Author, speaker, and employee engagement expert Jill Christensen responds to questions from our Bee School webinar, “If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement.” In this session, she reveals how employee engagement drives business success. She also provides a thorough action plan to start the conversation about how better internal communication workforce solutions like Beekeeper can improve employee engagement within your company.
Employee Engagement Q&A Session
Q: If the employee is in the wrong chair [not a suitable role], should the organization try and place them in a more suitable chair or different department or get rid of them?
JC: This is something we see organizations do all of the time. I call it “moving the deck chairs on the Titanic.” If you have an employee who is truly mismatched for their role, and there is not another role in the company where they are a good fit, you need to think about what that person’s skills are. If they are in marketing, that person may be really good at sales or communications. If this person is an accountant, chances are there isn’t another role inside your organization outside the finance department. If this person has extraordinary skills in what they do, but that person’s position is eliminated and there isn’t another position like that in your organization, that might be an opportunity to release them because their skills are in finance and there is not a finance role open in your organization.
However, if the person has a great attitude and was great at their job but their job is being eliminated or they want to try something different, then I would absolutely move them to a different place within your organization.
When you have an employee who is incompetent at their job and there is no other job that is a good fit for them in your company, and if they cannot grow and improve, they need to be removed. The situation could also be that a person is great at their job, but their attitude is negative. If you talk with them and let them know they need to improve their attitude but they’re not doing that, and their performance plan has not worked, I highly recommend you remove them from your organization because they’re bringing down other engaged workers. I understand it’s difficult to do, but trust me when I tell you the employee is going to land in another organization in another company and they’re going to be fine.
I’m encouraging you to say, “We should invest in ensuring people are a good culture fit and are amazing at their jobs,” because as you try to engage employees and create an amazing culture, you simply cannot afford to have people amongst you who are in the wrong chair. Use my four-step process to achieve sustainable engagement.
Q: How do you measure employee engagement?
JC: The best way to measure employee engagement is to conduct an employee engagement survey. There are many employee engagement surveys that exist in the marketplace; I highly recommend you don’t create your own survey. You cannot piece together questions that you have seen on other employee engagement surveys and believe that your survey is statistically significant and valid unless it has been created by scientists and statisticians.
Your employee engagement survey needs to be rubber-stamped by people that do this for a living. Run a search on “employee engagement survey” to find these. If you would like me to help you find the survey that is right for the size of your organization, please reach out to me or look into Beekeeper. Once you send your employee engagement survey to all employees, you’re going to get a certain number of responses back, and that number is the percent of employees who are engaged.
Q: How do I approach senior leaders if they don’t think there is a problem?
JC: One easy way to approach this is to conduct an employee engagement survey because then it’s not just you communicating with senior leaders that there is a problem. It’s arming you with data about your company, where employees are saying, “Houston, we have a problem.” This way it’s not anecdotal; it’s your employees saying, “We don’t like the culture; we don’t think our senior leaders communicate well; we don’t understand the organization’s values; we don’t feel like compensation is where it needs to be, and we don’t feel like we have the resources to do our job.”
Now if you’re going to say, “My senior leaders won’t allow us to conduct an employee engagement survey because they don’t think there is a problem,” what I would do is show senior leaders the data and the correlation between employee engagement and profitable revenue growth. Ask some of the following questions: Is the company where they want it to be? If the customer satisfaction level is where they want it to be, is employee retention as high as they would like? Are revenues high, and is the company growing as fast as they want it to?
If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” then the answer lies in looking at the company’s culture, how things are done, and the work environment. This means your employees are not as productive or creative as they could be, not staying as long, and are not providing great levels of customer satisfaction. Unless you have an extraordinary workforce, or your workplace is known around the globe for being amazing, chances are you have work to do.
This is about empowering you with the courage to go to your senior leadership team and say, “If our organization isn’t exactly where you want it to be on all these levels, then we have an opportunity to improve. We know employee engagement creates an amazing culture and can drive improvement so we have nothing to lose by conducting an employee engagement survey to see where we are.”