Saturday, September 20, 2008

Making Engagement Data Have Meaning

"Thank You" to the person who suggested this topic for me to write on.  I will have to admit we learned how to make engagement data meaningful the hard way.  In our early years as consultants we were convinced that more charts and graphs equaled better information.  Well what we know now, is that more charts and graphs equals a nap for our clients. 

I think the best way to make employee engagement data meaningful is to make it actionable.  Here are some tips on how to make the data actionable:

1) Ask questions that are specific enough so that you know what to do if you score high or low on that question.

2) Analyze the data so that you know exactly what DRIVES engagement.  This does require some extra statistical steps (correlations, factor analysis) but it is worth it.  These DRIVERS will enable you to focus on what is really important.

3) Report the data in a way that is meaningful to your audience.  Use the "killer slide" concept.  Tell the data story in one or two slides at the beginning of the presentation.  Spend the rest of the time ACTION PLANNING around what to do about the data. 

4) Use the right metric for engagement data.  Instead of using mean scores, because after all that is just an average, report data using % favorable instead.  Percentage favorable is the % of respondents that gave a question a favorable rating.  For example, on a 5 point scale, the respondents that scored a question a 4 or a 5, would be considered favorable.

5) You need to track engagement data over time to really make the data have meaning.  By understanding how scores move and why, you will be able to become predictive with your data.  By combining other data points like turnover and customer satisfaction your data becomes intelligence that is critical to the business.

Many times after a survey is completed, the engagement data is put away until the next time a survey is delivered.  I say take that data and use it, you will be surprised what you learn.
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