6 clear strategies to improve low employee morale
Employee morale is a mixture of feelings, emotions, attitudes and perceptions that employees hold towards their work and their professional environment. Employees …
The first step to improving anything is to measure it, and employee engagement is no different.
Employee surveys can be a great way to help you measure engagement, but all too often, engagement isn’t improved.
Why is that?
It must be annoying for companies to have to spend so much time, money and resources on an initiative that doesn’t move the engagement needle. It’s also equally annoying for an employee to have invested their time and emotion in a survey that doesn’t change anything.
I want to try and explain what to do with employee survey results once you have them, so that we can start to improve this process. Right now, for most companies, the process seems broken.
Measuring engagement shouldn’t be a one-time thing. It really needs to be consistent, ideally every week. This will give you more of a real time picture of the engagement level on your team and will help you react before it’s too late. Our employee survey software helps you keep a constant pulse on your team with weekly survey questions and complete reports.
Conducting surveys less often will lead to skewed results, because of uncommon events like mergers, layoffs, etc.
The financial and emotional effects of disengagement are too serious to only be measuring once or twice a year, it needs to happen way more often.
According to research from Gallup, action planning after a survey has considerable effects on engagement. One of the questions that Gallup would ask on their Q12 survey was “Action plans from the last survey have had a positive impact on my workplace,” and what they found was:
Workgroups in the top quartile increased their employee engagement scores by an average of 10%. In contrast, workgroups in the lowest quartile on the action-planning item saw their engagement scores decrease by an average of 3%. So the groups that strongly agreed that their action plans had a positive impact showed significant increases in employee engagement levels.
Once the results are in, you’ll want to start action planning. This has to be a communal effort, and everyone needs to be involved.
Don’t leave employees in the dark, not only do they deserve to be included, but they have the best ideas on how to improve things.
A very important part of this process is making sure that employees are comfortable to be as open and honest as possible. It’s your job to remove any of that potential fear by explaining to them why you did the survey, what you want to achieve from the action plan, and how you want to help improve engagement.
Once this fear is removed and employees can feel comfortable saying what’s really on their mind, you can move on to step number two.
Now it’s time to explain to everyone how the survey went, even if the results aren’t amazing.
You can potentially do this team by team or company-wide, but it’s important that everyone is made aware of the results, and which questions got the lowest or highest responses.
Then, you can all start to discuss why the results might be the way that they are.
The most important thing in this step is to be as informal as possible. Avoid confusing buzzwords and technical jargon, just keep it real.
This is the fun part, where you can all brainstorm a few ideas on how to improve things. The one piece of advice that I would have for you is to focus on one or two key problem areas for improvement.
If you start focusing on too much at once, it will be much harder for you to track your success. Pick the 2 lowest things, and then brainstorm specifically on improving those.
Now that we have some ideas that we can run with, we can start testing one or two initiatives to improve engagement. If you have your own process for setting and measuring goals, that’s fine, but one that I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on is Objectives and Key Results (OKR’s), which is the way Google sets their goals.
I’ll probably write an entire post about OKR’s and why they’re amazing soon, but for now, this video explains OKR’s really well:
It basically comes down to setting measurable goals, communicating priorities to the team, and measuring impact.
Follow up regularly on your action plan to see if you need to make any changes and adjust. Check in with employees, and see if they would improve anything. You need to become obsessed with improving engagement through the action planning.
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