Employee surveys – how to go beyond engagement
At People Insight we are seeing a quiet revolution taking place in the measurement of employees’ experiences at work.
For years it has been a crucial exercise to measure employee engagement, to understand what drives it, and to implement actions to improve engagement.
While this valuable approach will likely remain the norm for some time, many organisations feel that it is not enough to measure only engagement and its drivers, and momentum is building around the measurement of other key employee experiences and perceptions.
Driven by the concept of sustainable employee engagement, more organisations are taking advantage of surveys to measure wellbeing, including concepts such as stress and low mood – not to mention wider measurement around culture, values and equality and diversity.
Clever questionnaire design and powerful analyses are providing new insights to help discover, for example, why some teams are at risk of burnout, or why the values don’t stick. Then importantly, what to do about it. There’s a shift in focus away from just environmental factors, to factors relating more specifically to each employee.
Our recent work with a globally renowned and highly engaged organisation illustrates the power of considering these issues separately to engagement. The organisation wanted to understand employees’ wellbeing as well as engagement, and People Insight added measures into the survey around stress and low mood.
Data analysis showed that despite high levels of engagement, stress and low mood scores were also high (a bad thing). The analysis further demonstrated that the drivers of engagement, stress, and low mood were very different from one another.
This has implications for action planning, for example to increase engagement, key actions might be to communicate internal career opportunities more effectively, or to initiate a programme around embedding/understanding organisational purpose.
Key actions to address stress would be different, and could include evaluating and refreshing formal and informal recognition processes, or encouraging and role-modelling peer support.
Finally to address concerns around low mood, encouraging team building activities and work social events, or initiating an employee wellbeing programme might be more suitable.
This illustrates that different actions are required depending on the desired outcomes, and by gaining insight on the drivers and scores for these key factors, a powerful opportunity is presented to make organisational change.
The trend towards measuring concepts outside engagement is a significant one, and taking action on wellbeing factors such as stress and low mood will benefit organisations as much as individuals by creating and sustaining more engaging, productive and healthy workplaces.
Article by People Insight’s Head of Consultancy, Dr George Margrove, PhD. A chartered occupational psychologist, George holds a PhD from Cardiff University with a focus on wellbeing, organisational performance, stress, and statistical analyses.
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