measuring employee engagement

Employee Engagement Surveys: What Comes Next?

7 min read
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Alice Florence Orr

What comes after an employee engagement survey? In this article, we explain the problem with conducting an engagement survey in isolation – as well as how to take action to improve retention, productivity and connection.

Measuring employee engagement reveals a blind spot. Only 20% of employees are engaged in the workplace. As Ezra Klein notes in the New York Times, “Something truly wild is happening in the American labour market right now,” with similar trends seen across most Western countries.

Since The Great Resignation in 2021, you may struggle to find a company genuinely unconcerned about employee retention. Well, maybe not X. For others, the fact that most of the global workforce achieves the bare minimum with little emotional attachment is a cause for concern.

To improve productivity and retention metrics, company culture must be a priority. Low employee engagement is a symptom of poor culture, not a cause, and efforts to improve these areas should be coordinated and use the latest employee engagement software.

By understanding your staff’s experience, and taking action to improve key values as a consequence, companies will be a step ahead of the competition on many key metrics. 

📉 Enthusiasm for work is declining

“The proportion of Americans who say they plan to work beyond the age of 62 has fallen to new lows. Workers are demanding not only higher wages but better work/life balance. And some companies are even beginning to experiment with the idea of a four-day workweek.”

– Ezra Klein, New York Times 📖

Why Does Employee Engagement Matter? 

Employee engagement is a complex metric. Why? It’s about emotional commitment. To be engaged, employees need to prioritise their job, professional goals, and company mission while in the workplace. They need to feel empowered to meet their potential, making the employer/employee relationship inherently reciprocal. And yet, building an authentic culture of engaged employees is getting harder due to job instability and perceived wage stagnation. Remote working has only amplified this.

Engaged employees pay dividends for their companies by reducing churn and boosting overall company performance. But how do you codify your employees based on engagement status? Keep reading 👇

Employee Engagement Profiles: 

🚀 Highly engaged: These employees will have extremely favourable perceptions of their workplace. They will be advocates for your company and intend to stay long-term, showing great loyalty. They tend to be among the most productive employees in your workplace. 

😊 Moderately engaged: These employees will have a favourable view of the workplace, but something is holding them back from falling into the highly engaged category. They typically like their work and have great relationships with their teammates but are willing to leave for a better opportunity. 

👎 Barely engaged: An employee who is barely engaged will have a dispassionate attitude towards the workplace. They will lack the focus or motivation to perform to their best potential and are at high risk of leaving the company. 

🫣 Disengaged: Disengaged employees are negative towards the workplace and will be disruptive with their concerns. Their critiques go beyond healthy feedback and are not there to help build a better workplace. These employees tend to harm the productivity of everyone else around them. 

Employee Engagement Works: The Evidence

Studies show that employees invested in their roles are more productive than those who aren’t, and a Gallup poll found that engaged employees are 21% more productive. Engaged employees work hard and are always willing to go the extra mile to fulfil their jobs.

When employees are disengaged from their work, tasks will feel like they’re dragging. 73% of employees would consider leaving their jobs for the right offer, even if they weren’t actively seeking new opportunities.

According to Forbes, a positive company culture is “designed, first and foremost, around its company values.” Creating a culture of employee engagement requires “checking in with employees to ensure that the company mission aligns with the ways that people currently work and the ways that they want to work.” 

Human beings crave a sense of purpose and belonging. To implement real change, we must employ habits to support our journey. These habits are best role-modelled by managers – yet managers often fail to take action after a disappointing employee engagement survey.

The reasons? 👉 Time, capacity, training and guidance.

What Comes After an Employee Engagement Survey

After measuring employee engagement with a survey, most survey tools will provide a manager or HR department with suggestions, and perhaps an action plan. Their aggregated action plan will offer general recommendations, such as advising you to recognise your team once a week. Understanding the importance of this, however, is akin to knowing you should exercise regularly for your health — it doesn’t automatically motivate you to go outside and run.

The Problem With Engagement Surveys

“The number one reason why people quit their job is lack of recognition. People want to feel appreciated.” – Luke Fisher, CEO, Mo

The problem is simple. Recognising a problem does not mean that managers will be empowered to act. With no action taken, the cycle of low engagement leading to higher churn and poor productivity will continue.

Measuring Employee Engagement Isn’t Enough

Engagement surveys are already a regular part of a company’s investment in its people. But why are the same companies so slow to adopt real change? Advice is often vague. Traditional recognition software provided as a “bolt-on” by a single vendor lacks specialisation but Mo is different.

Mo is a tried-and-tested reward and recognition software that improves employee engagement through intuitive reward and recognition.

Transform your culture with Mo

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How to Take Action After an Engagement Survey

Step 1: Communicate Engagement Results and Identify Areas of Improvement

By delivering this information to the right teams and departments, you will ensure that everyone understands the pain points within your organisation.

Note: during these discussions, you must provide clear expectations regarding changes in behaviour.

Mo enables you to reinforce these changes by codifying your desired leadership behaviours through Boosts. That way, you can drive a real impact on company culture in each team through automated prompts. It reduces the workload for managers while increasing engagement.

Step 2: Educate and Empower Managers

Most survey action plans present high-level suggestions that HR will often replicate in presentations, underestimating the importance of line managers in engagement and productivity. Many managers are promoted because it is the only avenue for advancement.

A lack of enthusiasm for management is then exacerbated by heavy workloads, lack of training and a misunderstanding of their function within a company. Rather than adding to an already overwhelmed schedule, Mo empowers managers through microlearning.

After a tailored onboarding process with our Customer Success team, we continue to support busy managers with weekly activities to engage their team within the flow of their work. We do this through our Assistant function, which removes additional admin work from their load.

Step 3. Create Habits and Rituals

Human beings are naturally drawn to routine, especially when it is codified in a social setting. Rituals are part of every culture. Why shouldn’t they be part of your work culture? By locking in positive habits, you create a feedback loop that promotes constant, steady change in the right direction.

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear promotes the idea of getting 1% better every day. This is an achievable strategy for any company. After a year, you will be 37 times better than you were twelve months ago.

Mo helps you codify these behaviours into your company culture through prompts and automation. By codifying positive values into the way employees communicate, our software boosts engagement and recognition rates through easy-to-implement changes.

Step 4. Call Out Positive Behaviours

Feedback loops are an essential part of improving employee morale, which we have demonstrated helps with metrics like retention and productivity.

Gusto’s Community at Work report recorded that 37% of workers say their main reason for staying at their company was working with a fantastic team that has built strong connections. We have developed a similar idea for Mo’s software. Using our Boosts, admins are empowered to regularly praise their team. It provides a smarter system that reduces the burden on line managers.

Step 5. Model and Codify Best Practices

The role of line managers is often undervalued. We often talk about the way managers are promoted without proper training. Many lack the enthusiasm or interest required to successfully engage a team. Rather than criticise, we want to empower these leaders to take action.

Giving busy managers a tool to quickly and effectively recognise their team allows them to build a positive employee culture. The more they post, respond and engage, the better role models they are to their team.

👉 Our expert demo video explains how

Step 6: Establish Trust Through Transparency

Employees know when they are being kept in the dark. Some don’t mind this. However, in the modern world of work, transparency is valued by many who feel unstable in their jobs or are concerned about work practices.

When employees trust their leaders, there will be 74% less stress, 50% higher productivity and 76% more engagement

We use a simple system called Moments to allow managers and team members to share wins and feel encouraged by other people’s hard work. It bridges connections between different departments and ensures that everyone feels they’re moving forward together.

Step 7: Establish Faster Feedback Loops

Our Behavioural Insights provide managers and leaders with faster feedback loops on your initiatives. Running an employee engagement survey once a year is an important part of any HR strategy, but it doesn’t pick up on subtle trends.

Step 8: Put “Hard” Values on “Soft” Measures

We often talk about the value of “invisible work”, from sorting out those messy folders to being the social lynchpin of the team. Remove any of these roles, the ecosystem starts to fall apart. But these skills are rarely rewarded.

Mo ensures that we effectively measure and reward value, no matter what form that takes. We review value impact and give recommendations based on your specific circumstances, preventing anyone from falling through the gaps.

It’s time to get started 👉 Book a demo

Measuring Employee Engagement: Key Takeaways

  • Only 20% of employees are engaged in the workplace, reflecting a widespread issue noted across Western countries.
  • Engaged employees contribute to reduced churn rates, increased productivity, and a positive work environment, ultimately benefiting the company’s performance.
  • Taking actionable steps post-employee engagement surveys involves communicating results, empowering managers, creating habits and rituals, calling out positive behaviours, modelling best practices, establishing trust through transparency, setting faster feedback loops, and putting “hard” values on “soft” measures.

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