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Why Employee Engagement Programs Fail

These days, the benefits of employee engagement are undeniable: Organizations benefit because employee engagement has been proven to impact business metrics such as voluntary turnover, productivity, and profitability.  Managers benefit because it provides them with a framework for how to effectively operate (for example, highlighting whether employees understand their goals and accountabilities, have the information they need, or feel appreciated). Employees benefit from employee engagement because their feedback leads to positive change and a rewarding work environment.



Unfortunately, some employee engagement programs fail to yield the benefits listed above. If you’re tired of wasting time, energy, and money on an employee engagement program that’s failing, or if you’re designing your organization’s first employee engagement program, avoid these common factors in failing employee engagement programs:


1. No one understands the purpose and strategy.

What is the purpose of your employee engagement program? The very best organizations know it’s not just a survey. Nor is it a score. And it’s definitely not a "check-the-box," "because-every-other-organization-is-doing-it" activity. Whether it’s to create a culture that attracts and retains the most talented people, to consistently deliver an impeccable customer experience, or to empower managers to be more effective, your employee engagement survey should have a clearly defined purpose and strategy, and everyone in the organization should know it.


2. It’s positioned as an HR initiative.

Launching an employee engagement survey does take preparation, and this often falls to HR. That’s OK. HR often provides employee engagement resources and coaching; that’s OK, too. Ultimately, though, employee engagement is created and sustained by every team in the organization, and every team needs to feel responsible for it. When HR’s role in employee engagement is over-emphasized, the rest of the organization doesn't pay attention or take action.


3. Accountability isn’t clear.

To follow up failure #2: When it comes to your employee engagement program, what role do leaders, managers, and employees play? If no one in the organization knows what is expected of them in regards to your employee engagement program, it’s unfair to expect time, participation, action, progress, or monetary investment. Make sure everyone is clear on their role, expectations, deadlines, and what’s next (not just during the survey, but throughout the year).


4. Too much emphasis is put on the survey.

A survey, whether it’s a census or pulse survey, is simply the measurement component of an employee engagement program. Yes, communicating about the survey is important in order for employees to know when and how they can participate. However, a great employee engagement program is ongoing throughout the year. Don’t let your internal communications stop after the survey closes; that’s when the real work takes place. Instead, highlight teams with best practices to share, mention decisions or changes that are a result of employee feedback, and continue to emphasize why employee engagement is important to your organization.


This Engagement Studio video will help you effectively share your results and make an action plan.


5. The timing of the employee engagement survey is inconsistent.

Quantum Workplace recommends an annual census employee engagement survey because our research confirms that gains from a consistent, annual survey process are bigger and faster than less frequent surveying. Plenty of organizations may supplement this with planned or on-demand pulse surveys, too. Delaying the annual engagement survey — or worse, discontinuing it — because of budget cuts, organizational changes, fear of unfavorable feedback, or a variety of other excuses signals to employees that your employee engagement program is not a priority.


6. Managers don’t know what to do next.

Managers play a critical role in employee engagement. They're supposed to receive the team’s feedback collected in the survey, discuss the survey results with the team, and initiate action within the team to continuously improve engagement. But how? An online toolset can make things like setting and tracking team goals, preparing for 1-on-1 meetings with employees, and asking for feedback easy, thus helping them effectively and efficiently drive engagement.


Have you fallen victim to one or more of these common reasons why an employee engagement program fails? Don’t worry, Quantum Workplace can help get you back on track. See for yourself today!


Employee Engagement Software Built for Managers


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