The Human Resource: Engagement, realistic expectations

Engagement and morale are on the decline and as a leader, you are wondering what is wrong with your employees. You may even decide to embark on an engagement survey so that you can learn what is wrong with the workforce.

Let me stop you right there and remind you that culture and morale start with the leaders of the organization and the behaviors and actions demonstrated by these leaders. Throughout your time as a business owner or organizational leader pause periodically and look in the mirror to ensure you are doing all you can before looking somewhere else for the root cause of the problem.

With that said, you want to make sure you have adequate training for your people leaders. They should be armed with clearly defined roles, authority, and empowerment to be successful in leading and managing the people on their staff. If you are doing everything you can to provide your people leaders with the tools, resources, and support for success and engagement is slipping, there may be a gap in the intended outcomes of your efforts and the impact on the workforce, and that is where the engagement survey can help you.

Understand what to expect in the engagement survey, as it can be a tool some employees use to just complain, or they say nothing but nice things because they fear you will find out who said what. Historically in my experience, you can expect four areas of negative feedback, regardless of your efforts to satisfy workforce needs in these areas. These four areas are (1) Compensation; (2) Communication; (3) Benefits; and (4) Career Growth. As you begin the data collection process you should fully anticipate dissatisfaction in these areas and prepare yourself for an appropriate reaction regardless of the time and financial resources expended in making your company the best place to work.

The last realistic expectation I want you to develop is the result of your engagement survey. Do not expect any change, improvement, or support in fixing the challenges identified if you do not plan to take any action based on the information you receive to address areas of concern. Finally, if you conduct a survey, fail to communicate the results, and fail to demonstrate any action related to the data collected, you can forget participation and honest feedback in any future surveys you promulgate to the workforce.

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About Warren Cook

Warren S. Cook is a co-founder of SymbianceHR and leads all client-consulting engagements. He is a human capital strategy management subject matter expert with more than 20 years of experience as a strategic business partner, project manager, and people leader across private and public sectors organizations. Warren is responsible for all client-consulting engagements from initial needs assessment and compliance review through delivery of customized complex human capital strategy solutions that meet the client's business goals. He has a proven track record of providing executive coaching and guidance to business leaders and human resource professionals at all levels including the C-Suite of Fortune 100 companies. Warren combines his human capital, project management, and business management experience with a philosophy of solving business challenges through the strategic implementation of policies, processes, and procedures to deliver sustainable solutions that demonstrate ROI, mitigate and manage risk, and empower organizational success. Warren is the author of “Applicant Interview Preparation – Practical Coaching for Today” and holds a bachelor of science degree in human resource management, a master’s of business administration in project management, and a master’s of science degree in industrial and organizational psychology. He is also a SHRM Certified Professional.

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