I have been focused on Employee Engagement recently. I have done a lot of research on the subject and I am finding some really good ideas. I fully expect to see some significant improvement in this area in our organization over the next several months. The problem is that I like to measure progress when I am investing this much time, energy, and resources into anything. How exactly am I supposed to measure Employee Engagement? I think one answer lies in employee surveys.
Employee Engagement Series
This is the fourth post in a series I am doing on Employee Engagement. In the first two posts, I described my plan for this series and I told you how I set the stage for my action plan with my employees. In my last post, I laid out my plans for hosting employee focus groups. In this post, I am going to tell you about the next step in my action plan for Employee Engagement – employee surveys.
The overall goal of this step is to get employee feedback on a wide variety of workplace issues. The results should provide actionable information for improvement.
Jim Reese on Employee Surveys
During a conversation I had recently with Jim Reese, CEO of Atlanta Mission, he brought up the topic of employee surveys. I am familiar with typical employee surveys as one of our franchise manufacturers requires them once a year. However, Reese referred to employee surveys that were focused on employee engagement. This approach is different than I have seen.
Reese told me how he made it one of his first initiatives to survey his employees and volunteers at Atlanta Mission shortly after he arrived on the job. It was his desire to assess the current culture of the organization, find the problem areas that needed to be addressed first, and to establish a baseline for measurement of future progress.
Once his employees were surveyed for the first time, Reese determined what had to be done and which problem areas were most critical. He told us how the results from this first survey allowed him to prioritize his plans. He acted quickly on the major issues and saw clear improvement.
He emphasized that we should act quickly, but not to expect overnight success in all areas. He saw some immediate successes, but he also said he is still working to improve some of the issues revealed on that first survey. It is several years later and Atlanta Mission is still using this employee survey process.
Goals For Employee Surveys
Taking Reese’s goals, and adding one of my own to fit my own plans, I came up with the following goals for this step:
- Assess the current culture of the organization
- Find the problem areas that needed to be addressed first
- Establish a baseline for measurement of future progress
- Validate feedback gathered during focus groups
Experts with Employee Surveys
Reese put me in touch with another gentleman named Al Lopus. He is CEO of an organization called Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI) which conducts the surveys for Atlanta Mission. When I talked to Lopus, I found that he had decades of experience in creating employee surveys and he seemed to know exactly what I was looking for. I realized I was hearing about the answer to my measurement problem.
Unlike most employee surveys I have seen, the BCWI survey is created with the Christian organization in mind. There is even flexibility to custom-tailor their survey to your specific organization. This is especially helpful since I do not feel our company fits the normal mold in our industry!
There are plenty of options out there for executing employee surveys. You can find turn-key programs and do-it-yourself products, as well as anything in between. I will be using the BCWI product and I will let you know how it goes.
Have you ever done employee surveys in your organization?
What were your successes? What pitfalls did you experience?
Do you see a value in this step of the process?