managers didn’t follow up showed a decrease in engagement by 6 points the following year.  Even if you effectively analyze employee engagement results, without follow-through, the work is wasted.

    If you’re taking employee engagement seriously as a core talent management strategy, your managers need to share in this skill and responsibility. One surefire way to gain their involvement is to hold managers accountable. Here are some ideas:

    Make employee engagement a key performance indicator for managers
    Some organizations use this as part of manager performance reviews and as a determinant of eligibility for raises or bonuses.

    Leverage a tool to monitor follow-up
    Some employee engagement reporting suites support manager follow-up and give you the ability to view how many managers have taken steps, such as reviewing results with their team and creating an action plan.

    Ask employees
    Some organizations make use of a quick one-question survey that asks employees whether or not their manager followed up. Based on feedback, leadership will then take action to see that non-acting managers follow up with their teams.

    Prove follow-up works
    Add a couple questions to your annual survey regarding whether or not managers followed up the previous year. Our research shows that employees whose managers don’t follow up become less engaged between survey administrations.

    So you’re involving managers in the action planning process. They have access to their reports and they’re meeting with their teams to share results and make plans. And now they’re ready to take action. But are they equipped to make improvements?

    Most managers have made their way to their position because they are experts in a specific skill set, not because they are experts at managing and engaging employees.  Take action planning a step further and provide managers with resources to support their next steps and analyze employee engagement results.

    Ideally, for each driver item on your survey (each item that a manager’s team might choose to work on), you should have related resources, such as articles, books, or videos that can provide managers the insight they need to move forward.

    You can’t expect your managers to improve things like recognition, trust, or goal alignment without help. Providing managers with resources on the areas they’re working on can help ensure they are successful in their efforts to improve their teams.

    How often is employee engagement part of your workplace’s conversation? When you make it a topic of ongoing discussion, employee engagement can become a sustainable, business-driving part of your culture. One way to do this is to incorporate it into your internal employee communications.  Here are some ideas:

    Team Success Story
    Write a success story about a specific team, department, or location. What are they doing to improve engagement?

    Survey Item Spotlight
    Provide detailed results on a specific survey item and include a related tip or best practice.

    Dear Leader
    Highlight an employee comment from your survey and let a leader write a response.

    Pulse Checks
    Publish a mini-poll to collect additional insight from employees.

    Engagement News
    Write a news-style article reporting what your engagement committee or leadership team is up to and what decisions and action have taken place.

    Tips for Employees
    Highlight tips for employees on how to discuss issues with their manager, build relationships with coworkers, etc.

    Stop thinking engagement is just a survey project. For organizations that want to make their workplace a “great place to work,” employee engagement is an ongoing strategic initiative.  A holistic approach to engagement involves Leadership, Managers, Employees, and HR consciously making it a priority and part of discussions all year round.

    A holistic employee engagement approach also leverages tools outside of the regular survey to help analyze employee engagement results such as:

    360-Turnover Analysis
    Understanding why employees leave can help you improve engagement, resulting in higher retention.

    Peer-to-Peer Recognition
    Feeling valued is a key driver of engagement. Give employees a platform where they can engage and recognize each other’s good work.

    Goal Tracking
    Leverage an online goal-tracking system to help with goal alignment across your organization.

    Need to work on manager effectiveness? A leadership-360 can provide leaders with more pointed feedback for improvement.

    Linkage Analysis
    Link engagement to other business outcomes, so your internal and external stakeholders can better understand why engagement is so important.

The Bottom Line
If you want to get the most from your engagement survey results, follow these ten tips to better analyze employee engagement results.  They will help you to identify what matters most to attract, develop, engage, and retain key talent by improving employee advocacy, discretionary effort, and intent to stay.  Then take action!

To lean more about improving employee engagement, download 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Engagement

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