Find Your Employee Engagement Focus Areas - bettHR

Your employee engagement survey results are worthless… at least compared to the value they used to deliver in the first five years of doing a survey. Here’s the thing: regardless of the type of engagement survey, provider, vendor, or aggregator you use – the hard part resides solely on your hands.

And the information that we receive in HR from our partners in this venture, aren’t going to move the needle on true engagement.

A pretty slide deck with the results cut a million ways so you can share the “data” with a red/yellow/green notation, is ineffective (and dare I say useless?).

Instead, it’s up to us in HR and your people leaders to dig deeper behind the results to focus on what’s behind them. Yes, the data provided from the survey, the areas of success and failure are helpful to point us in the right direction and guide us on what’s important, but they are the starting point.

At the end of the day, in order to influence engagement which then keeps your employees at your company, delivering value, being productive, being ambassadors for your brand, and so on – you need to know what is broken… so you know exactly how to fix it.

Often we talk about friction points along the employee experience – how to find them, how to fix them – to remove the rub and create a more seamless experience.

BUT, as we all know, a new friction point will always pop-up, making it feel like you’re playing a game of whack-a-mole.

The same can be true with your employee engagement efforts. Which is why it sometimes doesn’t feel like it’s worth the effort… year after year.

It is. But only if you focus on the right engagement activities to work on and improve – and understand the why and how they became disengagement factors in the first place.

#EmployeeEngagement will only improve if you focus on the right engagement activities – and understand the why and how they became disengagement factors in the first place. #HR Click To Tweet

When You Get Your Employee Engagement Results…

Use the Categories as Indicators

Your company may have had some influence at the outset to create the relevant categories tied to your overall company goals and objectives, or you may not have (which is ok too). The categories of the questions, there is usually between eight and 10, will help you look at different buckets of engagement.

It may be clear with the category results, the exact one or two areas that are failing your employees and company – as they will be significantly lower than any of the other categories.

But don’t assume these two categories are then the areas you need to focus on. This is a big mistake I see made all of the time. “It’s the lowest number, we need to focus on it.”

That category may be low because your company has intentionally decided not to make that a differentiator for you.

For example, maybe physical work environment is a category on your survey and it was scored the lowest overall. And your company is mostly remote with a goal to move to 100% remote over the next two years. Will fixing the physical work environment be helpful to your overall goals? Um, no. Your company is focusing on eliminating the physical work environment (onsite desks) as a whole.

This example shows the need for us to dig a bit deeper when we review the survey data, versus just acting on the numbers.

Your #EmployeeEngagement survey data may include low numbers in category, because your company has intentionally decided not to make that a differentiator for you. #HR #leadership Click To Tweet

On the flip-side, the categories can more precisely show any gaps between what the company cares about – the initiatives, goals, principles, etc. – and how employees are experiencing them on a daily basis.

So start with the category results, but don’t run with them without taking a second look.

What Is the Most Relevant Question for Alignment?

Instead of continuing to work through the results and looking at the lowest scores to know what you need to tackle like we’ve been taught, think more strategically here.

What is the most critical question from the survey for overall employee and company alignment?

Then, what is the second most critical question?

In other words, look for the questions that are tied most closely to the company’s overall success. Consider: if this result is low, our company breaks… or our employees will leave… or we will miss our production schedule, and so on.

What needs to be performing at the absolute highest levels to deliver the expected results for the company?

This may be different each year, or may be consistent depending on how your company frames their overall success factors.

Regardless, unless your results for these questions on a macro (company-wide) view and on a micro (leader-specific) view are 98% or better, they should absolutely be an area of focus for improvement.


**Special Snowflake Alert**: Our results for these two questions are around 92%, really high – and we have other areas that are in the 60s. Should I still focus on these questions?

Um, yes. If these are truly critical questions and success factors for you company’s overall success and your employees’ overall engagement, then they need continued attention and focus.

What are Your Trade-offs?

We all know this instinctively, even though we are constantly trying to ignore it or push back on it.

We have to make trade-offs to ensure success.

We can’t “boil the ocean” and fix everything… especially if our senior leaders are asking us to. We need to focus on the most influential activities, to make the biggest movement in engagement in our desired direction.

To be focused on the right things, we can’t throw spaghetti on the wall and expect that having a few engagement activities stick will be the right path forward.

So decide what your trade-offs are. What are you going to go DEEP on to achieve focused results? And what are you going to ignore and tackle at a later time (or leave altogether), in order to be successful?

This is where creating an effective business case is important. Because you will get push-back from leaders who want to improve everything. Or at the very least, the lowest results.

What are you going to go DEEP on to achieve focused #employeeengagement results? And what are you going to ignore and tackle at a later time (or leave altogether), in order to be successful? #HR Click To Tweet

But it’s your job to showcase why you have decided the specific questions/areas are of utmost importance to focus on and reinforce your expertise in the matter.

Click here to learn how to do that effectively.

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