Q&A: Rethinking Your Employee Engagement Strategy - HighGround


Q&A: Rethinking Your Employee Engagement Strategy

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Last week we hosted a webinar with Human Capital Institute, Forrester Research Analyst Claire Schooley and Patagonia VP of Human Resources and Shared Services Dean Carter called, It’s Time to Rethink Your Employee Engagement Strategy. Attendees had some great questions that we either didn’t have time to answer or wanted to expand upon here. Check out the Q&A below:

Isn’t it kind of a “chicken and egg” situation with company financial stability and employee engagement? The panelists mentioned that financial stability is important for an engaged environment, but if you don’t have stability, you need engaged employees to complete a turnaround.

It’s more of a chicken and…steak situation. Both need to be on a well-balanced “menu” and are good indicators of overall organizational health.

Financial stability brings more opportunity for internal development and maintaining a culture of positive feedback — both of which are essential pieces to engagement.

Engaged employees are essential to sustainable financial turnaround, particularly in terms of talent retention. Turnover is expensive and impacts your bottom-line for months after an employee leaves your company.

At my company, the score from the engagement survey is used as a metric for each department. This encourages some people to answer everything with a high score to help the team. How have others handled this problem?

You can improve your organization’s response accuracy through approaching the surveys as an opportunity for feedback rather than just an overarching performance metric. Instead of conducting one large survey, you can get a better snapshot of your employee’s mood over time through more frequent and random polls, which allows you to address issues more quickly. From there, you can slice results not only by department, but by leadership level, tenure and by team to focus on more specific areas for growth.

How do we attend to an employee population that is very vocal with in-person feedback indicating they feel disengaged, but then our ESAT and pulse survey results are consistently high and indicate they’re satisfied overall?

Change your tactics to be more specific such as “Are you happy with your manager?” and “Do you feel your manager provides you with effective feedback?” Asking the questions in a different way will elicit different answers. Professional development and an employee’s relationship with his or her manager are directly correlated to their engagement with your company. Technology platforms like HighGround allow you to document in-person feedback and track correlating sentiment over time.

Compensation is sometimes tied to the annual evaluation. What are some other ways to tie compensation with performance?

In many cases, linking compensation to annual reviews inherently rewards tenure over actual performance. Compensation evaluation can (and should!) happen more frequently than once a year. Back-end talent analytics tied to positive and constructive feedback give a better, more holistic understanding of which employees deserve higher compensation beyond years of service.

How did you “datafy” employee conversations?

You can encourage your managers to document feedback conversations through recording actionable goals based on those conversations. Insight into goals set between managers and their employees provides leadership with quantifiable data — both with the employee’s performance and the manager’s coaching.


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