Imagine for a moment that you’re the executive in charge of delivering important feedback to department managers. Your company recently completed its annual employee satisfaction survey, which leadership used to identify issues and opportunities for improvement.
You alert some managers to specific concerns that need to be addressed. Others are commended for successes and asked to help turn their achievements into best practices other teams can replicate.
Now fast forward six months. It’s time for your midyear check-in, and you discover that not one of the managers has implemented a single suggestion or acted on requests for followup.
How did this happen? Most likely, the managers didn’t understand what it was you actually wanted them to do with the feedback they received.
It’s an all too common scenario, but one that can be easily prevented. The key is to work with a more sophisticated feedback model — one that analyzes the right things, at the right times, with a tangible plan for action.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the three essential elements of an effective employee engagement feedback model, and what you can do to start implementing them.
1. Measure the right metrics…
In the example above, the first mistake occurred when the organization decided to measure job satisfaction. This is a common error, but is also one that can have major ramifications for productivity. Why? Because employee satisfaction is not the same as employee engagement.
Employees can be content with their jobs and happy with their bosses, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re engaged or inspired to do their best work.
While compensation, benefits, and the work environment might keep someone satisfied, it’s the much bigger motivations that inspire people to do their best work. Being recognized for accomplishments, feeling a sense of achievement, and having plenty of opportunities for professional development all fall into the latter category.
By focusing solely on levels of satisfaction within the workplace, you miss out on the opportunities to discover what helps people find passion at work. And that’s when the real magic can happen: Research shows that inspired employees are 125% more productive than staff that’s merely satisfied.
2. At the right cadence…
While we’ve already covered this topic in detail, the primary takeaway bears repeating: Finding the right cadence for surveying employees is critical for building a successful employee engagement feedback model.
Based on 15five’s work with numerous companies gathering feedback from hundreds of thousands of employees, we can say definitively that an annual survey isn’t nearly enough. It’s virtually impossible to make any meaningful changes or lasting recommendations with information that will be quickly outdated.
If you want to get insights you can actually use, you’re going to need to ask for feedback on a quarterly basis.
3. In the right format.
It’s not just what and when you ask employees for feedback that matters. How you frame your survey process can also have a huge impact on whether or not it will lead to real change.
That’s where employee engagement feedback loops come in.
When you measure employee engagement on a quarterly basis, it’s much easier to analyze and act on the data quickly. Instead of once-a-year information overload, you can give managers bite-size chunks of feedback that are easy to understand.
After gathering feedback from employees, the first step is to extract several key insights. Then decide exactly what actions need to be taken and turn that information over to managers. Once they’ve had a chance to implement your suggestions, it’s time to measure engagement again and look for new opportunities. The result is a continuous loop of action and reaction. Each adjustment boosts engagement a little more, leading to big improvements over time.
If you’ve ever wondered why once-productive employees suddenly start to quit, or questioned what more you could be doing to help teams find more passion and purpose at work, this is the format you’ve been looking for.
Getting started with a feedback model for employee engagement
The sooner you start using the method outlined above to measure employee engagement, the faster you’ll start to see better business results. To recap, here’s how to fine-tune your employee engagement feedback model:
1. Start by collecting the right data. By measuring employee engagement, you’ll have the insights you need to provide actionable guidance. To ensure the feedback you receive is accurate, use a tool that allows employees to provide open and honest feedback without fear of consequence.
2. Keep it consistent. Avoid the temptation to let your schedule slide. Keeping a regular, quarterly cadence is essential if you want to see the kind of information that will allow you to start increasing engagement, productivity, and profits.
3. And lastly, create a plan of action. Your managers will need clear and simple direction on what they could (or should) be doing differently. By continuously measuring engagement, you can let them see the results of their efforts and encourage them to continue making adjustments as needed.