Our experience of running employee engagement surveys for organisations of all different shapes and sizes gives us a great oversight of what’s going on in workplaces. And we wanted to share some of the latest trends and themes we’re seeing…
In particular, we’ve looked at engagement survey examples of recurring key engagement drivers that are coming up most frequently, and also at the most common development areas arising from surveys.
What is driving employee engagement?
Our benchmark data (which comprises some 2.2 million+ responses from 170 organisations) shows that the factors (or ‘key drivers’, as we refer to them) that most impact upon engagement levels for the majority of organisations are as follows:
- Having opportunities for career development – a key driver for 43% of organisations
- A strong customer focus: believing that their employer puts the customer first – a key driver for 33% of organisations
- Having a strong employer voice – a key driver for 29% of organisations
“What really struck us here was that there’s a common thread running through these themes. That is around having a sense of purpose, direction and clarity in what we’re doing and where we are going.”
“Employees, particularly younger generations recently joining the workplace, are very hungry to develop and to have a clear development path. They also want to know that their employer is ethical, transparent and focused on doing the best for and by their clients. What’s more, they are demanding a say in the organisation’s direction, or at the very least to feel listened to and able to offer their views to management.”
What do you think – are any of three areas particularly surprising? To us, they aren’t and, in fact, one could argue that they form the very the foundations of employee engagement.
What engagement survey example action areas come up?
Knowing the factors that are most influencing how engaged people are in the workplace, we wanted to also look at recurring development or action areas we’re seeing come up from surveys.
To get to these, we looked across individual companies’ key drivers, their strategic objectives and areas where survey scores were lowest to highlight where they should focus to have the best chance of improving employee engagement. For each area we explain what it entails and how it could be addressed.
1. Creating a feedback culture
The challenge here involves creating an environment in which employees feel free to give and receive feedback. In fostering this, things typically start with managers, who can help shape the desired culture through their own behaviour, communications and practices – for example in inviting open dialogue, giving constructive feedback themselves and not shying away from having difficult conversations, where needed.
2. Developing emotional intelligence (people managers)
The emotional intelligence of line managers can have a huge bearing on the engagement (or disengagement) of teams. To develop it, the focus should be on improving both a manager’s own self-awareness and their ability to read and be aware of those around them, and therefore be better equipped to adapt and manage different scenarios. Practical ‘real play’ training exercise are a great way to hone and practice some of these conversations in a safe environment.
3. Improving employee enablement
Enablement is one of the three key components of the employee experience (along with engagement and empowerment). And we find it to be consistently the lowest scoring index in employee surveys. How best to tackle it depends on what is driving enablement but, as an example, if it relates to processes and working practices, training on pace and productivity could be helpful. Alternatively, if it is about poor support from managers, the priority should be to develop their skills first.
4. Helping managers to ‘step up’
Where survey scores for a particular team (and manager) highlight some behaviours or skills that are lower than a benchmark seen elsewhere, this can point to a manager who is operating at a level lower than where they ideally should be (e.g. a function leader operating like a team leader). In such cases the onus is on the organisation to better support their managers’ development, perhaps with a tailored ‘leadership transitions’ programme that properly prepares these people to step up.