Disengaged Employees are the Silent Killer

by Tom Devane

Five Employee Survey Tips to Help You Spot the Warning Signs

“I had no idea our employees are disengaged”

Sure, there are the vocal – maybe even disgruntled – employees who stand out in the crowd. They gossip around the watercooler. They wish they were anywhere but at work. They’re unproductive. And even worse, they’re spreading their toxic dissatisfaction around your organization like cancer.

Disengaged employees aren’t always easy to spot

They show up to work. But they lack energy and passion without making waves. Most of all, disengaged employees cost your organization countless dollars in lost productivity, quality, and poor customer service.

Start with an employee engagement survey

You can’t fix problems you don’t know about. And you can’t know about problems unless you collect feedback. That’s why you need to start with an employee engagement survey. It’s the best way to diagnose the overall health of your culture. And if you’ve got disengaged employees, the insights will tell you why.

Not all employee engagement surveys are created equal

Before you begin an employee survey, here are the must-have criteria:

1. Anonymous and safe. If you want honest, robust feedback, people need to feel safe expressing their opinions. Choose a trusted third-party survey, administered from outside your organization to provide an anonymous, trusted channel for employee input.

2. Reliable and tested. Ensure the survey statements have been rigorously tested, statistically analyzed for correlations, and continually updated for relevance to the current work environment.

3. Short yet smart. A lengthy survey doesn’t necessarily produce better data, but it can create survey fatigue. It also impacts the quality of responses. Choose a survey that’s concise and measures what matters most. Dynamic surveys that offer conditional, open-ended questions produce responses that contain valuable context.

4. Benchmarked and relevant. It’s really important to compare your organization to similar companies in your sector. A raw score tells you a little. But a raw score compared to other aspiring workplaces in the same industry tells you a lot about where there are high-leverage opportunities for improvement.

5. Business-centric and actionable. Interesting feedback isn’t good enough. Ensure your survey captures data your organization can act upon. Do your employees feel appreciated? Do they think they’re getting the communications they need to do their jobs?

Take charge of employee engagement

To reference Roberta Flack’s old-time standard, your disengaged employees could be “killing you softly.” There’s no doubt that disengaged employees cost you money. So, take charge of the situation. Start with a short, effective employee engagement survey to get an effective measurement of the company’s overall culture. You’ll get insights that will inform your decision making and enable you to improve business results.

As a CEO of a global oil company once remarked after viewing the Energage Survey data, “I’ve learned more in the past half hour about this company than I’ve learned in the past three years.”

Know where your culture stands

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