There are two opposite and wrong reactions to Employee (engagement/satisfaction) surveys. At one end, there is the ‘ignore the findings’. I use the term ‘ignore’ as a host of different meanings: ignore-ignore, pretend that you don’t ignore but ignore, dismiss, justify, or sweep under the carpet. Included here are all the ‘cognitive dissonance’ mechanisms: ‘Of course the results are not good, it was done just when the reorganization was announced’. Or, ‘We have just gone through a hell of a journey with the hostile takeover’. Or, ‘The weather has been really, really bad recently’. Most management teams will not ‘ignore’, but may pretend to ignore a little.
In my consulting experience, this end of the spectrum is not as problematic as the opposite. At the other end, there isn’t ignoring but over-reaction. A need to address point by point, score by score, graph by graph and do something, or, more importantly, being seen to do something, sometimes without a lot of reflection. Work-life balance low? Let’s have focus groups to find the 3 best initiatives we can have to improve it. Trust in management low? Let’s have a cascade down system of workshops by mangers with their staff. Etc.
I often see a temporal organizational paralysis trying to deal with the graphs and numbers. I know of a Big Plc Board that has ‘ordered’ a tsunami of meetings across all geographies to make sure that ‘people are engaged’. I see more benign forms of reaction to items, but not much overall reflection in search of overall meaning.
Incidentally, I have never seen a Reaction-Workshop-Chain focused on high scores to see how we can keep them high. It’s always a Problem Solving of The Negative exercise. No wonder the climate of the Tsunami Reaction is negative/sad/Houston-we-have-a-problem.
My advice for people who don’t have proficiency in handling Employee Surveys is simple: don’t do them, you might get lots of results.
My views on these surveys is known: In case you missed them, here are four recent Daily Thoughts on the topic:
Employee Engagement Surveys are tools for conversation. Results, good or bad, are symptoms. Any symptomatic treatment is, well, symptomatic. It does not touch the causes. Having low work-life balance scores treated with a package of ‘flexible working’, is giving painkillers to somebody with a fractured arm.
Continue the conversation…..
Thought leader, keynote speaker and author, Dr Leandro Herrero is available for virtual speaking engagements. Find out more.
Leandro Herrero is frequently voted ‘Best Speaker’ at conferences worldwide. He also speaks to Boards and Leadership Teams, participates in other internal company conferences as a keynote speaker, and is available to run short seminars and longer workshops.
The topics of Leandro Herrero’s presentations and workshops relate to his work as an organizational architect.
Each organization has specific needs to be addressed. Contact us to discuss your needs and to create the most appropriate virtual session for you.