Hickock Boardman Benefits

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Employee Engagement Surveys - For Whom are They Intended?

In our employment settings, we hear an awful lot about the current use of engagement type surveys and their intended use to improve workplace culture as well as the bottom line. I’m sure you’ve already participated in completing one of them for your employer somewhere along the line. One of the most widely used types of engagement surveys is the Great Places to Work ® survey. This well-known assessment is administered internationally and built on more than 25 years of data and research. It is taken over by 10 million people worldwide annually working in large, medium, and small organizations, and across all industry sectors. Nevertheless, I’ve sensed some differing views as I speak to organizations about employee engagement assessments in the workplace. 

I began to ask myself, what are the motives of an organization to want to be listed on such rosters as a Great Place to Work ? Who's it ultimately for?  Is it for the company ownership? Is it for the leadership? Or is it for current and future marketing and recruitment endeavors? Answering yes to all these questions is completely fine and I agree those are hugely beneficial reasons. However, do employees feel it's designed to help them personally and professionally? Could disgruntled and dissatisfied employees knowingly input low responses to taint the results of the assessment in order to keep the company from receiving the notoriety of a “Gold Standard” roster?  I guess that could be debated… 

However, no matter the result, be it positive or negative, the real work begins by facing the truth and then getting to work to improve and sustain it. As Jim Collins stated in his landmark book, Good to Great ,  “you must face the brutal facts”. I believe there has to be communication in which employees have clear pathways to reach those measured high scores in the future. These improvements must be for both the organization as a whole and for the individual employees. It seems to me a little defeatist to take the improvement responsibility away from employees and place it solely on the "leadership". There must be ownership from ALL members of an organization to “face the facts” and develop a clear and agreeable strategy for betterment.  “Buy-in” comes from all levels. This process generates trust and is essential when making future workplace transformational changes. If work environments lack holistic and authentic trust, there’ll be no logical way to improve deep and sustainable employee engagement. I view this sustainable high-level workplace engagement as the consummate “employee experience”.

Three years ago, I developed an employee engagement and experience measurement tool called the Access 33 Assessment Tool ®. This tool measures individual and collective employee Passion/Purpose, Performance, and multidimensional Profits of an organization -- the 3P Model ®. While developing this assessment, I thought to myself, “what particular questions would I want my manager and leadership to ask me?” What questions about my workplace would I be excited to answer?” And, “how would I want to be personally involved by applying my strengths to make this a better place