NCET helps you explore business and technology
By Amber Barnes
Can you remember your first experience with an employee engagement survey?
Mine was October 2004 and I had just started working at a Fortune 50 company. With all the warm and inspirational messaging, I shared my perspective and felt grateful to work for leaders who cared.
Sadly, like many employees, it didn’t take long for reality to set in. The next year I was rolling my eyes and going through the motions just like everyone else.
Since then, I’ve moved from employee to manager to internal consultant to now external consultant.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve worked with thousands of leaders and employees on employee engagement, and I now have a massive list of things employees despise about engagement surveys.
Here are three things your employees wish you would stop doing:
Stop using industry benchmarks as a stick
“According to this [employee engagement report], we’re doing better than 70% of the companies out there. If people don’t like it here, they should leave.”
Imagine buying into the “we care about your opinion” shtick, sharing your opinion, and now hearing this message in a meeting. It doesn’t feel very good and it doesn’t help you win with employees. In fact, people view this as a form of punishment or retaliation. And, it’s way worse when the word “entitled” is added to the mix.
Stop doing surveys if you don’t have a plan to follow up and follow through
This is one of the primary complaints about employee engagement surveys. Employees invest time and energy into sharing their perspective and don’t hear anything until it’s time to do the next survey.
Failing to follow up on insights gathered during a survey makes things worse and hurts your credibility.
It leaves employees feeling unimportant and believing that their opinions don’t matter. It only takes one or two experiences like this for employees to become apathetic or cynical towards surveys.
Stop asking about things you aren’t willing to change
Employees love it when you ask them to weigh in on their level of satisfaction and perception about pay and benefits, but then defend your decisions or give excuses for why things can’t be different when you see the results. It’s critical to reflect on each and every question you intend to ask, and get rid of anything you aren’t willing (or able) to change.
If you want more information about what employees actually want, join me at NCET’s Tech Bite luncheon on Wednesday, July 26. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces networking events to help individuals and businesses explore and use technology. Register for the event and get more info at NCETbite.org.
Amber is the founder and Chief Learning Officer at StartHuman. She now helps leaders be more effective and helps them create better work experiences for employees (which means better results too!). An abridged version of this column first appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal.