One of the most important metrics we are using in HR reporting is Employee Engagement. It is vital part of many different analysis and it helps us to prove impact and added value of many HR activities for the business results of a company. Therefore it is absolutely crucial to understand what Engagement really means, but also how we can assure that our survey will bring us relevant and reliable results.
This is the main reason why we have chosen such a topic for our 21st breakfast which took place on Thursday 26th April at already traditional place, Prague StartUp Center.
Employee Engagement has become one of the buzzwords everyone in HR is using and yet there is still some misunderstanding around employee surveys and all the different terms which can be used while describing employees feelings, opinions and attachment towards the company. Therefore at the very beginning of our breakfast we took a look at the differences between employee satisfaction, happiness at work, employee engagement, quality of working life (which is more linked to our people’s productivity) and wellbeing. Only after we have clear understanding of what we want to measure, we can start talking about how to measure it and what to do with results.
As it emerged from the discussion, the biggest current problem of employee engagement surveys is how to react to results and how to implement findings gained through the survey. When companies are planning to run employee questionnaire, they usually count in time needed to collect answers, analyze results and communicate them into the company or to organise employee focus groups. But they rarely do check with their managers whether they will be able to dedicate some time to work with the results, plan concrete changes and thanks to this show to people that their answers were appreciated and useful for the company. Therefore particular involvement of line managers should be essential part of the whole process.
Another option to make employee surveys more engaging is to help ourselves with principles taken from Design Thinking approach. Thanks to that we can make the whole thing much more meaningful for our employees but also for our company, as this can increase efficiency of investments into employee satisfaction. These surveys are being distributed to employees on regular basis with higher frequency (e.g. once a week or month) and it contains lower number of questions, typically around three to five.
Important question then is how to combine these small surveys with big overall surveys which are being sent every few months (typically once a year). It may sound logical to get rid of these big questionnaires as you can collect data from employees every week and therefore there is no need to bother them with dozens of questions again. Even though this might be an option, there is also possible handy combination of these two. We can use big surveys to get big picture of our people’s wishes and on the grounds of their results create list of changes and action plans we would like to make. And then we can use pulse surveys to verify how things we started to change or implement are being perceived by our employees. Their answers can navigate us through the whole process to ensure that time, money and energy spent on people care are being used efficiently.
We can also use regular questioning just to see how the working atmosphere in our company looks like and how our employees feel about their work or colleagues. Other benefit can be in making people think about their work through different perspective – thanks to surveys we can create little moment every week when people will have a chance to think about their current job satisfaction. This can be used as a helpful tool while creating culture of personal responsibility within our company.
We also had a look at different scales we can use in our surveys, as there are many other options apart from commonly used Likert scale (scale that offers range of answer options from one extreme to another, typically five degrees from “agree” to “disagree”). We had a look at Net Promoter Score, which is normally used to measure customers satisfaction, however we can use it for employee satisfaction as well. There are also different ways how to measure not only people’s opinions, but also how much things we are asking about are important for them, and there are even scales which can easily make our respondents prioritize their opinions.
Speaking about people analytics, we also had a look at several statistical methods that can help us to elaborate on the results. For example Factor Analysis can be used to verify whether survey’s questions really measure stated construct (as we know, that even employee satisfaction itself is only a construct being used to describe reality).
Another statistical method is Reliability Analysis, which shows shared variability of answers. It means that people should be giving around the same numbers while answering the questions measuring the same construct, otherwise we are asking wrong questions. The number we get is called Cronbach’s alpha and its value is always between 0 and 1 (survey is reliable when this number is at least 0,7). Statistics can also help us to see whether people were really paying attention while answering the survey, this can be verified by Insufficient Effort Responding (IER) analysis.
Even though engagement is typically being measured through employee surveys, there are also also many other options how to tell that our people are working to support our company’s interests. We can use semantic analysis of emails or calls, time spent online at pages not related to work, activity at job boards, attendance at work social events, but also overtimes or volume of work communication (emails etc.).
We ended up this breakfast with group work – designing the whole employee engagement survey procedure. And after the official program has ended, we kept on discussing up to the lunch time.
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Our next breakfast will take place on June 5 and its topic will be Onboarding based on data and we can’t wait to meet with other keen HR enthusiasts again!