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  • Writer's picturePaul Tucker

Pitfalls of Employee Engagement Initiatives

Updated: Dec 19, 2018

Employee engagement is not something you should do because other companies are doing it, you should do it to understand your culture and how it impacts on your business. There are many options to consider when running an employee engagement including surveys, pulses, indices, scores and workshops.

However, it’s worthwhile trying to understand the reason why you should do it. So why do we do it?

The most common reason is to gauge the level of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) amongst employees, and reduce the risk of staff turnover. However, an employee initiative can also help you determine strengths and weaknesses of your company culture that ultimately impacts on revenue and customer satisfaction.

So you’ve run your annual or bi-annual employee engagement program, and you haven’t seen meaningful results. Let’s explore why.

1. They are not done for the right reason and they don’t effectively link to business problems.

More often than not, employee engagements are setup in a way to show the employees that the company cares about them, and that it’s willing to listen. As a result of this, they lose focus on what they’re trying to achieve for the company, and they don’t effectively measure retention, organisational changes, and business transformation.

2. Surveys are too lengthy and too complex

With the help of behavioural or organisational psychologists, we have put a great deal of effort in defining metrics to help us unravel human behaviour in terms of motivation, job dedication, morale, and many others. However, the sheer amount of answers required to understand them often seem repetitive to the end user and their willingness to stay truthful quickly drops.

3. There is no immediate feedback

Let’s think about the user experience behind various surveys, if a user has spent 30 minutes answering a large number of questions, their expectation is to see some form of progress or feedback from it. Without providing this feedback, the user is less likely to be motivated to do a survey next time, and the only reason they might do it again is because you’ve forced them.

4. You don’t get data you can action quickly

Traditionally, Employee Engagement surveys are done once a year. While there may be a benefit in tracking legacy scores and metrics over the years, it becomes impossible to understand how individual events impact on the perceived culture. During the period of a year, companies can undergo a number of transformative changes, some of which impact on culture more than others. Without a continuous engagement, it is not possible to track the impact of these smaller events.

5. Not modelled on modern organisational structures

A majority of companies no longer operate in through vertical hierarchies. Functional reporting is becoming far more important than direct reporting. Organisational structures are becoming flatter and more dynamic, so segmentation of questions by direct reporting lines is not reflective of the true nature of how your company operates.

6. Questions are not personalised

Usually, the same sets of questions are aimed at employees of particular departments or teams. However, every individual is different, they are concerned about specific issues, and motivated by particular drivers. Questions need to become more targeted and dynamic based on previous responses and scores

For more insights like these or to assess your path forward in employee engagement contact us

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