Tag Archives: employee engagement survey

There’s more to measurement than you think

Over the years, IC professionals have wracked their brains to find the most effective and beneficial means of carrying out measurement on their IC channels.

Tracking the impact of internal comms on employee engagement continues to elude even the brightest minds.

Now KPMG is leading the way with its Employee Engagement Plus Index, a new online diagnostic tool that looks at engagement in relation to proven drivers.

Tracking engagement as a single entity often provides results that are difficult to act on.

Without understanding what other elements are impacting engagement within a company, we will struggle to understand and put into action measurement results.

We know that engaged employees are more committed to their organisation and are more likely to go the extra mile. With new, improved measurement tactics the bewilderment that tends to surround measurement can be replaced with solutions that benefit both employees and employers.

Following on from our article last month that discussed how half of firms are failing to monitor intranet engagement, KPMG has provided an interesting case study in using measurement in a way that produces useful results.

This employee engagement survey is based on the understanding that a company’s greatest asset is its people, making employees central to an organisation’s performance.

Instead of looking at engagement alone, KPMG’s employee engagement survey looks at it in unison with the factors that are proven to boost it.

These include leadership, communication and work commitment.

By understanding what is increasing or inhibiting engagement, a business can use the survey results to make targeted actions that will achieve long-term improvements, including a positive working environment and improved bottom-line results.

Malcolm Pace Debono, Director for People and Change in KPMG in Malta, has expressed how it is critical for organisations to develop an engaged workforce.

The introduction of this employee engagement survey is definitely a step in the right direction.

So how do we use this to benefit our own measurement?

When analysing the engagement of our own channels, it is important to discuss not only the channels in isolation, but as part of a group of factors.

If your employees are your greatest asset, then you will want to ensure they feel they are being heard, they know their future with you is important, and that you want their working environment to aid their job.

By understanding more about how your employees engage with your organisation as a whole, you can begin to understand the part your IC channels play in each contributing factor.

Devil’s advocate: Why do we bother with employee engagement surveys?

In well-meaning organisations across the UK, an enormous and comprehensive survey has become an annual ritual.

It consumes time and money and produces volumes of data, consuming more time and, by implication, money. But does anything useful come of it?

People will say “yes” and point to good things they believe have improved their organisation. They’ll say this justifies the investment. But I beg to differ. Too often the return is marginal.

At worst, annual engagement surveys have been allowed to become an indulgent distraction – wasting hours and cash, producing misleading results, and focusing energies in the wrong direction. They invite complaints, place unimportant issues on the agenda, lead us down the wrong path and distract us from doing things that matter.

It’s a broad and damning condemnation. But if I’m wrong, how do we explain that, despite a massive and increasing investment in IC and engagement, productivity is getting worse and worse?

The gap between our Olympic superstate and the rest of the civilised world is greater than at any time since records began. For every hour Herman the German works, he produces 36 per cent more than his British equivalent.

The French are 30 per cent more productive. And the Italians are 10 per cent ahead of us. Hardly surprising that, like for like, the average German earns £43,449 each year – while the Brit struggles along on £27,199.

I am in no way suggesting that IC and employee engagement are a waste of time. I believe passionately that they rank among the most powerful tools in the armoury of a business. But put to the wrong use, powerful tools can be ineffective or dangerous.

My case is this: The full-hit annual engagement survey is relatively ineffective. It can waste time and money – and can lead us to focus on issues that have only a minor impact on the organisations we serve or the people they employ.

We’re a young, naïve profession and now might be a good time to consider our course. I suggest a three-pronged strategy for the future direction of IC:

1: More leading, less listening

Farmers achieve porky pigs through instinct and experience – the scales merely confirm what they already know. In IC we should listen by all means, but not let it get in the way of leading. No truly great leader governs according to the findings of focus groups. They draw
on their own expertise, experience and instinct to set the agenda.

2: Pulse check, not routine medical 

Make measurement meaningful – timely and succinct. We make choices, express opinions and change our minds by the nanosecond. Now matters. So we should listen little and often and tackle big issues as they arise. We have the tools, accessible via the mobile in our pockets. Pulse checks are infinitely more valuable than cumbersome surveys and reams of analysis.

3: Stop navel-gazing and start doing real stuff

Liberate your business, your board and yourself from the bureaucratic burden of the all-encompassing annual survey. There may be a few gems in there, but as a whole it risk being an enormous distraction. So scrap it. Let leaders lead – and invest the hours, money and energy on doing things that will actually help make your business a happier, more successful place to be.