As Chris and I have stated in recent blogs, getting employee engagement right is often not an easy task. It requires a multifaceted approach, but an employee engagement survey at the beginning of the programme can really highlight the path that you should take – providing an outline of engagement drivers for your organisation. The employee engagement survey is a great diagnostic tool to really check on the pulse of your organisation. Our view is that employee engagement is at the heart of any organisation, it is what drives successful companies forward, as corroborated by research time and time again. Just as any Doctor would conduct a health check on their patient before suggesting treatment, we would suggest that an employee engagement survey be conducted initially as it really can provide a current health check for any organisation. It is really important when setting out the foundation of any employee engagement programme that the whole organisation plays a part in the health check. Results should show not just the overall organisation status but also divisions and teams too as engagement levels and drivers can differ between teams and groups and therefore adjustments to programmes will need to be made to ensure that it will be effective and tailored to employee needs across the business.
There are many definitions and models for what employee engagement actually is. One simple overview of engagement is provided by Towers Watson, a leading global professional services company. They suggest that engagement encompasses three dimensions:
To what extent the workforce understand their roles and responsibilities
To what extent employees connect with the organisation; the passion they exhibit
How much discretional effort is invested by employees; going the extra mile
It is successful companies that really harness these three dimensions that top the employee engagement index. An employee engagement survey can help to highlight whether an organisation, or just parts of it (and importantly, which parts), needs to focus on the rational, emotional, motivational or on all three dimensions to boost engagement levels within their workforce. Taking the pulse of your organisation can be a really important first step to developing great employee engagement scores. It really does make sense to prevent rather than cure, so understanding the potential problems areas for engagement before they really become problems is not only cost effective but sensible leadership.