A constant need of most leaders is to find out precisely what the workforce is thinking and how engaged they are. The usual practice is to use an employee satisfaction survey, which generally doesn’t always ask the right questions.
We are not really concerned as to whether the employees are merely satisfied with their lot but rather what is it that is really important to them as an individual.
It has to be said that results of some employee satisfaction survey are very dubious mainly because even if the process is claimed to be anonymous, this can be disbelieved. Additionally and even though it might not be thought to be totally anonymous, the temptation is often to sound off and use it as a complaint survey.
An excellent book “Follow That Path” by Coffman and Gonzalez-Molina explains how the international survey company Gallup accepted these shortcomings and developed a simple survey based on literally millions of responses they had over many years from which they realised that there are only twelve basic questions which cover the needs of employees.
In other words rather than trying to discover employee satisfaction the survey uncovers employee attitude which is far more relevant.
The respondents were give a range of five options to enable them to rate the importance of each to them from Strongly Disagree through Neutral to Strongly Agree. Because there can be a tendency for disinterested people to choose the Neutral option as a get out, there is a case for dropping it and offering only four alternatives.
These are the twelve magic questions that Gallup has spent millions of dollars and some 30 years in developing to assess the level of engagement of employees.
They have discovered that engaged employees create engaged customers and engaged customers are very loyal customers and therefore are repeat buyers. The very satisfactory result is that they are usually profitable customers.
Look at the reverse situation. If you have employees who are not engaged, are bored, just come in to work to earn their pay, exhibit poor behaviour and generally a bad attitude, do you really think that they will create engaged customers?
Learn from the Gallup Employee Survey questions and develop a culture that will produce the employees and the customers who constantly benefit the business.
By Ivan J Goldberg
Ivan is a highly experienced management consultant (www.maa-uk.co.uk) specialising in mentoring and coaching senior management especially CEOs and Managing Directors and in assisting Boards of Directors in developing their strategic plans. Visit Ivan’s blog at www.ivanjgoldberg.com.