By Elliot H. Clark
I can remember as a young geek watching episodes of the science fiction series Star Trek. Captain Kirk and his series successor Captain Picard would gesture with their hands and say the word “engage,” and the warp engines would magically whisk the starship to light-speed. Unfortunately for HR professionals—who are not in the Starfleet—we have to deal with warp engines made of people. We have talked so much about talent acquisition the past few years, but now, as the labour markets heat up, organisations need to be laser-focused on retention and engagement. Most companies already are. But how are industry providers of engagement surveys and consulting services faring? This year, HRO Today Global will launch a Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction survey for Employee Engagement Survey Services to find out just that.
Employee engagement is one of the most esoteric areas of HR and one of the most important. It is similar to the search for perfection and organisations will not achieve good outcomes without moving the bar further. It is like the old religious paradox: Is God so powerful that he/she can create a rock that even God cannot lift? The answer is yes— create the rock then will more power to lift it. This way, the clergy even got the Lord on a treadmill of constant striving that requires at least one day a week of personal time to recover from. I do not know a single CHRO who is not focused on employee engagement or who is completely happy with their result. Even if someone ever got a 100 per cent rating, HR would re-evaluate the process because they couldn’t accept the possibility of a perfect result.
While a few firms with good organisational development psychologists try to do their survey processes internally, the reality is that most want the objectivity of an outside firm not influenced by their own opinions as employees. Almost all survey processes examine the same elements of internal relationship building, first-line supervisor relationship, executive trust, and belief in the company mission. Many use iterations of Mayflower survey items going back decades. What distinguishes the services of one company from another is their ability to have a consultative approach, digest and interpret the data, and give HR and executive leadership clear goals to improve engagement. We all know an engaged workforce is more productive and more stable than an unengaged workforce.
We do the Baker’s Dozen series to help you choose the best solution providers for your challenges as HR leaders. So, we ask that you do a favor for your colleagues all over the world and participate in our Baker’s Dozen survey. Watch for the link to the survey in March and rate the service of your engagement survey makers. Your feedback will be combined with that of other customers of the same provider to create an index of customer satisfaction. Please help us help the HR community in this highly important area of service.
We understand the impact of engaged employees. For example, a positive candidate experience during the talent acquisition process is linked to employee engagement for at least the first year of employee tenure. A bad initial experience may cause an employee to leave earlier than expected. People live their lives in an unbroken stream of experience regardless of how we structure the siloes of HR, and one set of perceptions impacts all future perceptions. Yes, I have read Marcel Proust, but I admitted to being a geek above, so no snarky comments please.
So, we look forward to your contributions to our survey, and who knows, when the Starship Human Resources of the future hears the word “engage,” perhaps the crew will respond: We’re already there, Captain.