Employee engagement is defined as the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organisation, and put discretionary effort into their work. Employee Engagement drives business performance. Managers and leaders should keep employee engagement top of mind because every interaction with employees can have an impact on engagement and organisational performance. Executives should understand that employee engagement surveys are not competitions of beauty or meaningless exercises to obtain high scores to show around the country. When your employees are disengaged it affects the performance of your business significantly. Truly engaged employees are willing to put in more effort in their work exceeding the normal call of duty. The primary objective of measuring employee engagement is to discover the truth about what’s helping or hurting your employees’ engagement in order to do more or less of those things.
The only way to know the level of employee engagement in your organisation is through carrying out employee engagement survey using scientifically validated instruments. Researchers have indicated that engaged employees are those who are emotionally connected to their organisation. Engaged employees work with passion and feel proud to be associated with their employer. Engaged employees care about the success of their organisation.
When a company carry out an employee engagement survey during tough times for example during a pandemic, you will discover all the deep issues helping or hurting employees’ engagement. However, if your company is timing its employee engagement program to ensure high scores (for example avoiding carrying out an employee engagement during a pandemic or carrying out your survey soon after annual bonuses have been paid) you are indeed sabotaging your opportunity to uncover the truth.
According to a study “Employee Engagement Statistics Are Missing 2 Critical Groups Of Employees”, 26% of employees are motivated but unhappy. These are employees who dislike their company but are still motivated to give 100% effort at work. Motivated but unhappy employees like their company about as much as unengaged employees (Leadership IQ). Though motivated but unhappy employees might be incredibly motivated, there is something that’s causing their employee disengagement regarding how they feel about their current workplace.
If those employees’ engagement is measured immediately after the annual bonuses are paid, those are the situations that are likely to cause such elation in employee engagement because for a few weeks, those employees might forget about the things that made them unhappy. Engagement scores will look great. It will look like the company is doing well in terms of employee engagement when in fact they haven’t improved employee engagement. The company has simply timed the survey to boost employee engagement scores. The underlying sources of unhappiness or disengagement haven’t come out.
It is very important to understand that employee engagement survey can be carried out at any time. The timing of an engagement survey will affect survey results, but it is always a good time to have a better understanding of how engaged your employees are.
It is also very important to communicate the reasons for doing the engagement survey, communicate results, and take action on survey results. These actions give meaning to the survey. Otherwise, a survey ends up being more of a waste of time and de-motivator and employees end up being demotivated to participate in the survey. If an organisation has been slow to get on board with employee engagement, then it’s time to give it the priority it deserves.
If a company conduct an engagement survey right now and discovered a department with an issue, the company could intervene before things got any worse. The company can teach employees how to deal with the issue. The company would have dozens of options available, but only if it dared to assess my employees right now, pandemic and all.
It’s painfully obvious that many employees are suffering right now. And if we were to survey employees about their engagement right now, there’s a good chance that the scores will be a bit lower than in previous years. It is good to remember that high scores are not the point of measuring employee engagement.
If my goal is to use my employee engagement scores as merely a pretty plaque in the lobby, then, of course, I should postpone my survey. But if my goal is to probe deeply and figure out what’s hurting and helping my employees’ engagement, then this is the optimal time to assess my workforce.
Many companies use employee engagement as a marketing tool. If a company cares about helping employees feel more passion and inspiration for their jobs and company, there is a need to assess them when they’re stressed. Not only would that give the most truthful data, but it would also provide the greatest opportunity to do some good and help employees. And this is the purpose of conducting an employee engagement survey.
Taurai Masunda is a Business Analytics Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/taurai-masunda-b3726110b/ Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com