Employee Engagement Survey Research
UNDERSTANDING WHAT DRIVES EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND SATISFACTIONHere at Insightlink, we believe that there should be two main objectives of any organization-wide employee survey:
HOW DO YOU TAKE THE TEMPERATURE OF YOUR ORGANIZATION?There are many cases where temperature is an important indicator of physical condition, such as checking the temperature outside before deciding how to dress and having your doctor take your temperature to determine if you have a fever.
To remove the guesswork and measure how engaged and satisfied an organization's employees are, the temperature of an organization by means of a well-designed employee survey needs to be taken. Annual revenues, profits, the share price, certainly help indicate the health of a company but without measuring the temperature of the organization's "human capital", the company's health may be at risk. Extensive evidence shows that how employees feel about their jobs strongly influences the performance of an organization.
And what is the best way of taking the temperature of an organization's human capital? We believe that the best approach is to measure overall job satisfaction because:
And what is the health of human capital these days? Based on Insightlink's annual normative benchmark study, just less than six-in-ten employees in the U.S. are either extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs:
Since we recommend that organizations should target having at least 65% of employees who are extremely or very satisfied with their jobs, there is clearly some room for improvement in the U.S. Over the past few years, this measure of job satisfaction dipped a little in 2009, when the recent recession was profoundly affecting employment and public sentiment, then returned to a more typical level in 2010.
Combining overall job satisfaction and an employee's anticipated tenure (that is, how long they believe they will stay at that organization) we create a Loyalty Matrix which gives an even stronger sense of how employees feel about their jobs.
What do these groups mean?
These are the employees who are highly satisfied with their jobs and have a long-term intention to stay with their organization. Through the positive contributions they make to productivity, customer satisfaction, the morale of their co-workers and ultimately, to their organization's financial performance and overall success, they are the foundation of their organization's human capital.
However, since only 50% of employees in the U.S. can currently be characterized as Committed Loyalists, organizations should deliberately seek strategies to maximize the size of this group.
These employees are satisfied with their jobs but are not deeply committed to the organization in the long-run. As a result, they are both an asset and a liability. They are happy and productive workers, but they represent a risk of employee turnover. Their lack of commitment to their organizations means that they can be lured away by other employers.
Although just 6% of employees in the U.S. are Satisfied Opportunists, in an improving job market or when there is competition between employers for scarce talent, these employees may leave just when your organization can least afford it.
These employees are actively on their way out of their organizations, lacking both commitment and intention to stay. They are apt to be less productive than their more committed colleagues and may also be a drag on the morale of those around them.
With Change Seekers currently accounting for 17% of the U.S. workforce, an organization with a large percentage of non-committed employees is vulnerable to higher-than-necessary turnover costs that will negatively impact their bottom line. As the economy shows signs of improvement, new job opportunities will provide ChangeSeekers with exit opportunities. Rather than trying to convert their current Change Seekers, organizations should explore ways to prevent employees from becoming Change Seekers in the first place!
These are the employees who are unhappy with their jobs, but have no intention to leave. While they don't directly contribute to turnover costs, they may still drag down their organization's financial performance through lower productivity and, in many cases, by lowering the morale of others.
More than one-in-four employees in the U.S. (26%) fall into the category of Dissatisfied Compromisers and they likely make a major contribution to the estimated loss of $350 billion dollars a year through employee disengagement
What does the Loyalty Matrix mean from an HR perspective?
The primary implications of the Loyalty Matrix include:
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT?Employee engagement can best be summarized as a dynamic partnership in which employees bond with their organization and with one another through shared understanding and common purpose. In other words, engagement is a state in which employees are fully involved in their work - physically, cognitively, and emotionally.
In a highly engaged workplace, employees understand and agree with the company's strategic goals, are clear about how their work fits into making those goals a reality, are motivated to go beyond narrow job definitions to meet those goals and are confident that their efforts will be recognized and rewarded by their peers, managers and the organization as a whole.
At Insightlink, we see "engagement" and "job satisfaction" both playing important roles as thermometer scores. It is important to note that we see engagement as an aggregate measure distinct from job satisfaction. We use 15 individual attitude and rating measures in the calculation of an Employee Engagement Index. Because there is no clear decision on whether job satisfaction leads to engagement or if engagement leads to job satisfaction we do not include job satisfaction as one of these ratings.
The current level of Employee Engagement in the U.S.is just 66 on a 0-100 scale, which shows that there is some real room for improvement in this area:
Increasing the level of employee engagement in an organization can result in a number of important outcomes:
HOW SHOULD YOU DECIDE WHAT ACTION TO TAKE?As a framework for an effective diagnostic analysis of employee survey results, we use our proprietary 4s model of employee satisfaction and engagement. Each of the 4Cs - Commitment, Culture, Communications and Compensation - make an important contribution to t the job satisfaction and employee engagement.
The 4Cs work as a kind of ladder, similar to Maslow's Hierarchy, starting with Compensation as a necessary "hygiene" factor, rising up through Communications and Culture, then up to Commitment as the highest order factor:
For many of our 4Cs ratings, we ask both importance and performance and we highlight any gaps that are 20 points or greater, since these represent the areas that are most in need of attention. Based on Insightlink's most recent normative benchmark study, the largest gaps among U.S. employees in each of the 4Cs are as follows:
WHAT ARE THE MAIN DRIVERS OF JOB SATISFACTION IN THE U.S.?In addition to examining the size of the gaps between importance and performance across each of the 4Cs, it is also possible to determine which employee attitudes and opinions have the most powerful impact on job satisfaction - these are what we call the drivers of job satisfaction.
Among American employees as a whole, the most important drivers of job satisfaction currently are:
To answer this question, each driver is classified into one of three groups:
Equities (High contribution and high performance)
WHERE DO I START IN MY ORGANIZATION?The best place to start is to collect the "thermometer" measures that we believe are so important to determining the health of your human capital. In addition to collecting the appropriate survey data, review other key indicators of organizational success, including performance reviews, retention data, exit interview results and measures of productivity.
It is also important to talk directly to your employees - ask them what they like most about working for your organization and what they like least about working there. Begin compiling your organization's equities, opportunities and weaknesses and, while you are doing that, look at what other organizations do well.
Based on our work with many different organizations of many different sizes and across many different industries, the primary weaknesses or gaps contributing to low levels of job satisfaction and engagement include:
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?Based on Insightlink's benchmark norms among all U.S. employees, taking direct action to improve communications, to increase employee recognition in meaningful ways, to manage how much is expected of employees, to address perceived inequities in compensation and to reinforce the organization's mission/vision/values will help raise overall job satisfaction and reduce turnover, leading to a more engaged and committed workforce within organizations throughout the U.S.
If you are ready to start making effective change within your organization, an Insightlink 4Cs employee survey can help. Contact us at 1-866-802-8095 ext. 705 to get more information or visit our website at www.insightlink.com.