Beyond the numbers – what makes employee engagement surveys valuable?

By: Steve Winton, Ph.D. – Director of the Leadership & Organizational Development graduate program at Saint Louis University

You have just been handed your team’s results from your company’s annual employee engagement survey.  You quickly note from the executive summary that employees on your team are incredibly engaged – 86% absolutely love their job. Your team isn’t just satisfied with their jobs, but enthusiastic about it – they get up in the morning and are ready to work! This is a big improvement from last year’s 75%, so you’re thrilled, right?

If you’re like many of the leaders I’ve had the pleasure of working with – the answer is probably no.  In my experience the very leaders who routinely get the best results are also the ones who believe there is always room for improvement. They are also the first to turn the page, dig into the results, and involve their team to act.  They know that an engagement survey’s real value is in the process – they work with their team to understand what “levers” can be pulled to ultimately improve their team (e.g., communication, teamwork, accountability, recognition). It is no coincidence that their teams are also the most productive – they have employees who routinely speak up in meetings, test new ideas, help others, take initiative, and engage in constructive change.  I should also note that research on the topic supports my anecdotal evidence – a truly engaged workforce is happier AND more productive!

Perhaps you are someone who is interested in better understanding these “levers”. With a strong applied focus, SLU’s M.A. in Leadership and Organizational Development (LOD) Program can help you hone your leadership skills as you consider not only what workplace interventions to leverage (e.g., build the trust and autonomy of your team), but how you might implement them (e.g., organizational development approach to change).

For more information on the Leadership & Organizational Development Master’s program at Saint Louis University, visit the SLU for Busy Adults website. Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2014. Learn about the application and admissions process.

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