8. February 2012 15:04
You may have read about a large scale study of employee engagement conducted by the Corporate Leadership Council back in 2004 http://bit.ly/wFU8LM
The project involved a survey using 47 questions that measured the strength of rational and emotional commitment to day-to-day work, direct manager, team, and organization, along with the level of discretionary effort and intent to stay.
More than 50,000 employees from 59 organizations, 30 countries, and 14 industries participated in the 2004 survey.
The data were strongly skewed in favour of the US, but that aside, the demographic profile of respondents was pretty wide.
The respondent population, it emerged, were distributed into three broad groups:
11% were 'True Believers' who show strong emotional and rational commitment to their work, team, manager and organisation
13% were 'Disaffected' and strongly uncommitted to work, managers, teams and the organisation
20% leant towards non-commitment
27% were stronlgly commtted to one focus - ie job, team, manager or organisation
The remaining 29% were truly ambivalent
So no real surprises there - these figures are pretty representative of the overall picture we tend to see in our own engagement surveys.
An analysis of different demographics (age, gender, grade, marital status etc) showed little variation among individual employees - which also fits with our data, except, perhaps, that we tend to find that more senior grades tend to manifest greater levels of engagement.
Of more interest, however, (though again, probably unsurprisingly) were the very wide differences between organisations. In the highest scoring companies, almost 24% of respondents were strongly engaged with work, team, manager and organisation, while in the lowest scoring businesses, fewer than 3% appeared to be fully engaged. In other words, in some businesses, eight times as many employees were strongly engaged as in others. Obviously, there were some simple and fairly obvious differences which heped to explain this variation - personality types, job differences for example - but the data suggested a very wide variety of factors affected engagement within and between these busineses.
Which made it difficult for the Report to make any general prescriptions.
So once again practitioners were advised that the best way to build and maintain engagement "... all depended" on the prevailing circumstances within the specific organisation. Not very helpful.
And that's often the situation today, when one looks for some kind of practical advice and support.
Add to this the radical conclusion of Schaufeli, Bakker et al (http://bit.ly/zlbHbR) that engagement levels are constantly changing, daily, even hourly, and the challenge remains more daunting than ever.
General prescriptions are of only general use to the manager, consultant or HR practitioner seeking a practical way to manage engagement in the real world of organisations today.
That's why we at Employee Feedback have taken a different approach: EngageMe is a completely new tool designed to provide down to earth assistance with the engagement of specific groups of employee within a given organsiation - in real time. http://bit.ly/wwZLHm.
Building on current research findings, EngageMe provides an immediate overview of what individuals and teams are feeling - and why. This information can be used by team leaders and managers - and employees themselves - to react and respond appropriately to what's going on in the business - NOW.
Successful strategies can be identified and learned from. Issues and problems affecting engagement can be spotted and dealt with quickly.
EngageMe isn't a panacea, or a replacement for the detailed overview that a 'traditional' engagement survey provides. But it is, we believe,the first practical tool that practitioners can use on a day to day basis to monitor and manage engagement. Which is what many of those who have long experience of employee surveys have been seeking for some time.
The product is currently being tested and we'll write again to describe the results in practice. We'll also publish regular updates on our website.
26. June 2011 22:52
This month’s Harvard Business Review has a really interesting article about using customers to motivate your workforce. If you are a regular of my blogs here, you will know I am a big fan of HBR and the latest edition, focused on innovation, is brilliant! In the article entitled ‘How customers can rally your troops’ by Andrew Grant, it suggests that by actually getting end users to talk to your employees will improve productivity. It does sound a bit too good to be true, but there is supporting evidence. For example, university fundraisers who met a student who had received a scholarship as a result of their efforts increased their productivity by 400% after the meeting! There are many other examples, one included how Facebook sets up meetings where engineers can meet site users who have reconnected with old friends and lost family members.The premise behind using end users is that when leaders are the only source of inspiring stories employees often question the genuineness of the message, whereas when they can physically see or interact with an end user the story becomes real. There is a huge amount of evidence to suggest that people don’t want to just be paid to do a job, but they want to be engaged, they want to do meaningful work. According to Grant, in surveys conducted in America over the last 30 years, the majority of respondents stated meaningful work as the key factor they looked for in a job. So, if we really want employees to go that extra mile, to pull out all of the stops, we need to show them what they are working for – the end user. Show them the stories that are out there, that what they do makes a difference. This could really impact motivation levels in an organisation and help to galvanise the workforce to work harder and better, all for the customers that they serve.Reference:Grant, A. How customers can rally your troops. Harvard Business Review, June 2011 pp.96-103
13. April 2010 12:30
It's not every HR Director who is willing to invite direct, personal, no-holds-barred feedback on the service they provide. But those who do, find the process and the results achieved, both valuable and worth repeating.
We've been working recently with the senior HR Team of a large organisation, a household name, which provides an advisory and support service to managers and employees working all over the Country. A year or so ago they completely overhauled the structure of the service, moving from a locally-based approach to an online and phone based service. The number of staff involved was reduced substantially.
They asked us to generate usable feedback from their customers, in the form of measures which could be used on an ongoing basis to improve the quality and effectiveness of the service provided by HR overall as well as the various specialist support teams dealing with a panoply of HR-related issues.
Over five thousand users of the service were invited to take part in the customer survey and, surprisingly perhaps, given the recency of all the changes, almost half responded. We collected very detailed feedback about many different aspects of the service provided, as well as overall measures of customer satisfaction. large number of respondents' comments which helped explain the findings.
The data we presented to the HR SMT proved to be even more valuable than had been expected. One of the main outcomes is to be the introduction of a customer satisfaction index. In future, customers are to be segmented into three, (i.e. senior, middle and front line employees) and a selection of items from the recent survey which are core to their satisfaction with HR will become the basis of the index. These questions will be circulated electronically) to customers twice a year and the responses will be tracked, highlighting changes and improvements.
Remedial action will be targeted precisely and changes made quickly and effectively.
Other of our clients - some in other functions like IT or Finance as well as HR - have carried out similar surveys annually for several years. The process has helped them to bring about big changes (by sharing the data internally their own staff can see for themselves where improvements are needed) and their customers have been able to enjoy higher levels of service quality year on year.
All these clients share a common set of values with all the people we work with on employee engagement and other surveys - a belief in the value of feedback. The organisation that actively seeks out feedback, and responds to it, will always be more successful than those that assume they know what their clients (or employees) feel about them. Humility will always triumph over arrogance.