The Clock is Ticking...
So the survey results are out! What’s the initial reaction? Shock? Confusion? Delight? Of course we all want colleagues to be highly engaged. The question is how are we achieving this? No doubt your engagement data will look highly complex and may show correlations between highly engaged and highly disengaged colleagues. It might even show the population you currently have that are highly disengaged. That in itself can be quite alarming. But how did this happen?
Looking through data is like reading several historical books about the same subject. They all contain pieces of information which when pulled together, tell a compelling story. The problem is that with so much pressure on to explain the data i.e. why so many are highly disengaged as opposed to engaged, or why the scores haven’t gone up as much as we were expecting, the focus is quite often taken away from what next, to why did that happen.
It’s important to understand why things happened, after all, that is what wisdom is all about, gaining knowledge, experience, allowing for the ability to make good judgements, having learned from the past. To think the engagement survey data will contain all of the answers is naïve. Having worked with a number of organisations and during my time supporting the Sunday Times Best Companies, I often saw organisations with fantastic engagement scores, great response rates, yet there was a ‘splinter’ in the data that would cause confusion. It was often related to the questions such as whether colleagues would recommend the organisation as a place to work to friends and family.
The engagement data will only provide information based upon the questions asked. It is when these do not address the issues high on colleagues’ minds, that the data can cause confusion. The only way to validate the data is through a dialogue with colleagues. Carrying out focus groups to explore the data are critical to ensure actions taken are meaningful. This might seem a very long winded way of ‘getting it right’, but think about it, if we don’t address the issues that are getting in the way of colleagues’ ability to deliver their best performance, it can result in frustrations when actions are taken, as they are not perceived to be getting to the heart of the problem.
No organisation would go into a strategy planning session and within a couple of weeks, decide their organisation’s strategy based upon one piece of data. This would need to be triangulated to ensure the data made sense with other pieces of information available, to ensure nothing was missed, ensuring the plan going forward would truly add value. Engagement planning requires the same diligence. After all, people are our greatest asset, so why wouldn’t we want to ensure everything we do, truly helps them be the best they can be? So whilst the clock is ticking and there is a need to understand the results so we can explain them better, provided colleagues are made aware of the ‘grand plan’ and an understanding of how long things might take to get it right, I think you’ll find they won’t mind a month or two of truly understanding how they feel, because they know how valued they really are…
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