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May
7
Brady Wilson

“This job is killing me.”

“My manager plays favourites.”

“My spouse tells me I should quit.”

Over 20 years of reading employee engagement reports, I have never gotten used to reading thousands of comments like these.

When organizations ask their employees to fill out an engagement survey, there is an:

  • implicit understanding that the organization cares about the well-being of its workforce, and
  • expectation that the organization will make changes based on survey results.

And so, employees pour out their lived work experience in poignant language—some of it optimistic, but much of it devastatingly painful.

So imagine the deeper pain these people feel when they don’t see their concerns addressed.

The hard truth

Here’s the hard truth: employees don’t care about engagement scores. They care about their “lived work experience,” namely whether:

  • Things are fair,
  • They can find meaning at work,
  • They can take pride in what they do, and
  • They have enough energy left over at the end of the day for “life.”

The problem is that leaders don’t often step into business tensions and address ongoing concerns that arise from engagement surveys.

If employees don’t see visible, concrete actions that impact their day-to-day energy level, doing yet another engagement survey will only produce deep cynicism inside them—and lead them to believe that their employer’s so-called “engagement” efforts are something of a con game.

How to get Beyond Engagement

Beyond Engagement is all about approaching engagement differently. When it comes to surveys, the strategy is to do the following two things:

  1. Survey less
    Only do organization-wide surveys at a rate that matches your ability to take meaningful action. For the first few years of your engagement journey, that could be annually, but after four to five years, move to an every other year approach. Why? It takes 18-24 months to implement organization-wide energy strategies and demonstrate concrete, visible action to employees. So spend less of your resources surveying engagement and more responding in ways that are concrete and meaningful to your employees.
  2. Do energy-checks
    In-between surveys, do simple energy-checks with your workforce. The energy-check is essentially a conversation tool, designed to quickly and simply measure individual and team energy levels, and pinpoint the issues that need to be addressed.

The upshot of all of this is simple but powerful: managers and employees manage energy as partners, jointing caring for the ecosystem in the only way that is truly sustainable.

Learn more about energy-checks!

Want to learn more about Beyond Engagement?  Check out this video.

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Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Co-Founder of Juice Inc, Thought Leader & Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Co-Founder of Juice Inc.

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Michael Torrie

Business Development, Juice USA

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