Employees engaged in their work are more likely to be motivated, loyal to their employer, and focused on achieving business goals and driving the organization’s future. Aren’t your employees the core of your business and the biggest component to your organization’s overall customer experience? Odds are you want to improve culture but don’t know where to start.

A plethora of opinions and articles exist today on the importance of employee engagement and examples of companies that seem to be getting it right. From Zappos to Southwest Airlines, many companies are sharing their stories on how they created their employment brand and changed the DNA of their organization.

No matter which model you follow, you must start with the basics- understanding what your employees think and feel. Your employees are not so different than your customers- if you want to know how you’re doing, ask!

Step 1: Survey Employees.

In my previous blog, “Love You or Love You Not? Truth From Your Clients”, I talked about surveying clients to find out if they are loyal utilizing the Net Promoter Methodology. This same methodology can be used internally to determine if your employees are Promoters, Passives, or Detractors. Ask the “Ultimate Question” as defined by Fred Reichheld, “On a scale of 0-10, how likely is it you would recommend this company as a place to work?”Follow this question with an open-ended request for elaboration, soliciting the reason for an employee’s rating. You may also follow up with “How likely would you be to recommend this company’s products or services to a friend or colleague?” Other survey questions may be used to determine the relative importance of things like employee engagement, access to tools they need to do their jobs, career development and learning opportunities, etc. Asking these types of questions can help employers determine if correlation exists between “career development opportunities” and employee loyalty, for example.

Step 2: Sort Employees.

Based on ratings from the “likely to recommend” question, sort employees into three categories (Promoters 9-10, Passives 7-8, Detractors 0-6).

Promoters (9-10)

  •          Enthusiastic about their work
  •          Provide better customer experiences
  •          Influence other employees
  •          Provide feedback and ideas

As you might imagine, Detractors can have the exact opposite effect on your business. Passive employees may be satisfied at the time of the survey, but could be easily persuaded to terminate for a better salary or other opportunity.

Step 3: Analyze Feedback and Respond with Action.

Typical employee satisfaction or engagement efforts require data collection and analysis by a third-party. In many organizations, the Human Resources Department handles the process for disseminating the data and recommending actions. In an Employee Net Promoter (eNPS) System, the surveys are short, and emphasis is placed on sharing feedback as quickly as possible with supervisors and leaders. This supports continuous focus on action at the individual, team, function and enterprise levels, with rapid feedback on what’s working and what’s not working.

Fostering Engagement

If your employees are not engaged, response rates may be low the first few surveys. Surveys should be consistent, every 90 days, semiannual, etc. whatever frequency is sustainable for your organization. As employees see improvements, just like our customers, they will become more engaged and response rates will increase.

Surveys may help identify several areas that can be addressed immediately, others may take time. Employees may voice a desire for more recognition, more competitive salaries, additional training, more communication about company direction, or pinpoint poor management.

Those “best places to work” that are nailing employee engagement are following these same steps for success. They are finding out what employees think, focusing on culture, demonstrating appreciation, committing to open, honest communication, supporting career development, and communicating the organization’s vision, mission, and strategy. Before you initiate the employee survey process, be ready to process some tough feedback and respond with appropriate action. The ultimate goal is to turn those Detractors and Passives into Promoters!

Start with these steps and your organization will be on the right path for engaging employees and creating loyal employees and customers. If you’re a member of the MPAY Network and would like more information, email us at marketing@mpay.com. If your organization needs help getting started, download this sample employee survey below.

Amy Robertson

From her office in Roanoke, VA, Amy manages “all things marketing” for MPAY. Her most recent bragging rights include becoming a Net Promoter Certified Associate.