Employee Engagement Survey

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Before any survey of "employee engagement" is conducted, the key terms have to be defined-preferably operationally, in terms of what counts as and what contributes to so-called "engagement". On some interpretations, hatred of a job is a form of engagement, since it is a strongly engaged emotion. On another, only positive emotions, moods, etc., count as engagement-chief among them being "enthusiasm", "satisfaction" or "enjoyment".

Yet a third formulation ignores emotions and focuses on behavior: If an employee is diligent, "committed", responsible, etc., that employee meets criteria for being engaged, in the sense of satisfactorily and dependably performing assigned tasks (without any regard to how the employee feels about the job). Imagine a fully engaged police marksman-does he have to be "enthusiastic" while performing his job or (merely) about his job-or neither? Suppose enthusiasm is evidenced only about the job "after hours", but not on the job? Is that engagement? If the marksman performs superbly, is that not sufficient evidence of engagement-and if not, why not?

This kind of conceptual variation may contaminate and limit attempts to compare different employee engagement surveys. Hence, differences in conceptualization must be taken into account when reviewing and applying the results of these surveys.

An employee engagement survey in one of its forms reveals the positive emotional attachment of workers to their jobs and/or employers. Common sense suggests that an employee that enjoys full job satisfaction delivers qualitative performance, which in turn guarantees customer satisfaction. But satisfaction or other forms of positive emotional engagement may be neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for good job performance-or may be necessary only in reflection upon one's job, rather than during the performance, e.g., of a fully-focused, calm and cool surgeon during surgery.

One employee may be quite satisfied because job loads are light and supervision is quite lax; another may be satisfied because of the stiff challenges that engage skills up to the task. Hence, "satisfaction" is not automatically sufficient to assure superior work performance and attitudes. By the same token, a thoroughly dissatisfied employee may perform well from fear.

Therefore, "satisfaction" is also not necessary for satisfactory job performance. Likewise, "engagement" has to be distinguished from "morale", since morale, unlike engagement, is a purely statistical population concept, unlike "engagement", which is also an attribute of single individuals.

These caveats aside, the image of a happy worker as a productive employee is compelling and sufficiently commonsensical to warrant surveying employees for evidence of such positive feelings about their jobs.

Company owners conduct engagement surveys with different objectives. Be clear about the goals. It can be done to locate the existing company culture among employees, to verify employee satisfaction level, or to find out the current problems that are acting as an obstruction to corporate growth.

After identification of problems, a qualitative evaluation of issues is necessary. It is the duty of the evaluator to highlight the areas of concern. The next step involves, preparing strategies to earn the loyalty of the people in the office. Moreover, a survey should be assessed by a third party for exact and impartial results and for proof of survey validity and reliability.
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