Road trips are a fairly common occurrence in our family. Whether driving to an out-of-town hockey tournament or to visit relatives in North Dakota, the contentment of my passengers is always a top priority. (Nothing spells road-trip disaster like a backseat full of quarrelling kids. Trust me.)
Keeping everyone happy is always a good idea, right? After all, it’s certainly one I’ve embraced as a managing partner. But, over the past year, my thinking has changed: I’ve learned that, when it comes to employees, happiness—or satisfaction—may just not be enough.
Let me back up a bit: Last year, when we decided to rework our annual employee survey, we contacted Dr. Steve Johnson, CPA, CITP, of Canopy Consulting Group, LLC. Through Steve, we learned that satisfaction alone isn’t enough keep someone excited about coming to work each day; however, someone who is engaged in their job is more likely to stick around.
Steve’s proprietary survey tool not only measured employee engagement but also identified drivers of employee engagement and satisfaction throughout the firm. Plus, his survey process provided us with segmented data—along with a statistical analysis—that enabled us to take a targeted approach to improving employee engagement.
During the first survey we conducted in 2013, Steve found a strong driver of employee engagement within our firm centered on the statement “I believe I make a difference at work.”
So we honed in on learning what that meant to employees. Our HR director did focus groups. We included it as an agenda item in our 120-day partner meetings, as well as in meetings with staff. When we saw people making a difference in our organization, we made sure to point it out. We believed we could make strides within a year.
And we were right.
This year’s employee survey responses relating to “I believe I make a difference at work” were drastically higher—indicating a nearly 40% uptick in employee engagement. And now, thanks to Steve, we have a new driver to focus on in 2014: “My job takes advantage of my strengths and abilities.” So far it’s led to some great conversation, and it’s challenged us to help our employees get to where they want to be.
What about you? We’d love to hear what you’re doing to keep your staff engaged. Leave your reply in the comments section below.