It's been a varied conference with quite a bit of input from Engage for Success (David Macleod and Nita Clarke presenting once again), quite a bit on values and a fair amount on surveys. For example Geoffrey Matthews who has just written a book on engagement with Linda Holbeche, 'Engaged' presented 10 warning signs to avoid engagement surveys being a bottleneck vs breakthrough. You can see these described in an article at HR Review, managed by the Symposium people.
I don't disagree with any of these 10 points but I still think it's the design of engagement surveys which is key. That's particularly the case as it becomes easier to understand engagement levels on an ongoing basis through semantic analysis of enterprise social network conversations, or through simple mobile tools like Joel Cheesman's Morale.Me, or other oil technologies like Thymo Metrics (I came across today).
I've already blogged quite a bit on formal engagement surveys and suggested the most important requirement (which I think becomes more important as other informal tools become more popular) is the linking of satisfaction and engagement, i.e. activity and outcome. However I've also suggested that we should actually broaden out from engagement into other areas of organisational capability, e.g. things like confidence too.
Increasingly however, I've become convinced that a major key to engagement, and therefore to engagement surveys too, is to tailor the outcomes i.e. the type of engagement we're asking about to the specific capabilities of the organisation. I posted about the importance of this in terms of raising engagement yesterday (point #2) but didn't develop the argument through to discussing engagement surveys.
It means that if a company's key capability is about innovation, it's outcome questions about engagement need to include the standard stuff about retention and advocacy but should also focus in on generation of ideas, participation in innovation processes, quality of weak ties etc. If the capability is about speed of execution, the engagement questions should focus on speed of response, flexibility, focus on priorities etc.
To me, it's this tailoring of engagement surveys which is, or should be, our greatest priority currently (in terms of survey. And I do agree with Geoffrey that it's what comes after the survey that's important. But a well designed, insightful survey starts those actions off much more effectively than can otherwise be the case.)
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