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Assess Employee Engagement as Frequently as Your Finances

By Lisa Sterling, Chief People Officer, Ceridian

According to research conducted by Gallup, about a quarter of employees worldwide are actively disengaged – and actually outnumber those who are engaged. And the people responsible for managing them are, at least in part, to blame for this disengagement.

In years past, engagement was a measurement HR leaders looked at once – maybe twice – a year after the completion of a lengthy survey. In today’s world of work, these annual or bi-annual measurements no longer fit, and can even hinder true engagement from being achieved.  

Today’s measurements are ineffective

Today’s workforce is made up of diverse individuals of different generations, employment types, education levels, experience, and expectations. These differences that make us unique and create our culture are also changing the way organizations operate. The number of freelancers and remote workers is on the rise; performance is becoming more results-based. As a business leader you may be asking yourself, is the once-a-year engagement survey really adding value? Will adding another survey help? Will purchasing a tool to facilitate continuous feedback solve our problem? Are we even asking the right questions of our people?

Of course there are a wide variety of technology solutions out there that help both with fueling and evaluating engagement. But here’s the problem: not enough companies are ready to make a significant change quite yet.

To get there, organizations must start with their People or HR department. Implement adjustments to ready employees to receive real-time and continuous feedback. The reality is, our people not only desire it, they expect it.

How to make the change

To successfully transform the engagement experience, the shift needs to be embraced by every individual, and leader throughout the organization. There needs to be a constant and continuous assessment of progress. You should be reviewing your engagement as frequently as you review your business metrics. And, employees need to feel empowered and know how the issues they are bringing up are actually going to be addressed.

To help this along, here are a few things people leaders can do:

  • Conduct regular, ongoing conversations with your team members.
  • Implement a monthly “coffee talk” or other experience allowing people to give immediate feedback.
  • Make employees feel their ideas and feedback are not only heard, but valued and appreciated.
  • Cultivate a culture of immediate action. Once a dialogue has started with an individual, it’s crucial to ensure you deliver on any follow-up steps as soon as possible. Employees can quickly become discouraged and disengaged if they feel like their concerns and input are falling on deaf ears.

If you want to significantly improve the engagement of your organization, it is imperative to adopt a new system of thinking on how to measure and assess it. To better position your company to embrace real-time feedback and ongoing conversations, and the technologies that make these operations seamless, all business leaders need to be on the same page.

At Ceridian, we have started conducting engagement surveys at least once every quarter. On top of the traditional metrics, we added a behavior change index and a Leadership Effectiveness index so every leader in the company has a leadership effectiveness score they are measured against. In addition, Ceridian gives reports on quarterly all-hands calls on the steps being taken to improve key priorities identified in the surveys. Gone are our days of an annual census survey.

By holding ourselves accountable and constantly looking for opportunities to improve how we view and measure engagement, we are able to enhance our ability to optimize our employees’ experiences.

lisa-sterling-3As EVP and Chief People Officer for Ceridian, Lisa has a dual responsibility for Ceridian’s overall global people and HR strategies as well as overseeing the product vision and strategy for Dayforce Talent Management.

Prior to joining Ceridian, Lisa served as a Partner and Technology Solutions Leader for Mercer’s Talent Solutions business. Lisa also served in both a product and people strategist role at Ultimate Software as Head of People Engagement. As a Partner at Kenexa – an IBM company – she led the design and deployment efforts of the organization’s performance, succession and career development solution. She’s currently a Human Capital Executive Research Board Member and sought after speaker on various talent management topics.

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