2 key factors why employee engagement initiatives fail

Revitalizing your workforce takes more than an annual survey or questionnaire. Instead, focus on selecting the right managers and equipping them to excel.

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Those that did used surveys with a meandering list of questions covering a multitude of topics. These surveys were too long and addressed many “satisfaction” or contentment issues that weren’t immediately actionable for organizations. The information that was actionable was difficult to find, because it was buried in a large set of survey data.

Advisory firms such as Gallup sought to crack the code of employee performance by studying which workplace elements were most predictive of business outcomes—such as profitability, productivity, employee turnover and customer perceptions of service.

Our research led us to 12 questions that formed an “employee engagement index” and soon became known as the Gallup Q12. This set of 12 survey items proved to be highly predictive of performance.

Workgroups with high Q12 scores outperform those with lower scores on every type of performance metric: revenue, profitability, productivity, customer experience, safety, health care costs, etc. Over time, other advisory firms came up with employee engagement metrics, too, and the “employee engagement movement” gathered strength. Companies of all sizes in almost every major global economy added an employee engagement initiative.

There is still work to be done, however.

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