Sunday, October 4, 2009

Two new things in the world of employee engagement

There are two new things in the world of employee engagement explored in the article available via this link.

Click here to get white paper.

New thing #1: The conditions under which employee engagement does good

Employee engagement may not be good for all employees. We find this when we begin to examine interaction effects on traditional employee engagement surveys. Interaction effects basically explore the "conditions under which" something goes up or down. When applied to employee engagement, the interaction effect that I found in over 20 years of research is that for high sense of urgency (high energy) employees, raising traditional employee engagement scores has a positive effect on their performance.

You can lower employee performance for some subgroups when you raise employee engagement survey scores

This research was done over long periods of time, measuring performance at time 1 and time 2, and assessing urgency and energy scores for multiple time periods. The findings also show that for low energy or low sense of urgency subgroups of employees, raising scores on traditional employee engagement items actually lowers their performance. This is because all people are not equal, and engagement is not as simple as it sounds. This type of learning via research happens in all the fields of behavioral science we explore. We start out with a simple equation (engagement is good), then we do more research and find out it's a bit more complicated than that - because humans are not so predictable after all.

New thing #2: Real-time benchmarking

The second new thing that is new for employee engagement is an effort to change the way we do benchmarking. The traditional method is backwards looking. Let's take an example. What do you think about this scenario?

You are meeting with your board of directors to review stock price performance. Your contribution is to take the stock price of your firm for today and compare it to the average stock price of your competitors for the last five years. What do you think the response would be?

Your board would think you were out of your mind; this is a backwards-looking analysis. However, that type of work is exactly what we do with employee survey benchmarking. It may not be 5 years, but in most cases, the benchmarking comparison is between 1 to 5 years of data. We compare our current data to an average of old data.

We are doing backwards strategizing

In today's fast-paced world, this is not acceptable. Therefore, in an effort to try something new, my team is running the first (that we know of) real-time employee engagement benchmarking surveys with questions that uncover the interaction effect that I noted earlier.

Let's try real-time benchmarking instead

More information on this initiative is available at the link below. You can participate if you have a minimum of 5 people in a team and we can include large, global organizations. There is a fee for this work as the project is not funded; however, because of the newness of the idea, we are charging for services only (no technology fee as eePulse has donated the technology for this work). We picked one launch date to assure the real-time output, and then we are lowering costs by having all follow the same project plan, attend webinars for training and more. In other words, real time is not only new; it's less expensive.

First real-time employee engagement survey

Launch is November 12th, 2009.

Hope to see you there.

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