How to Create an Employee Engagement Strategy

Improving employee engagement may be one of your goals this year. Where do you start? Read on to find out what’s involved and learn how you can take the first steps to achieve this goal.

Be clear on why you want to improve employee engagement

Most engagement efforts begin with an employee survey. Before you begin be sure you know which particular organizational challenges you want to address.

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“Please rate me a 10 or I’ll get into trouble.” Sound familiar?

Computer Screen, concept of online survey

I just moved. As in any move, I had to set up my Internet, utilities, and buy a few appliances. If you’ve bought anything recently, either online or in-person, you’re likely to be asked to complete a short customer survey.

I have no problem completing customer surveys. In fact, I always complete customer surveys because I’m in the survey business. I know how difficult it is to get enough people to participate in a study. So I happily oblige.

However, how valid are the survey results? Here are my experiences.

All three of the service delivery persons told me that I’d receive an online survey about their services. They asked me to rate them a “10” on the survey.

“Please, you need to give me a 10. Anything less than 10 I’ll get into trouble.” A delivery person said.

Thankfully, all three of the service delivery persons were indeed great. They were courteous, on time, and properly installed the services I ordered. I happily gave them a “10” rating.

What if their services were less than optimal? I probably would not have rated them “10.” But would I feel slightly guilty because they’ve asked me to rate them 10 or else they’d get into trouble? Maybe.

How reliable are the survey results if the person being evaluated prompts the respondents to rate them all “10” instead of being neutral? How could these inflated ratings help company leaders take action to address any issues they may have?

In one case, I was truly surprised by how a net promoter score question is asked at the end of the survey. Again, the survey asked me a few questions about the service delivery. They were all fine questions and I rated them favorably. Next came the net promoter score question:

“Based on your experience with our service delivery, how likely are you to recommend our service to your friends and family? Please rate from 0 to 10, where 0 is not at all likely and 10 is absolutely likely.”

Here’s the story. I would have rate them a 4 if they were to ask me, based on my overall experience, how likely I were to recommend their services. Although their product quality is good, their customer service is not. Their website navigation was confusing. I was caught in an infinite loop just trying to get to a page where I could order my service online. I had to call them to confirm my order, only to find out that my selected date of delivery was no longer available although it was available when I ordered my service online. Yes, the service delivery person deserves a 10, the overall experience of my interaction with the service provider does not.

I sure hope that they do not extrapolate the NPS score for the service delivery person to the entire service experience. The false sense of excellence may just prevent this company from doing what is really needed—improve the overall customer service experience.

What questions are you asking in your customer surveys or employee surveys? Are they valid? Are you asking unbiased questions that enable you to take action?

What is the right employee survey for your workplace? The long, short, and supershort of it.

Very short pulse surveys are gaining popularity, according to a recent WSJ article. These are one- or two-question surveys that employees receive daily, weekly or monthly. Should you replace your annual employee survey with very short pulse surveys?

Comprehensive Employee Survey vs. Very Short Pulse Survey

Unlike annual employee surveys that include established categories—work environment, leadership, learning and development, employee recognition, communication, compensation and benefits; questions on very short pulse surveys tend to be more fluid and episodic in nature. These questions can range from “What are you proud of accomplishing last week?” “What are the challenges you are facing?” “Who has demonstrated great leadership this week?” to asking employees to select if they like “Prince or Michael Jackson” and share holiday planning ideas. Read more…

Employee Survey in a Time Warp? Four Talent Management Trends for 2014

Time WarpJanuary has arrived. As we start the new year, it’s essential to review your employee survey questions and see if they provide the insights you need as the talent management landscape changes.

These emerging trends in talent management have an impact on your employee survey design. As my favorite interior designer, Candice Olson, said after she updated a den that was trapped in the 80s to a more contemporary design: “All of us need some updating sometimes”.
Read more…

Six Tips for Conducting a Successful Employee Survey

success by Altaher Altabet FlickrClients often ask me what they can do to make their employee survey a success. Over the years, I’ve consulted with big organizations as well as smaller ones. Clients who are successful at their employee surveys share some commonatities in how they approach their project and how they keep the momentum going throughout the process.

Here is what I found:

1. Get senior management buy-in. This may sound like a no-brainer. But if you don’t do a good job getting senior management buy-in, your effort will fall flat. Read more…

Turning Insight Into Action

Online survey
I presented at CalCPA recently about how to design clear and relevant employee survey questions, draw insights from survey results, and turn insight into follow-up action.

I began by going around the room and asking participants what they wanted to take away from my session and what challenges they faced when conducting employee surveys. Here’s what they told me:

  • How many survey results do we share with our employees?
  • How do we decide what follow up actions to take?
  • How do we increase survey response rate?
  • How do we make sure that we are measuring what we intend to measure?

These are the same challenges that I’ve heard from my clients.

You get valuable results only when you ask relevant and valid questions. To that end, I invited participants to work in pairs and asked them to create a question about employees’ training or career development needs. The participants experienced first hand the challenge of designing good questions. “It’s harder than I thought!” was the unanimous comments among participants.

Try this exercise yourself and share your experience! I’ll be happy to take a look at your questions and provide feedback.

Download my presentation to learn about tips for how to design clear and relevant questions, draw insights from your survey results, and how to prioritize follow-up actions.

What are your experience in crafting employee survey questions and implementing employee surveys at your organization? What works for you? And what would you do differently?

Simplicity: Key to Conducting Successful Employee Surveys

Flickr photo by Daniel HurstIn a world of complexity, people crave simplicity. In fact, simplicity is the new luxury. How can you apply the philosophy of simplicity in your employee survey design and data collection process and still get valuable results?

Simplify the topics. How many topics does your employee survey cover? Do you need to assess all these areas at once? An employee survey with focused topics yields relevant and just-in-time data. It’s more manageable. You are less likely to be overwhelmed by tons of data spread across multiple topics. Continue reading “Simplicity: Key to Conducting Successful Employee Surveys”

The Art and Science of Designing Survey Questions

Survey Questions Makeover

Asking questions is easy, but asking valid and unbiased questions is not. What do you need to consider when drafting valid and unbiased employee survey questions?

A valid question should be clear, designed to measure what it’s set out to measure, and ideally, contains only one concept that you want to assess (i.e., no double-barreled questions).

Furthermore, you need to make sure that your rating scale is aligned with how a question is asked. I’ve seen questions where they ask “how likely are you to do X” while the rating scale shows a five-point satisfaction-dissatisfaction scale or agree-disagree scale. This is very confusing to the respondents and you’ll not be able to correctly interpret the survey results.
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How To Measure What Matters Most and Improve Business Results

Photo by Microsoft Office

I’m delighted to share the recording of my recent webinar, Beyond Employee Engagement: Measure What Matters Most and Improve Business Results, with you.

In this webinar, you’ll:

  • Learn why employee engagement is an important talent management strategy for HR leaders and executives
  • Gain a clear understanding of employee engagement
  • See the relationships between drivers of employee engagement and observable behaviors of engaged employees
  • Learn how to go beyond measuring employee engagement using my four-step model—align, enable, link, and deliver—to improve business results
  • Get ideas of how to use survey data and insights to create follow-up action plans and improve business results

Please click here to listen to the recording.

You can download the presentation materials here.

I’d love to hear how you are measuring employee engagement at your organization, what’s working for you, and any lessons learned. Feel free to share your ideas on this blog.

Look forward to reading your comments and thoughts!