Thursday, 2 April 2009

Engagement surveys: the next generation. Survey your human capital (*)


     In my last post, I provided some advice on surveying the engagement of your workforce.  But why stop there?  What's so magical about engagement which means this is the only thing you think about surveying, when human capital consists of so much more?  As I've described, engagement is just one bucket inside the bigger bucket of human capital.  And this itself is contained within the even bigger bucket of organisational capability (human + organisation + social capital).  So why not survey these?


What's in your bucket?

The first step is still to decide what you need to put in your bucket.

To do this, you need to think about the organisational capability you need to create value for your business - for instance a coaching culture (as a topical example).

(In reality, this is a bit more complicated than I've just described it of course.)


Or less ambitiously, you could think about the human and organisational resources you require to add value to specific, short-term business goals.


Beyond engagement

The second step is to think about what measures you can take to help you understand the development of these outcome?  Some of these measures can be provided by the use of employee surveys, and some through other things (eg management information systems for absence, turnover etc; exit interviews; joiner interviews; turn-down feedback; 360 degree feedback; performance rating distributions etc).  But if you follow this process, I bet you'll end up with questions you want to ask your employees that go beyond engagement outcomes into other things.  For example:


Human capital

  • Demographics (for diversity)
  • Health
  • Capability
  • Quality of output
  • Utilisation
  • Productivity


Organisation capital

  • Fitness for purpose
  • Changeability


Social capital

  • Connections internally and externally
  • Level of support
  • Nature of conversations



Link back to activities

The third step is to identify measures for the activities you are undertaking to try and achieve the agreed outcomes.  Some of these measures can also be informed using the employee survey and in the same way that outcome questions will extend beyond engagement, these activity questions will extend beyond satisfaction to include employees' perspectives on different aspects of human, organisation and social capital.



* = I'm not calling people human capital.  I'm saying you should survey your people ABOUT human capital.



Photo credit: Pilaf 




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