It’s a thought everyone has when they’re filling out an employee engagement survey or satisfaction questionnaire: does anyone actually pay attention to these things?
Or, to put it even more bluntly — do these things ever lead to actual change?
A new study from the Human Capital Institute in partnership with Oracle suggests the answer is… maybe not.
It found that while nearly 60 percent of respondent companies said they took action based on employee engagement survey data, a closer look by HCI revealed that many simply passed that information on to senior leaders and employees themselves.
Shockingly, 4 in 10 organizations involved in the study said they had better insight into their customers than their own employees — running counter to the fact that happy, engaged employees will have a positive and direct impact on customer satisfaction.
This is a major missed opportunity. A highly engaged workforce is one that is more productive and has lower rates of absenteeism and turnover. And it’s also one that will actively generate ideas for innovation — the leading form of engagement around. No wonder that 93 percent of companies surveyed called engagement critical to their success. And that engagement (or more accurately disengagement) has been identified as the No. 1 challenge facing companies today.
But when it comes to the point of the employee engagement survey, HCI found that companies are coming at it with the wrong priority. Rather than gathering vital details on the needs and desires of employees, the research discovered that questionnaires were instead being used to simply gauge the overall level of organizational health.
As HCI puts it, “This is surprising, considering that companies cannot know what or how to improve if they do not have intelligence into what their workforce wants… Focusing too much on the data and not enough on implementing effective changes can be detrimental to the entire employee engagement strategy.”
What it comes down to for many organizations is opening a channel of communication with employees where their input, ideas and feedback is not just heard, but that processes are put in place to act on employee voice.