With the almost incessant buzz around the term “Employee engagement” over the past few years, everyone knows how important it is for employees to feel a deep connection to the work they do. While many businesses rely on employee satisfaction surveys to signal how likely staff members are to stay, these so-called indicators of “Engagement” are far from the end-all, be-all they’re chalked up to be. It’s not that employee engagement surveys are useless – you may have seen firsthand how well-designed surveys can help predict behavior, diagnose culture issues, provide a forum for feedback and even plant expectations for behavioral changes you’d like to see. Let’s say you do design a clear survey and people respond and they answer honestly: Most surveys still don’t provide a clear sense of “What’s next.” For example, while Kansas State University research shows the benefits of having a friend at work, if your survey came back saying that many of your employees didn’t have friends in the office, would you know how to help them make a change? Probably not. If you’re not taking the time to both listen to your employees and provide opportunities for your employees to listen to each other, there’s a whole lot you’re going to miss. That sounds great and all, but how do you do it? As the founder and CEO of a platform for workplace engagement, I’ve spent a great deal of time talking with HR executives and employees to understand how people build communities and what leaders can do to foster those connections. First, paired with employee surveys, regular one-on-ones with your employees are an excellent tool to both diagnose your company’s culture and provide an opportunity to get to know your employees.
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