Do Employee Engagement Surveys Actually Measure Engagement?

Dwight Mihalicz,

471358209Intended to measure the health of your company, employee engagement surveys are great tools that identify employee issues such as morale, but continued low survey results show that remedial action fails to remedy a lack of engagement and to improve overall performance.

Emotionally connected to their organization and its objectives, engaged employees perform better, drive improved customer satisfaction, and help organizations to be more profitable.

How Do These Engagement Surveys Relate To Organization Design?

Reinforcing the importance of employee engagement, studies show high-performing individuals are not connected or engaged with the objectives of the company. A Corporate Executive Board (CEB) study shows only 23% of high-potential employees, who are not engaged, plan to stay at their current job, compared to 59% who are engaged. More importantly, an earlier CEB study reveals that over three years, companies with highly-engaged employees had an EBITDA growth of three times the normal standard and revenue growth of 20.1%, compared to the industry standard of 8.9%.

Gallup reports that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. about $550 billion each year in lost productivity and that employee engagement is essential to an organization’s productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction.

Are your highest performing employees planning on leaving your organization within the next year?

How Managers Increase Employee Engagement

How can you make employees strongly agree with the statement: “My job makes me feel like I am part of something meaningful?”

Since an employee’s manager is the most important link they have to the organization, it all comes down to the 5 Requirements of an Effective Manager:

  • Have a Plan
  • Do the work
  • Set Context and Boundaries
  • Effectively Delegate work
  • Create Feedback Loops between the manager and his/her direct report, team, community or another manager. 

As an alternative to both the traditional command and control structure and the faddish flat organization, the manager needs to set clear context and to delegate clear deliverables. This includes specificity for expected quality, quantity and deliverables, and timelines. It also means that managers must ensure direct reports have the necessary resources to fulfill their obligations. Team and individual feedback loops are critical to this process.

When Employees Strongly Agree with Being Unhappy

Employee engagement surveys will help you understand your employees’ career objectives in the organization. When employees “strongly agree” with “this job has failed to meet the expectations I had when I started,” chances are they’re in a role that isn’t suited to their skills.

A significant issue is that organizations misidentify individuals suited for managerial positions and promote top performers, which isn’t always the best strategy. In fact, the CEB study also shows that 46% of employees brought into leadership development programs failed to meet business objectives once they came into managerial roles. When individuals excel in a position, it’s because their problem-solving capabilities, knowledge and skills, and application are in sync with the job requirements. Success at one level not necessarily mean the individual will be right for the job one level up.

Are Your Managers Fully Engaged?

As a more dynamic approach, the Effective Managers Survey targets specific leadership issues and offers results that will help organizations understand the root causes of factors that work against employee engagement. You can identify strengths and opportunities for overall effectiveness in your organization by participating in this comprehensive study.

Dwight Mihalicz

Dwight Mihalicz has over 40 years’ experience helping local, national, and international organizations achieve greater productivity, efficiency, and performance.
Copyright © 2019 - Dwight Mihalicz -Sage Effective Managers