Engagement. Yes, You Can Really Do More!

It’s October.

A month in many organizations where there is a lot going on such as benefits open enrollment, Q4 and 2014 planning, engagement survey results, and much more.

All of us are busy with the many tasks keeping us pre-occupied through the remainder of the year; however, there is one item you should ensure much focus is provided – your engagement survey results.

I know there are mixed reviews as to how much time you should put into your results, but I am here to tell you it is all about what you do with those results. While many organizations establish a process where results are reviewed with employee teams, several items are selected to focus on until the next survey period, and action plans are established, I am not always a fan of this process alone.

The process I describe above is important and necessary, but you do not just stop there with the results.

What Else Can You Do?

Engagement results can provide a lot of meaning to you on morale, environment, manager effectiveness, communication, etc., it just depends on how deep you dig. So how can you dig deeper?

Comments. If comments are built into your engagement survey results, be sure to evaluate these. Sometimes this area can be overlooked and considered just an even greater opportunity for employees to complain, but comments can tell you a lot! Specifically, look for trends in comments or keywords from employees on compensation, manager effectiveness or communication, environment, or morale. Instances where comments about these items are strong and repetitive indicate there may be a bigger issue to look into.

Low Scores. If your survey does not incorporate comments, do not fret. Another great method is to evaluate scores that are lower than other areas in the survey. For instance, if employees in a location evaluated a manager’s ability to communicate with extremely unfavorable scores, this is an indicator that should not be taken lightly – get some further detail around the low score.

Development. When utilizing results from an engagement survey for manager development, you have to be a little more diligent with this than one might think. Meaning, just because someone received a low score, doesn’t mean it is always bad. Therefore, dig a little deeper. Is there a strong unfavorable percentage – did the majority indicate (i.e., 75% of employees)? Or was it just one or two employees who perhaps rated the manager low?Development

If it is a situation where 75% or more of the employees indicated unfavorable responses, use this time to partner with the leader the manager reports to. Understand if there are deficiencies they see from their chair which could align to what is being seen with the results. Additionally, it may be an opportunity for you or the manager’s leader to visit the employees, get a sense of how the location/department operates, and determine if the results align with what is being seen.

Depending on what is found, it may be something from a development standpoint that can be put into place to close the gap on the deficiency.

Retention. We have all heard retention aligns with engagement and performance. Unfortunately, many people just say this because this is “known”. However, have you ever really plotted it? Yes, plot the engagement score (X-axis) and retention (Y-axis). The results typically align with the two; sometimes there are some one offs, but that is with any analysis. For instance, I conduct this exercise and I compile my data into four categories:

  • High Engagement, High Retention
  • High Engagement, Low Retention
  • Low Engagement, High Retention
  • Low Engagement, Low Retention


The locations I focus first are those plotted in the Low Engagement and Low Retention quadrant. Usually there is something here which needs further attention such as:  morale, job understanding, manager effectiveness, communication, compensation, etc. Conducting an analysis with the location manager, as well as visiting with the employees helps me gauge an understanding as to why a particular location is Low. From there, we are able to establish a detailed action plan to begin to turn sales, engagement, and retention around.

Moving Forward

I have always seen data as a gift. It just depends on what you want to do with it.

Next time you receive results on something, take the time to truly understand it, give some thought as to what you can do with the information, and set out a plan to conquer. Data is only as powerful as we make it (within reason) – I have also always stated there is a story behind the data too.

So, pick up those engagement survey results and learn what is going on!

Enjoy your October and Q4!



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