Tag Archives: Employee Survey

Webinar on Re-Engage

24 Jan

I recently conducted a webinar with Quantum Workplace on some of the main elements of our research into employee engagement. I talk about some important trends we see that you need to pay attention to and manage:

  • Employee engagement in difficult times,
  • The impact of generational diversity on employee engagement,
  • How organizational size impacts employee engagement,
  • Whether senior leaders can influence engagement, and
  • The changing role of employee benefits in creating a great workplace.

Defining Employee Engagement Continued

9 Mar


In an earlier post I offered my defintion of employee engagement. Researchers at Hewitt have arrived at a similar conclusion. Findings reported in Business Standard indicate they see three behaviors:

Engaged employees stay — they have an intense desire to be a member of the organisation; say — they are passionate advocates for their workplace and speak positively about the organisation to co-workers, potential employees and customers; and strive — they go beyond what is minimally required to produce extraordinary service and results for customers and colleagues.

Look at this example of how P&G employees act like an owner of the company, treating the company’s assets as their own. During a period of heavy rain which had caused severe flooding, the government declared a holiday for all its offices, but a lot of P&G material was awaiting clearance at the customs office. The plant engineer had valid reasons to wait for a day, but he took the initiative: He braved the rains to pick up a customs official from his house and took him to his office to authorise its clearance. He then made sure that all the raw materials were delivered to the plant on the same day. As a result, the production lines didn’t have to stop.

Would your employees go to such lengths to help your business achieve its goals? If the answer is yes, you have done your job as an employer. If not, take the Kelly survey seriously before it’s too late.

I think we’re getting some consensus around this idea of employee engagement– that’s good. More importantly, we’re hearing examples, such the one cited above, of specific behavior we can clearly observe that shows us when employees are engaged. Would love to hear your stories of engagement and disengagement.

Graphic courtesy www.lumaxart.com

Employee Engagement And Well Being– Two Sides Of The Same Coin

26 Feb

Consultant News has published a research study by Hewitt that shows yet additional evidence that well being and employee engagment may be two sides of the same coin– very much linked together:

“Research carried out in conjunction with the 2009 Best Employers in Canada study has established that highly engaged employees experience better health and overall well-being. This finding reinforces the benefits for both employers and employees of increasing employee engagement, according to Hewitt Associates, the global human resources consulting and outsourcing company that conducts the annual study.

“The 115,000 employees surveyed as part of the 2009 study clearly revealed that high engagement goes hand-in-hand with better health and well-being,” said Neil Crawford, leader of Hewitt’s Best Employers in Canada study. “Employees at organizations with high engagement reported better physical health, lower job stress and work overload, and greater financial security. In addition, they also believe that their employer’s benefits plan contributes to their overall well-being, although there is room for improvement with respect to retirement savings programs.”

I read of the governmental plans to “reform” our health care, which is all fine and well. But perhaps the most important reform we can make would be to create better workplaces which, amongst other things, cares about the health and well being of employees. According to this study this may be, as they say, exactly what the doctor ordered.

“Happy Hospitals Make Happy Patients”…

11 Feb


… Or says a study recently published in Science Daily. The research, conducted by University of Michigan Professor John Griffith, concludes:

In a newly published report, Griffith examined the attributes of 34 community hospitals in nine states that have earned the Health Care Sector Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a nationally recognized quality benchmark for various industries.

Griffith’s findings suggest that the single-biggest factor in patient satisfaction is hospital employee morale, which starts with outside-the-box thinking at the very top management levels.

These community hospitals had the happiest patients and caregivers, but only because these hospitals departed radically from traditional hospital management, Griffith says.

My co-author Leigh Branham and I conducted a study of the employee engagement in over 100 hospitals, and came to the same conclusion– there is a direct link between employee engagement  and patient satisfaction. Moreover, employee at hospitals with very low engagement results were far more likely to report patient safety and other complaince-related problems, something no hospital wants. Perhaps one way to deal with our health care crisis is to create more engaged workplaces like these honored today.

Think You Know What Your Employees Are Thinking Right Now? Think Again.

9 Feb


Salary.Com Inc. has conducted a survey of employee and employer perceptions about employee job satisfaction and intent-to-stay. The study, reviewed at Occupational Safety & Health Online reports:

According to the survey, employee satisfaction levels are often overestimated by employers. A set of questions new to this year’s survey found that the current economic climate was less of a deterrent to job seeking than employers anticipated, while variables such as income, job level, industry and age remained consistent factors that affect job satisfaction year-over-year.

Key data points:

• Overall, the survey showed that 65 percent of employees are at least somewhat satisfied in their jobs while employers estimated that figure to be 77 percent. 
• Approximately 65 percent of employees admitted to passively or actively looking for a new job, compared to employers’ estimate of 37 percent. 
• While employers have a good sense of overall employee satisfaction, they often overestimate the degree of extremely satisfied employees nearly 2 to 1. 
• The levels of satisfaction among employees surveyed varied by job level and salary. Not surprisingly, the results of the survey suggest there is a direct link between pay and satisfaction — the higher the salary and job level, the greater the number of extremely satisfied employees. 
• Age affects job satisfaction — millennials report the lowest job satisfaction.

Perhaps this study doesn’t shock you, but it does reveal an important insight that should call us to action–the best way to find about how employees are feeling is to ask them. We need to do a much better job of listening, really hearing, what our associates are feeling right now.

“Using Integrity to Repair Trust”

8 Feb


That was the headline of an excellent article in my hometown newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald. The article reported on a conference called “Aiming Higher”, sponsored by the Greater Omaha (Nebraska, USA) Business Ethics Alliance. The conference brought community leaders and students together to discuss this topic. The article quotes Creighton University professor Beverly Kracher as to why a conference like this is important:

“Everybody seems to lack trust in business as a whole,” Kracher said. “One of the ways to repair that trust is for the public to have good examples. These examples are so powerful they help us all learn.”

This topic of business ethics is particularly important to me this weekend, and I just learned that someone I care about deeply has been affected by the Bernard Madoff scandal. My heart just sank at this news. That sad story has now become quite personal. I am even more upset that his actions have affected how all of us view business and leadership.

Trust in our leaders in many quarters, sadly, has eroded. The hope, from my point of view, is that not all is lost. Our studies of highly engaged workplaces shows that employers with outstanding engagement survey results still present high “Trust In Senior Leaders” ratings. Truth- telling, employee engagement and success in business go hand-in-hand. I think it incumbent on those of who are passionate about great workplaces to continue open dialogue about this topic. The scars of Madoff will not easily be healed– it’s up to us to make that happen.

For excerpts from the Omaha World-Herald of interviews from leaders who participated in this event, Click Here. The full interviews, along with additional information on this topic, can be found at the Business Ethics Alliance web site.

The ROI of Employee Engagement

5 Feb
Yet another study showing that more engaged employers enjoy financial rewards was reported by the web site Knowledge @ Wharton. The paper, which is available to download, reports:

In a paper titled, “Does the Stock Market Fully Value Intangibles? Employee Satisfaction and Equity Prices,” (Wharton finance professor Alex) Edmans examines the stock returns of companies with high employee satisfaction and compares them to various benchmarks — the broader market, peer firms in the same industry, and companies with similar characteristics. His research indicates that firms cited as good places to work earn returns that are more than double those of the overall market.

Companies on Fortune magazine’s annual list of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” between 1998 and 2005 returned 14% per year, compared to 6% a year for the overall market, according to Edmans. The results also hold up using an earlier version of the survey that dates back to 1984. “One might think this is an obvious relationship — that you don’t need to do a study showing that if workers are happy, the company performs better. But actually, it’s not that obvious,” says Edmans. “Traditional management theory treats workers like any other input — get as much out of them as possible and pay them as little as you can get away with.”

This study corroborates our own research, as well as twenty-seven other studies we’ve collected over the years for our book Lucky To Work Here. If you would like a copy of a bibliography of those studies, please email at markhirschfeld@gmail.com— I’d be happy to send it to you.

The evidence is now clear– there is a business imperative to creating a more engaged workplaces. Let’s get to work!

Engaged Employees Less Worried About Personal Financial Future

3 Feb
A study out today, published by CNNMoney.Com reports that employees who are more enagaed at work have generally less anxiety about their own financial future. The authors of the report state:
This research certainly complements the studies we’ve been conducting of employee engagement in the midst of this economic crisis. Employees are very concerned, which is showing in their overall engagement.

In a survey of employee opinions, the Kenexa Research Institute (KRI) investigated the extent to which the current economic conditions cause workers to worry about their personal financial well-being as well as intentions to delay or cancel anticipated purchases. Additionally, workers in the United States were asked about their feelings toward organizational leadership and the effectiveness of business processes at work.

Results indicate employees’ feelings about their own personal financial well-being are strongly influenced by their experiences at work. Not surprisingly, an important factor influencing how employees feel about work is how effectively they feel their organizations are being led.

Workers who have unfavorable views of their leadership are much more likely to report being worried about their personal financial situation, which was found to be strongly related to stated purchasing intentions. Specifically, employees who rate their leadership unfavorably are much more likely to express concern regarding their personal financial situation compared to those who have favorable views of their leadership’s effectiveness. In addition, those who rate their leadership unfavorably are twice as likely to state that they are delaying current purchases.

This certainly complements the research we’ve conducted about employee engagement in the midst of these difficult economic times. Please review our report Beating the Bear Market with Engaged Employees

The Three Year Itch

1 Feb

We’ve all heard about the seven-year itch, right? I’ve noticed a trend with several employee engagement surveys I’ve recently reviewed, where the itch starts a bit earlier.

What I’ve often noticed is that employee engagement is solid for new employees and is good once employees have been with the organization for five or more years. But there is a dip in the two to four year tenure, where employees appear to be getting the “itch”, less engaged and committed to their employer.

With one company the “itch” started because many employees in that tenure group didn’t see career opportunities. In another employer the dip was related to less support received after the first year filled with lots of training and support. In another the problem was an internal posting process that made it difficult for employees to move across company “stove pipes”.


  • Do our 2-4 year tenure employees shows signs of the “itch”?
  • If so, what we can do to re-engage them?
  • Are there internal obstacles we must address that will help us maintain high levels of engagement with this group?

The Economy and Employee Engagement

31 Jan

This image is such a sad but accurate view of how many of our employees feel right now.

Let’s imagine for a moment that we’ve had a layoff. Jobs eliminated. Severance checks issued. Outplacement services offered. Unemployment insurance forms completed.

The next day, some of our associates will return to work– is this the image they will see? Not literally, of course, but do they see weeds and cracks and tattered signs? Our research indicates that is just how many employees feel, and those feelings are leading to significant drops in employee engagement.

Although these feelings are perfectly natural, we nonetheless need to find ways to address them. The research that Leigh Branham and I have done, in partnership with Quantum Workplace, offers five key ways you can do that right now. Check out my page “Beating The Bear Market”… for an article and link to a free webinar.