New to measuring engagement? You may be surprised by what a first-year employee engagement survey reveals about your culture. Results can unlock valuable insights such as which managers or departments are top (or bottom) performing, as well as your overall company strengths and opportunities. These insights allow you to better understand, serve, and support your entire workforce more than any other resource. They allow you to strategically design and implement the conditions at work where employees will thrive.

Why is this process so hard for us to commit to?

It’s easy to talk about projects, plans, and to-do lists at work. Those are the tangible items staring us in the face every day we show up to work. Clients are waiting on us. Board members need things from us. Deadlines are looming.

Our culture, on the other hand, operates silently in the background, just waiting to be noticed and attended to. It feels more abstract and doesn’t demand time on our calendar until it’s too late and there’s a personnel issue to deal with. However, the impact of keeping your culture on the back burner does have tangible reverberations. Turnover and low quality work (impacting client and customer satisfaction) are just two of the direct hits to your bottom line.

By soliciting feedback through an engagement survey, every employee is given a voice to inform leaders what the current culture climate actually is. These results are your key to intentionally creating and sustaining a healthy, highly engaged workforce that not only gets things done, but enjoys the process.

What is the current culture in most organizations today?

As we shared in our Trends in Employee Engagement blog, we have some interesting engagement findings from companies all across North America. Based on our updated 2018 data, in the first-year surveys alone, we find the following average breakdown:

When combining the employees that fall in the Disengaged categories, 55 percent of all employees are not working to their full capacity each day. Imagine the impact that has not just on you as the leader, but also on customers, clients, and stakeholders. Even the 45 percent of employees who show up in the Engaged categories need attention because they are carrying too much of the effort and burden on their own.

Where do your employees fall in these categories? Is your culture different than the average? The only way to reliably know is to gather your own data. Measuring engagement, especially with the E3A, offers you a clear picture of your current culture and a path forward.

Considerations when surveying

Regardless of which survey tool you use in your organization, be aware of these two factors that impact the validity of results:

  1. Baggage. When employees respond the first time they participate in an engagement survey, they are mentally sifting through their entire work experience thus far. Unfortunately, painful or frustrating experiences trigger our memory more easily than positive ones, so employee responses may be impacted by issues that are no longer relevant – which can impact your overall scores. Even if the source of their frustration is no longer relevant, you should still pay attention to the feedback. It is telling of which conditions are most important to your employees.
  2. Anonymity. Employees have to feel safe being vulnerable when participating in a survey. If they have any doubt their identity will be tied to their responses, they will not answer honestly. This is why you must use a third-party to conduct your survey – to show your employees their confidentiality will be protected and they can answer all questions openly and honestly.

Key Takeaways

  • Allowing your culture to just “happen” rather than strategically defining how you want your company to feel will result in more personnel issues and a far less direct path to a highly engaged team.
  • On average, more than half of employees fall into the Disengaged category in a first-year survey. Gather your organization’s data to pinpoint your specific engagement breakdown – and to develop a clear path for improvement.
  • Join Manager Resource Center to increase engagement and transform your team dynamics.