Sometime this year, your organization will probably conduct an employee survey. The survey might indicate that you need to:
- Connect people to the organization’s vision.
- Increase trust with employees.
- Communicate more effectively.
These are “thermometer solutions.” Not unlike telling someone with a fever to take two aspirin when the underlying cause of the fever is pneumonia. Taking two aspirin may eliminate the symptom of fever, but it does not address the pneumonia.
Increasing engagement requires engagement. This means going beyond the symptoms identified in your most recent survey. It calls for having meaningful conversations with people who responded to the survey. If you are worried about sharing bad news, don’t worry. They already know the bad news. They live it every day. If you are ready to go beyond thinking about engaging employees and instead actually engage employees, here are four conversations that generate engagement:
- Share the data with people in your organization. Ask them what the data means, why did you respond the way you did, and what they have energy for changing. Engagement increases when people are able to make sense of the data, and then have a voice in developing the future.
- Help people make sense of your organization’s vision by sharing why the vision is important to you and why you are willing to put time and energy behind making the vision a reality. Ask what parts of the vision make sense to them and what parts don’t. Uncover what they have energy for pursuing.
- Increase trust by listening and using straight talk. Do what you say you are going to do. As a result, you become reliable over time. Trust increases when people can count on you.
- Increase communication by trying to see the world from the other person’s point of view. Make a concerted effort to see the world through their eyes and let new insights emerge.
These conversations will lead to insights that will then lead to action. Actions not apparent when you first received your survey report. When you take the time to engage people and together decide what to do, engagement will increase.