Feb 7, 2018 12:00:00 PM

How to Increase Profit from Employee Engagement Surveys

Do you ever suspect that the surveys your company uses to measure employee satisfaction and engagement are getting things badly wrong? Do HR initiatives based on these surveys fail to deliver results? If so, you may have a big problem.

Why It Pays to Know What Employees Really Think

There’s plenty of evidence showing that companies with satisfied and engaged employees outperform their competitors. Successive Gallup studies, for example, have demonstrated a clear connection between employee engagement and a range of performance outcomes, including customer ratings, profitability and productivity.

Savvy HR leaders understand that engagement improves productivity, turning employees from costs into assets that generate revenue for the business. That’s why organisations spend millions on employee surveys, and then pour millions more into programmes intended to boost engagement.

Low Employee Engagement and Inaccurate Data

Yet in the words of one commentator, engagement scores ‘remain abysmally low’. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Jacob Morgan argues that this is because most engagement initiatives amount to a quick fix, not a long-term effort to transform the employee experience. He’s right, of course. But there is another reason why engagement programmes don’t work: the survey scores driving them are just not accurate. As a result, efforts to improve the quality of employees’ work life are often misguided. In some cases, they even make matters worse.

Not All Employee Surveys are the Same

When it comes to driving employee engagement, some factors carry more weight than others. Research shows, for example, that for many employees the quality of workplace leadership matters more than pay and benefits. Most employee surveys fail to recognise this and give all factors equal weighting.

“The fundamental mistake comes from the fact that human performance is not such a simple phenomenon that it can be analysed by statistical methods,” says Marko Kesti, Adjunct Professor, HRM-Performance at the University of Lapland.

“Employee survey analyses using mean and average values or correlations are over-simplified and can be harmful for organisation performance development,” he adds.

Quality of Work Life - An Unparalleled Approach to Increasing Profits

Drawing on cutting edge research, Professor Kesti and VibeCatch have developed the Quality of Work Life (QWL) survey method. This doesn’t just highlight areas of dissatisfaction. It also identifies development needs and guides improvement efforts so that they have a real impact on the bottom line.

If a survey finds that employees feel they don’t have enough autonomy, for example, development should be targeted at supervisors. If they learn how to empower team members to make their own decisions, employee engagement will rise. That will increase productivity and revenue, as employees apply their ideas and knowledge to their work. And more revenue with the same fixed costs adds up to more profits.

15 Questions to Unlock Your Human Capital Potential

The QWL method gives a reliable picture of an organisation’s development needs by factoring in the different variables that influence not only employees’ job satisfaction but also their performance.

The QWL survey itself consists of just fifteen questions focusing on:

  • Factors that cause dissatisfaction at work and therefore tend to undermine productivity
  • Factors related to team spirit and cohesion that may increase employees’ productivity – but also decrease it
  • Factors that most affect productivity by relating to individual employees’ aspirations to achieve objectives and use their creativity
  • An employee’s productivity is the sum of these three dimensions.

The short QWL online survey can be customised to the needs of your business and collect anonymous feedback from employees on a monthly or even a weekly basis. An online toolkit from VibeCatch then analyses this feedback and gives recommendation for immediate action. You will then be able to spot issues fast before they escalate into real problems and design HR interventions that deliver real performance improvements, turning employees from costs into valuable assets.

To find out more about the Quality of Work Life approach or see how VibeCatch can unlock your human capital potential book an online demo with us.

Employee Surveys Quality of Work Life employee engagement Human Capital Management

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Posted by Juha Huttunen

CEO of VibeCatch. A serial entrepreneur, technology enthusiast and geek with 15+ years of experience in startups, sales, leadership and growing business.

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