Archives for posts with tag: employee surveys

I was chatting with an old colleague the other day, they being from the comms side of things, and we discussed, among other things, difficulties we had experienced getting organisations to put out employee surveys.
Actually doing employees surveys is now so par for the course I’m amazed when I come across organisations that are still afraid to ask, but it seems that sometimes leaders just don’t think it’s the right time. My chum and I went through a few of the excuses we had come up against over the years – there were a few, but here’s the top 5:

  • We know what they think anyway
  • Everyone is miserable so why bother asking
  • Money’s tight, this is a nice to have not a necessity
  • We’re going through too much change, so no point asking until things get settled
  • It’s just an excuse for people to have a whinge

Let’s have a look at these in detail, shall we?

“We know what they think anyway” Really? Really? Everyone in the whole organisation? Hmmm… Now, I always say that if a team leader is surprised by the survey results for their team, then they aren’t really leading that team, but that’s for another blog, another time.

But if you’re the CEO or other senior leader in any organisation of more than, say 50 or so people, then chances are you aren’t close enough to people to really know what they say. And, chances are, if you are, and you do go out and about, visiting the troops and ask people how things are, they might, when  put on the spot, tell you what they think you want to hear. An anonymous survey may give them chance to say what they really feel, which may be something different.

“Everyone is miserable so why bother asking” A classic “how do you know if you don’t ask”. I worked with an organisation who took this approach once, and I worked with a group of change champions across the business, speaking to them on a pretty regular basis on how things were; the picture was far more mixed than senior leaders thought. What came through, after a bit of digging, was that lots of people were very role engaged – they loved doing their job, got a lot of fulfilment from it, took meaning and satisfaction from doing their best and doing it well – and where they had the autonomy and authority to do those jobs, they were very happy. What they lacked, on the whole, was engagement with the organisation as a whole.

Even if you think you know that everyone is unhappy, and they are, it’s handy to have that in writing, with evidence, so that you can do something about it. After all, aa survey shouldn’t just tell you how people are feeling, it should give you some insight into why they are feeling that way. Again, we can discuss further in another blog.

“Money’s tight, this is a nice to have not a necessity” I know the recession is over and things are on the up – but I’m not sure that is really felt out there in the big wide world, you know? Anyway, money is tight, especially in the public sector, and likely to remain so, so this excuse will be in favour for a while to come. What I say is, can you afford not to? Disengaged employees are more likely to cost your organisation a lot more in absence, lack of productivity, poor quality work, mistakes etc than the cost of a basic survey – for some facts, check this. Bottom line for your bottom line: engagement = mo’ money.

“We’re going through too much change, so no point asking until things get settled”. Two things: (a) when aren’t you going through change and (b) that is exactly the time you need to know how people are thinking and feeling: the success (or failure) of the change depends on it, believe me. Again, another blog (in fact, I feel a series coming on…) for more, but if people aren’t engaged with the change, it’s unlikely to deliver the benefits you hope to get.

“It’s just an excuse for people to have a whinge” Guess what? They’re going to whinge anyway, probably at home, down the pub, at the water cooler, to their colleagues; why not give them a platform to do so, and then do something about it. That way, they might stop whinging.

I may revisit these excuses in more detail and real life examples in future blogs, but, in the mean time, have a think: are you putting off your staff survey? If so, why? If you have another excuse, let me know and I’ll explain why that’s a bad idea too…

I was mucking out the rabbit this morning (not a euphemism) and for some reason I thought of a session I once ran for a group of managers in the legal department of the organisation I was part of at the time.

I was feeding back my insight from their employee survey, in the hope of gaining their perspective and together agreeing a way forward to address the issues raised and improve engagement levels, making their department more effective in future. The usual. These four were great; highly experienced and intelligent and, because of their training as lawyers, I assume, generally adversarial. It was like playing four games of chess at once. While riding a unicycle.

With the support of the head of department and the local HR business partner I survived unscathed and we all went away wiser and better for the experience. I ran many such sessions for a wide variety of audiences over the years, and there was always a wide range of reactions from the various teams I spoke to. I thought I would use this blog to examine some of these reactions, to see if anyone found them familiar and had any thoughts on how to deal with the various reactions.

Before going in, I think it is important that anyone going into part of an organisation with any insight or communication is responsible for that information and how it lands. There is a great cop-out to this, called “assuming positive intent”, which is a rule applied to the receiver of the information which basically means “if this upsets you, it’s your own fault, not mine”. In this, as with a great many other things, I find myself more on the side of Leonidas, King of Sparta, in 300 when he gets a message from King Xerxes via a messenger. The news is not good, and it doesn’t end well for the messenger. Clearly Leonidas should have assumed positive intent and the whole nasty business could have been avoided.

Anyway, as in Sparta, when I go into a room and tell a leadership team what it’s like to work there, you can be damn sure I take full responsibility not only for that information, but for how it lands.

First up, there is the blank looks and complete acceptance. The information is taken at face value and accepted fully and without question, as though I were some guru or sage, whose words are gospel. Now this is an issue, because wise, sagacious even, I may well be, but I have only a limited amount of knowledge, based on my exploration of data. I will have done some homework too, usually a chat with the local HR people prior to the session, but I cannot know all the operational and strategic issues at play in every part of the business at the time of the survey. For the department to move forward requires genuine insight, and this can only come from analysis of the data combined with the local context; any recommended actions based on data alone are unlikely to succeed, despite the warm glow you get from speaking to a group of people who nod heartily after every sentence and agree with all you say as though you have some preternatural ability.

My approach in such cases is to drop the data as soon as I see that things are being taken too easily, without questions and fire out a few myself. “What were the big issues at the time…” “one of the comments mentions such and such, can you explain what that was all about?”, that kind of thing. If you have any tips, let me know.

The other end of the spectrum is outright hostility: this is my department, these are my people, you know nothing about them, you can add nothing. Again the data goes into the back pocket and it’s into a coaching conversation to get underneath the behaviours; have they got something to hide? Are they worried what I will think of them as leaders? The trick is not to challenge back but engage in a dialogue; my favourite answer in one such sessions was “I would be a better leader if I had better people” – I invited the leader who said that to have a think about it and what he, as a leader, could do about this, which made for a somewhat better conversation.

Hostility usually comes from fear, in my experience, and so it’s about the conversation, openness and reigning back on any inclination you may have to be a smart arse. Just me? OK then.

My personal favourites in terms of reaction is the one I eventually got with the lawyers – challenging but in a positive and engaged manner. It started feeling adversarial, but I realised they were challenging not the data but the validity of the process; this is where having a good knowledge of that process and its validity comes in handy; and also having a lot of confidence that the data is valid. Fail to prepare, and all that; homework is vital as is really good process and project management prior to the survey.

Once I gave the reassurance they needed, backed up my models with the right level of academic rigour, the dialogue about the data took place and genuine insight was achieved, actions put in place and engagement levels improved.

Other reactions fell at various stages along the spectrum from complete acceptance to complete hostility, and all improved over time as I got to know the audiences and the likely reactions and prepared myself better.

So, if you are preparing something of this ilk, have a think. How is this news likely to go down? Will people challenge you, or the process, or the data from which you drew your insight? Can you be completely confident in the validity of everything you intend to say, and do you have all the sources and background likely to be needed to meet any such challenges? After all, you don’t want to end up being kicked into a well by a bad-tempered monarch.

I have been racking (wracking? No, it is racking) my brains about how to shoehorn today’s reasonably welcome announcement about the improvement of cycling facilities in many cities across the UK into this blog which is, essentially, about employee engagement and organisational culture.

This got me thinking, and, as often happens when I get thinking, I wandered off on a neurological tangent, and ended up at a place where I was in a cycle shop and there, in front of me in the queue, is a trainee accountant clutching a cycle to work scheme voucher in one hand, and a full-suspension mountain bike in the other, all ready to start his daily commute.

This is not the forum to explain why Henry, our trainee accountant friend, should get a road or hybrid bike for commuting (unless he’s commuting to the upper slopes of Snowdonia), but it is just the place to have a think about cycle to work schemes. In my last blog I talked about flexibility when it came to reward and employment packages and how to communicate them. This time I wanted to ruminate on why you would encourage people to cycle to work and other methods of driving engagement through reward and recognition.

First let us go back in time, back to the middle of the last decade, when businesses were beginning to look seriously at this whole employee engagement thing. I was an engagement manager in a big company, and having a conversation with the head of the reward team, who sat in the next bank of desks. A fine bunch of people, they were the only team in the whole company who scored 100% favourably for the question “I believe I am fairly rewarded for the work that I do” in the annual survey. Fact.

Anyway, Head of Reward chap said to me “The best way to engage someone is to pay them more”. He was big believer in this, and had research to back it up. Made sense, certainly, people come to work to make a living, so the better the living they can make the, well, the better. Or so I thought until I got hold of some research of my own.

First up I looked at the rest of the organisation to see if they felt they were fairly paid. Very few thought they were, but this had absolutely no link whatsoever with their levels of engagement. Then I looked at the actual pay – generally the higher up the organisation you went, the higher the engagement score was. Except there was a dip, just before the top, where some pretty well-paid people were less engaged than people paid less than them.

And I looked at other research that real academic researchers had done, and it told me that it was far more complex than my chum the reward bod thought; reward plays some part in engaging employees, but then so did recognition and non-financial stuff. I went back to my data and  looked at recognition schemes across the business – and found some pretty firm linkages between engagement levels and how well embedded and managed recognition schemes were in various bits of the organisation. These ranged from a formal recording of a job well done in an email to awards nights with posh frocks and tuxedos, but they were all about making people feel good about the job they had done. Among the most effective were in the customer-facing areas where they were explicitly linked to customer service and feedback.

Cycle to work schemes are slightly different – everyone gets to take advantage of these, should they wish to do so – but they are all part of offering a more rounded and flexible reward to your people. They also help reduce carbon emissions, improve the health of your workforce and send a very strong message about how socially responsible your organisation is.

The point I am trying to get to is to have a think about ways you can improve your organisation through having a rounded and flexible reward system run alongside effective recognition processes. In my experience, you need a few things to make such schemes really work, so here are some top tips:

  • Make sure they are inclusive, clear and fair – no room for favouritism or even the appearance of favouritism
  • Link them explicitly to your organisational purpose, values, strategy and brand
  • Combine formal, structured recognition with lots of informal, in the moment recognition
  • Make recognition down-up and side to side,  not just top-down
  • Make a big fuss about them – publicise it when people are recognised, create role models
  • Make sure people are clear why they have been recognised
  • Recognise behaviours, rather than targets met or tasks achieved

Have a think – how do you recognise the behaviours you know will make your organisation more effective? I you don’t know, it may be worth having a scan through some older blogs to check out what I mean by this, and then have another think, and get something in place. Oh, and why not try cycling to work too? Don’t wait for those new cycle lanes, be that change now!

In Cormac McCarthy’s brilliant dystopian novel The Road, a man and a boy wander through a post-apocalyptic world, alone, desperate, without any notion of their destination and best on all sides with danger.
Now I can’t imagine for one second that this is any fun at all, and yet thousands, probably millions of people across the UK and wider world do something akin to this every day when they go to work.
Their day is pointless, without purpose, and they are beset by distractions and, although very few are shot at with bows and arrows, they probably find it annoying, unnerving, and downright disengaging.
What they lack is an idea of what they are doing and why they are doing it – they want a purpose, a reason for being at work and completing the tasks they have been allotted. They need, in short, a strategic narrative.
Every business should have a strategy – a reason to exist. At its most basic, that reason will be “sell stuff to people”; however, they also have to identify the stuff they sell, and the people who will buy it. So you have to go a bit deeper, and define yourself a bit more clearly, say: “we will make grommets for 5p and sell them to people requiring grommets for 10p”.
That gives you a clearer sense of purpose, but that’s more of a business plan, really.
What you need is something a bit catchier. “We will be the first choice of grommet suppliers to the chandler and ironmongers of North West England”.
That’s more like it – there’s a bit of ambition in there, a sense of a journey, and giving clarity about what they want to be.
Now, when the dignitary visits Grommetco and sees a chap wielding a broom with a sense of purpose and engagement, and said dignitary asks the broom-wielder “what, my fine chap, are you doing here today?” the broom-wielding one will reply, in a trice, “why, sir or madam, I am helping Grommetco become the first choice of grommet suppliers to the chandlers and ironmongers of North West England.”
Because our broom-wielding hero has had the strategic vision explained to them in a meaningful and inspiring way, and therefore understands how his broom-wielding activities fit into that compelling strategic narrative.
This example, of course, is based on President Kennedy’s visit to Nasa, where the late President confronted just such a chap, happily brushing a corridor or somesuch and asked him what he was doing.
“Helping put a man on the moon, Mr President,” came the answer. There was an organisation with a clear strategic narrative, set, of course, by President Kennnedy himself when he committed to out a man on the moon by the end of the decade. And they made it.
What the strategic narrative gave our broom-wielding fellows was a sense of purpose beyond where the dust needs to go, or where he left the keys to the broom cupboard. With the best will in the world, sweeping up is going to have limited job satisfaction even for the most autotelic personality. Look it up, I’m not going to give you everything on a plate.
However, putting a man on the moon, or even becoming the number one grommet supplier to various merchants across the North West of England gives a deeper, more profound sense of purpose to the most menial of tasks.
I was working with a client recently where there was a disconnect between the day job and the big picture. Most people really enjoyed their jobs, which were largely technical and what you would call vocational – they had studied long and hard at university to qualify themselves to do this job, and were very proud to do it. They enjoyed their work and were highly engaged with it – they had role engagement, as we engagement gurus have it.
What was missing, however, was a mental link to the wider purpose of the organisation. This had been made clear, it was summarised in four points. As mission statements go, it was a pretty good one. Clear, concise, unambiguous.
But people couldn’t make the link between what they did, and those four points. OK, they would say. I’m doing this immensely clever and technical job to the best of my considerable ability, but I cannot see how this delivers A, B C or D.
Leaders had not done the narrative bit, you see. They had not told the story of how roles deliver the purpose.
In an ideal world, and in successful organisations that do this well, senior leaders set the general direction, they give the purpose and vision. They tell a story about why the organisation is there, what it does, how it does it. Around this are the values they want to promote in the organisation, the non-negotiable core emotional commitments to how things are done there.
Throughout the organisation divisions, departments, teams and ultimately individuals translate this strategic narrative into their own language, replicating that sense of purpose, that reason for being in a way that is meaningful at each iteration, yet stays true to the original vision.
It’s not easy. But it is possible. I’ve seen it done, well, and to so well. One things that can help is an overall image or metaphor, such as climbing a mountain, building a village, a long car journey or even planting a forest. For me, the mountain is the least successful, by the way; it tends to put off those who question the sanity of climbers, and begs the question “what do we do when we reach the top?”
But here are some simple guidelines, which may help

  • Keep it simple. A single strapline, with a few key sentences of explanation
  • Keep it clear and unambiguous. Do not give wiggle room, or space for too much interpretation
  • Use an image – preferably one that can be easily adapted 
  • Use stories, have a narrative, people relate to stories
  • Link your purpose to your brand
  • Have very clear organisational values in place, and stay true to them

This last point brings us to another enabler of engagement, organisational integrity, more of which in a future blog.
Any road up, do this, and people will use the narrative to link their day job to the purpose of the organisation, and they will engage with the organisation, as well as their role. Simples.

So you’ve done the survey, you’ve got the insight, done the action plans. Now you need to know if it’s working. You need to measure.
As explained in my last blog, the first instinct may be to re-survey. Or ask the engagement questions again (after all, the point is to improve engagement, isn’t it?)
The thing is, engagement is an outcome of the stuff you do, and make take a bit of time to shift in the right direction. I have known leaders get a but disheartened when they re-run engagement questions after three months and there’s no real movement. But they needn’t be, they should have a look at their progress.
But how?
Fair point. There is a maxim in business that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. This is not the time to debate that, and believe me I have debated that quite a few times. Let’s agree with it for the purposes of this blog, however, and say what can we measure.
Engagement? Well not yet, probably not until you do the engagement survey again. Instead have a look at what you said you would do, and see if you’ve done it.
For example, say that your survey uncovered the fact that team members weren’t happy with their one to ones. They didn’t happen, or, if they did, they were too focused on targets and performance, and not enough on development.
So in your action plan there was an action – all team members to have a monthly one to one with the team manager, and that one to one will be focused on development and progress towards objectives.
So, do you measure engagement to see if it’s working three months in? Given how long it takes to share the results, get insight and set actions, you’d be lucky if people had experienced more than a couple of one to ones at this stage. What possible impact could that have had? Unless the one to ones were truly spectacular.
Instead, ask people “have you had a one to one every month”. That gives you quantitative data. Then ask “how effective was it at shaping your development and meeting your objectives?” That will give you qualitative data.
Quant and qual, and directly aligned to your action plan. What more could, you ask for?
Now you could ask these questions in a survey, but, as discussed previously, that might not be the best way. Instead, try a focus group. Or in a one to one. Or at a team meeting. Get the data, and have a conversation about it, because that will give you insight and help you improve things as you g along.
To sum up: measure, but be careful what you measure, and how you measure it. Set yourself up for success, not disheartening lack of progress.
Because by having the conversation and reacting to people’s feedback you are giving them a voice, and demonstrating that you are listening to that voice. And that, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is how you get engagement.
Well, one of the ways. In the next few blogs I’ll take a look at drivers of engagement, what you need to do to engage your people. And guess what? It’s easier, and much, much harder than you think.

The past few blogs have looked at how to get insight from employee surveys, and how to use that insight to drive meaningful action. This blog will explain why you shouldn’t have bothered in the first place.
This may sound strange; after all, I make my living from employee surveys, and I think they are valuable and have their place.
However, sometimes surveys are sometimes the wrong thing to do, and are in fact a way of avoiding doing something, rather than providing insight on what to do.
I’m sure that if you work in an organisation on surveys, you will have had a conversation or two, often with a leader, about how they can do their own survey. A pulse check, to see how things are going, or to uncover some particular issue in their area.
In my experience this happened most in IT or Finance functions, but that may just be me.
Wherever it was, the conversations would go in a fairly similar way. Remember when reading this that will already have had some high quality insight from the survey.
Me: “How can I help?” (well, I am a consultant)
Leader: “We’ve had a look at the survey results and we need to do another survey to really get underneath our issues.”
Me: “Your issues?”
Leader: “Yes, we think we have some specific issues that affect just our part of the organisation, because of some local things. We need to really get into them and find out what they are.”
Me: “Why don’t you just ask people?”
Leader: “Well that’s why we need a survey, to ask people.”
Me: “Why do you need a survey? Your people are right there, just go and ask them.”
Leader: “But we want a survey.”
There is the pulse check variation, as well.
Me: “How can I help?”
Leader: “We need a survey to see how well the action plans are working.”
Me: “You had a survey three months ago. Everyone did.”
Leader: “Yes, and we put action plans in place. We need to measure how well they are going.”
Me: “But it’s only been three months. I doubt there had been much meaningful change yet, don’t you think people might get a bit annoyed at having to fill in another survey?”
Leader: “But how will we know if its working if we can’t measure it?”
Me: “Why don’t you just ask people…” etc, etc.
At this point, being an evil genius, I will have reached into my special consultant’s big back pocket where I carry my evidence for when I need to challenge something. (That’s my tip for today, by the way, if you want to challenge somebody, especially somebody senior, make damn sure you can back it up with evidence. You’re welcome.)
In there, I will have data on the behavioural norms of that bit of the organisation, and I will see that there is lots of avoidance going on. Responsibilities are pushed upstairs. Mistakes are buried. No-one takes responsibility, and blame is shoved elsewhere. People seem to get on, and conversations are polite and pleasant, no matter what has gone on. An erstwhile colleague of mine summed it up rather elegantly in the phrase “never be discovered in the same room as a decision”.
Because the leader knows they just need to talk to people but they have an overriding need to avoid doing that. Because they might have to have a difficult conversation. They might need someone to be honest about failure or mistakes. Even worse, the leader in question may have made those mistakes, or overseen that failure. They may need to take responsibility, and that is something that just can’t happen in a culture of avoidance.
Rather than speak to people, they give the illusion of giving them a voice by doing a survey, and then the most challenging thing they have to face is some tricky conditional formatting on a spreadsheet.
It’s the antithesis of engagement, dressed up to look like it.
Thus armed with my cultural diagnostic, I then challenge said leader. “Your desire to do more surveys is but another example of your behavioural norm of avoidance,” I say. “You need to speak to people, face to face, openly and in a way that they can feed back honestly and in a safe way.”
What happens next varies; in the best case scenario they listen, and I sit down with them and help them work out a programme of focus groups and town hall meetings where people can have their say and add further insight and depth to the leader’s understanding. They do this, and things generally change for the better.
Or they go over my head and get their director to ask the HRD to let them do a survey. (Hopefully the HRD says no, you need to speak to your people, because they understand how things should work).
Or they just go ahead and do a survey anyway, then get bogged down in analysis paralysis because hey, it’s important, we need to get this right, you know?
Sometimes they even come back and ask for help with the results. And I tell them to talk to people.
The vast majority of conversations I have which start with “we need to do a survey” go along these kind of lines; if you have a survey, done across the organisation on an annual basis, then there is very little that will convince me that you need any more.
Survey fatigue is when you ask people over and over again what they think of working here without doing anything about it. At some point people are going to say “why bother?”, and stop bothering.
So next time you want to know how people are feeling in your bit of the organisation, ask yourself: what’s the best way to do this? How will I find out how things are going? If I want a survey is it because I want to know what is happening, or actually avoid knowing?
Or, if you are the survey person ask yourself is a survey the best way? And do I have the evidence in my big back pocket to prove that it isn’t?

Over the past couple of blogs I’ve discussed what happens after your survey, moving from having a whole bunch of data through a process to get you some insight. Which is fantastic, but also completely pointless unless you take the next step. And that next step is to act.
This begs a couple of questions, though. Who and what – who acts, and what do they do?
The answer, as ever, is (all together now) “it depends”. It depends on what your insight tells you. But I think there are some general rules, some high level guidance to answer those questions, and these would be:
Who? Whoever you can get to do something.
What? Whatever they can do that will move you forward.
To explain a bit more: who should be whoever it needs to be to make the change. If the key insight is that leadership is out of touch with the grass roots then you need two groups to act: leaders, and grass roots. Oh, and probably some others to help out, maybe your exec coaching team, or the comms team can support activity.
What you don’t want, however, is just leaders acting. There has to be give and take, quid pro quo. Get leaders out there, in a vacuum, without engaging people on the ground to interact with them, and I’m not sure you’re going to get much of a bang for what could be an expensive buck.
Rather you get the situation which makes the Queen think every building in the country smells the same: of fresh paint. Get leaders, especially senior leaders, dropping in on the front line staff can be great, but you need those visits not to be a royal progress, with half-hearted handshakes with nervous branch colleagues making weak jokes about the tea from the machine.
What you need is for the people on the ground to be empowered, willing and able to tell it how it is. Not whine and complain, but have an actual dialogue. Help the people on the ground help the leaders really understand what life is like at the sharp end, so they can in turn hone and develop the organisational strategy based on the reality of life, rather than a filtered version that they may otherwise get.
Ideally, get as many people involved as you can. Now I know times are hard, staffing levels will not be what they were, unless you are in a very fortunate place, and people are busy. But you’ve been to the trouble and no little expense of doing a survey, asking people what they think and feel, then it’s time and money well spent to follow that up with action.
What depends on what people can do. What is the capability of the organisation? This is important. It’s all well and good deciding you need a new reward policy with more bunce for everyone, but what if the money isn’t there? Or having all your leaders going through an in-depth leadership development experience in a yurt in Snowdonia if no-one is going to be left to run the business and make the decisions that need to be made.
So do something, but make it something you can do. Most of you will have come across C-smart, as used in agreeing personal objectives (and yes, that’s agreeing objectives, not setting them, but that’s for another blog, another time). I find it can be really useful to make your survey action plans c-smart too, so they are:
Challenging – do they really move things beyond the status quo?
Specific – do they address the issues that have been raised in a meaningful and clear way
Measurable – are you clear on what success looks like? – Think in terms of outcomes for your people rather than scores for specific questions
Agreed – is there consensus within your team that this is the right thing to do? Buy-in will help ensure your action is successful
Realistic – can you actually do this? Is it in your capability and sphere of influence?
Time-bound – you need to be clear on when actions need to be complete and the outcomes achieved
One thing that really brasses people off if they have taken the trouble to fill in a survey is that nothing happens. Or at least nothing seems to happen. Which brings me to the last bit.
Whatever you do, tell people you are going to do it. And tell them why.
“You remember what you said in the survey? Well, we’re doing this about it.”
Then, when you’re doing it, tell them again. And tell them why again.
Then, when you’ve done it, tell them what you did. And why you did it.
And then think how much more powerful this will be if the people you are telling are also the people that are doing.
“You remember what we said in the survey? Well, this is what we’re doing about it.”
Doesn’t that sound better? And believe me, it will help engage people.
I worked with a business who did this really well. They had a call centre which specialised in helping people who were victims of fraud. The people on the phones were called customer advisers, the same as all the other call centres in the business, who actually advised customers.
The people weren’t happy about this. They wanted a job title which reflected their specialised and difficult work. And they used the colleague survey to let the managers know about it.
The powers that be agreed. The changes were put in place.
Now, it would have been easy for the big boss to go along, make a grand announcement, and then wander back off to head office with a nice warm glow.
But not this lot. No, they really got engagement. They went another route. At the start of the shift, a member of each team (not the manager, necessarily) stood up and shared the news with their colleagues. “Remember what we said? This is what we did.”
Boom! That’s engagement.