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Want to Engage Your Employees? Start with a Survey!

For many leaders, there is never enough time to engage with each and every one of your employees. So if you don't get that time, how do you:

  • Help employees see directly how their work contributes to your organization's mission?
  • Involve employees in decision making?
  • Help them grow and develop in ways that will contribute to agency mission and goals?

What might possibly work for you is a process model for measuring and improving employee engagement. Yes, an engagement survey!

Employee Engagement Process Model

From the ICMA publication, Leveraging the Power of Employee Engagement, the chart on the right depicts an employee engagement process model with five steps:

  1. Plan the engagement survey,
  2. Conduct the survey,
  3. Report and analyze the results,
  4. Take action on the results to maintain strengths and improve on weaknesses, and
  5. Sustain improved engagement over time, including resurveying.

This five-step process model may appear simplistic. However, done right, implementing the process model can produce powerful results in the form of improved employee and organization performance. The steps in the model are also intentionally broad to allow individual public sector organizations to tailor it to their own needs.

Benefits of an engagement survey in the workplace, include: provide senior-level and enterprise-wide leadership, build managerial and leadership competence, put in place more effective employee performance management practices, create a positive work environment, implement a comprehensive and structured new employee onboarding process.

Proof that the engagement survey process model can work

  • It provides senior-level and enterprise-wide leadership. The city of Minneapolis and the Oregon Metro Government have both incorporated employee engagement into their strategic goals and then acted on this commitment. In Minneapolis, the strategic goal is “a city that works,” and it includes “city employees are high-performing, empowered and engaged.” In Oregon Metro, the human resource (HR) department’s vision is to “increase level of employee engagement in order to maintain a productive workforce to meet agency mission.” A strategic goal in the HR department’s five-year plan is to “create a great workplace with diverse, engaged, productive and well trained employees.”
  • It builds managerial and leadership competence. The California Department of Motor Vehicles Communication Programs Division, in response to survey results, collaborated with the University of California–Davis on a leadership development program that focuses on the different levels of management and includes a component on employee empowerment, management styles, and how styles need to align with employees. In Canada, the province of Alberta made senior leaders accountable for improving employee engagement by including engagement as an element in the executives’ performance goals and contracts.
  • It creates a positive work environment. In response to employee survey results, the Minneapolis city council approved an alternative work arrangement policy to “increase employee commitment, engagement, morale and productivity.” The policy includes compressed workweeks, flextime, job sharing, gradual retirement, and teleworking. 

It is not only a critical time in local government to engage with the public, it is also a critical time to engage with employees. To learn more on how develop an employee engagement process model to overcome barriers and harness the power of employee engagement to improve individual and organizational performance, download Leveraging the Power of Employee Engagement.

 
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