How Companies Can Support Engagement Throughout the Employment Lifecycle
Employee engagement is generally seen as a subset of the whole employee experience, and therefore as the responsibility of leaders. Measurement is done via a survey of every employee, at the same time. Results are collated, conclusions drawn and actions taken – or not!
What if there was another way of doing things?
- What if employee engagement was a personalized, individualized ‘thing’?
- What if the results empowered, enabled and encouraged employees to take actions to increase their own engagement level – perhaps dramatically?
- What if leaders were given information that tied into their overall picture – on an ongoing basis – of what is going on in their company?
How employee engagement surveys are usually run and used
Most enlightened companies realize that in order to attract and retain great staff, they need to work hard to ensure that the day-to-day experience of working at their company is a positive one. That will likely include a raft of interrelated elements: remuneration, working conditions, wellness initiatives, recognition and appreciation, the work itself, the ethical choices the company makes – and more.
Increasingly, companies understand that the lifetime cost of employees is reduced when people stay longer and that they produce more when they are happy and fulfilled in their work.
And so, as a part of the raft of initiatives that they put in place, they measure and monitor levels of engagement of employees. Typically this is an annual (most usual) or biannual (every six months) or biennial (every two years) exercise that varies in sophistication from a simple pulse survey (questions on the theme of Are you happy?) to questions based on a comprehensive understanding of how engagement works, designed to provide leaders with snapshots of how engaged employees are and, what actions they (the leaders) could potentially take to further increase employees’ engagement levels.
These periodic surveys can undoubtedly be very valuable. For many organizations they are an essential and effective way to monitor progress and help plan future initiatives. However, we have been looking at alternative approaches…
Why consider different - or additional - approaches?
Whilst the approach outlined above is administratively convenient and has the potential to support the overall employee experience landscape, there are two potential flaws:
- A lot can happen between snapshots and the further off course a company becomes, the harder it is to make effective alterations.
- This approach is predicated on the assumption that employee engagement is the primary – or sole – responsibility of the company and its leaders. The only role the employee has in this process is to tell the employer which aspects of their experience as employees are going well and which are not.
How an Employee Lifecycle perspective could be helpful
If we move away from the idea of simply having annual (or biannual or biennial) surveys, what could we have instead, or, in addition?
What if we asked employees about their experience on the anniversary of their joining date, or their most recent promotion – and perhaps at the midpoint between each anniversary? Or, what if we follow cohorts of new hires or cohorts of new managers and assess their state of engagement at 3, 6 and 9 months?
From an employee perspective, this immediately feels tailored to them and their specific situation.
And there is more. If the survey provides meaningful feedback to the employee as well as to the company, they would be getting actionable feedback that enables them to take specific steps to maximize their own engagement levels. In other words, the survey would primarily be about them as individuals.
From a company perspective, they will now be getting ongoing trend information in real time, since tens or hundreds or even thousands of employees (depending on the size of the company, of course) would be completing the survey each week or month. So, if engagement scores are trending the wrong way, the company will know about it sooner rather than later. And conversely, if the scores are trending the right way it will be easier to correlate that with any initiatives that have been implemented.
Is all of this possible?
With ‘traditional’ employee engagement surveys, unfortunately the answer is no. Most engagement surveys are designed only to provide feedback and information to the company, not to the individual. So the approach outlined above isn’t possible.
Fortunately the Spark’d Engagement Survey is different. Although it provides science-based and actionable insights for the company, the survey has been built around the assumption that the people most able to take meaningful, personalized action to maximize their engagement levels are the people themselves!
Or to put it another way, we believe that by empowering employees with an understanding of what drives their personal levels of engagement and by providing them with tools to make meaningful changes, we are creating a situation in which everyone wins.
If you would like to find out more about the Employee Lifecycle Engagement, please contact us.