Month: May 2019

What Not to Ask on Your Employee Engagement Survey with Mary Faulkner

Employee Engagement surveys have become a backbone to understanding and maintaining the mental and emotional health of an organization. They are an excellent way to begin the journey of creating the employee experience that will finally boost those low engagement scores.

One of the trickiest parts about these surveys is asking the right questions. There is a whole field of psychology that goes into making sure the questions are asked in such a way as to illicit the most honest answer from the respondent while minimizing participation bias.

When forming questions for internal employee engagement surveys, companies must understand the goal of such surveys before even beginning to attempt to piece together questions. In almost every case, the goal of these surveys is to determine what the employer needs to do in order to help facilitate a more engaged workforce.

It is certainly important to ask questions about respect, safety and belongingness, but what types of questions should we avoid when sending out these surveys to our employees?

In a recent podcast, Mary Faulkner, author of Surviving Leadership Blog, brings up the most important question to avoid on employee engagement surveys.

She says that companies must absolutely stop asking questions about things they are completely unwilling (or unable) to change.

All too often organizations populate employee engagement/satisfaction surveys with questions about aspects of the company or its policies with the intention of trying to sense how employees feel about those issues. When there is no chance for a change to those issues, these organizations are doing more harm than good. When we ask employees their opinion about something we don’t intend to change – we disrespect the employees time and opinion. To listen to the rest of the episode feel free to find us at Forging Employee Experience. To stay in contact with Mary, connect with her on LinkedIn and be sure to subscribe to her blog!

Everyone wants to feel heard. Everyone wants to feel like their opinion matters. Certainly, the employee engagement survey is great way to start facilitating that process; however, we have to be committed to driving change. Organizational change is the purpose of employee engagement surveys.

If organizations are unwilling or unable to change based off the results of their surveys, then they would have been better off never asking in the first place.

Why Employee Engagement has Continued to Stagnate with Tamra Chandler

For the past several decades, we have been surveying our people. On a typically annual basis, most organizations send out a survey to ascertain the sentiment of the workforce. These surveys often serve the primary purpose of helping to identify large trends or themes in an organization that should be either spread or stopped. Unfortunately, the idea of creating a positive work experience for the employees hasn’t been a focus of most of these surveys. And so, we have seen very little movement in these past decades towards making work a better place to be. Why? After billions of dollars and so many years of work, how come we still don’t focus on the employee experience?

We focus on what we measure.

Stakeholders haven’t focused on employee engagement as a measure of the health of an organization. Instead they focus exclusively on profit. Making money is the main reason any company exists. Without profit (or donations), there is not company. However, the link between increased profits and a positive employee experience has become so well established that stakeholders are missing out on a huge metric for gauging the financial health of a company.

Imagine if public companies were forced to include their Employee Experience scores on their 10k. We would see a lot more investment in the mental, emotional, and physical health of employees. And all of those companies who put employee experience as a priority, would see big jumps in internal innovation, company profits, and average tenure.

In a recent podcast with Tamra Chandler, founder and CEO of PeopleFirm, she spoke about one of the main obstacles with seeing big improvements in employee engagement is the fact that many of today’s corporate leaders are used to how it’s always been. They earned their success in past decades at a company that likely didn’t value their experience so they don’t feel a need to focus on the employee experience now. To listen to the rest of the podcast visit Forging Employee Experience. To stay in touch with Tamra, visit her on LinkedIn or at

If we ever want to see meaningful change in how companies treat their employees, then we have to hold leadership accountable to those metrics. Employee engagement metrics were never designed to live in the HR department; hey should live in the board room. Once stakeholders start holding executive leadership accountable for the experience of the employee, employee engagement will skyrocket.

When Diversity Hurts Employee Engagement with Kate Bischoff

The need for a diverse and inclusive workplace has become a research-based fact. A workforce that have a generally the same background and experiences isn’t going to be as competitive as organizations that bring true thought diversity.

But is there such a thing as too diverse? Well not really, no. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should just hire folks just because they bring the desired element of diversity to the workplace. There is one characteristic that we should never diversifyin the workplace – respect.

Any group, team, or company can work around any potential misunderstanding or miscommunication that will naturally occur when people from different backgrounds come together to accomplish a task, if there is a mutual foundation of respect. This mandatory shared value of respect is so critical that those individuals who show frequent patterns of disrespect should be let go immediately.

The negative impact that a lack of respect has on an organization cannot be countered with any other measure.

Respect, however, does not preclude feedback. In a recent podcast, Kate Bischoff spoke to this idea that feedback is a healthy part of any organization. She commented that part of maintaining a culture of respect is that idea that feedback can (and should) be provided when individuals disagree. Furthermore, organizations must absolutely ensure that they have implemented multiple methods of feedback. Everyone has their own preferred median for providing feedback to the organization. To find out more and listen to the full episode, visit Forging Employee Experience. To keep in contact with Kate, visit her at LinkedIn or on Twitter (@k8bischHRLaw).

Organizations must commit to hiring and retaining employees how are devoted to promulgating respect without diminishing a willingness to provide feedback. Without feedback companies and teams will not be able to find the growth and traction necessary to see continued success.

Why Information Control and Employee Engagement are So Critical With Amy Cappellanti-Wolf

The hierarchical structure of the workplace has been the norm for far too long. Born of necessity, this method of organizing management allows those in any leadership role to act as information gatekeepers. The only way to get information up the organization is to hope that these gatekeepers allow it to flow up, and the only way to understand what’s going on in the organization is to hope that these same gatekeepers allow information to be disseminated.  Worst case scenario, this power infects managers who become too proud to share the information they have, to the detriment of everyone. Best case scenario, they share everything they can but being too often overwhelmed with too many tasks, information is still lost.

This set up negatively affects the entire company. The folks on the bottom of the chain feel left out and undervalued. While those at the top of the chain miss out on potentially innovative ideas and suffer from the ignorance of not truly knowing about the lower ranks.

The hierarchical structure of the workplace kills information flow.

Without healthy information flow companies lose millions. From miscommunications to missed ideas, from disengaged employers to high turnover, marrying the flow of information with the structure of management only hurts a company.

The new buzzword in the employee engagement space is “transparency.” A hip new word that is essentially just urging for increased communication and a decongestion of the current information flow. Transparency has been adopted with great success at many forward-thinking organizations.

In a recent podcast with Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, CHRO of Symantec, she details some of the problems companies face as they strive to be more transparent. Equipped with direct-to-employee communication technology like email and intranets, executives are opening the firehose and pouring out information to employees. They then sit back and pat themselves on the back thinking they’re being transparent. Amy detailed that while those newsletters from the corner office may be sent with good intentions, they are missing the mark. For information to be useful to employees there has to be a balance. It has to be “just in time” information. The shelf life of information in an organization is too short to bother sending out everything. The burden is on management to both open upward channels of communication and then disseminate as much valuable, relevant information as possible.

To listen to the rest of the podcast, visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, feel free visit her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter (@AmyCappellanti).

The combined effectiveness of the group intellect is wasted when information isn’t shared. To gain a decisive competitive advantage, companies must libe

Extreme Employee Engagement with John Baldino

All too often when we think of organizations that have incredible employee experiences, we might think that these companies just give the employees whatever they want. In some cases, that’s true, there are some organizations where the sky’s the limit as far benefits and perks are concerned. Unfortunately, we can’t all live in that fantasy land of being able to provide our employees with a heath care plan that provides free monthly massages.

The fact of the matter is that we don’t have to blindly give in to the needs of our employees. Employee engagement does not mean that employees should be able to wave a magic wand and get what the want. This type of strategy is both unsustainable and ineffective. It’s unsustainable from a resource’s standpoint. Most companies would be hard pressed to be able to financially support this type of relationship with their employees. Furthermore, a workplace that has no boundaries or limits on what the organization should be providing the employees will absolutely generate a sense of entitlement. Employees will be less likely to value and appreciate the company as a whole if they feel entitled to whatever they want.

Companies have to create a balance. There must be a mechanism in place at each organization for them to know what is most important to the employee base and then find ways to provide the top sought after benefits. By working with employees, management will not only be able to provide the perks most employees actually want but would also be able to do so in a financially sustainable fashion. In this sense, organization fill their primary responsibility to the employee as a quality provider of resources to enhance the life style of each person that works there.

In a recent podcast, John Baldino, MSHRD SPHR SHRM-SCP, spoke about the importance of being a resource to employees. In the episode, he talked about his personal journey to always be a resource for those around him. As President Humareso, he attests to the positive impact that being a resource has on his employees. Because his people know that he will do anything within reason to ensure that have a positive experience, they see well above average levels of engagement. To listen to the rest of podcast, visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with John, visit him at LinkedIn or Humareso.

Organizations do not have to provide an unlimited amount of resources to effectively enhance the employee experience. But they do have to provide some. By having an attitude of wanting to be a resource for employees and opening up that two-way dialog, organizations will understand exactly what they need to provide their employees in order help them become more engaged.