Beyond Engagement, Part 2

Beyond Engagement:
High-Performing Companies and Culture

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at how engagement surveys are used today. Part 2 looks at what enables engagement and the difference between measuring these enablers through engagement surveys vs. culture surveys.

Enablers of Engagement

When we look at the interactions between senior leadership, management, and employees, there are four recognized enablers of engagement:

  • Senior leadership that provides a strong strategic narrative about where the organization is and where it is heading.
  • An engaging management group who treat their people as individuals while coaching and stretching them.
  • Recognition for the employees who reinforce plans, challenge views, and are seen by leadership and management as central in solution development.
  • Organizational integrity where the core values are reflected in day-to-day behaviors resulting in alignment of vision and mission across leadership, management, and employees. This is potentially the most important.

An engagement survey begins to tell the story about ‘what’ these enablers look like, but more recently culture surveys have been developed to focus on ‘how’ higher engagement can actually be achieved.

What are Culture Surveys?

Culture surveys are the next generation of tools that expand and amplify leadership’s ability to measure and manage their culture for strategic and competitive advantage.

Culture Survey vs. Engagement Survey

Engagement Survey Limitations & Culture Survey Advantages

From this table, we can see areas in which a culture survey can supplement the traditional engagement survey; and therefore, mitigate the limitations. An engagement survey identifies and evaluates outputs and outcomes. For example, what employees think of senior leadership rather than how those perceptions were created. The culture survey determines the causes of senior leadership perceptions. This is critical when we’re looking to evolve culture.

A limitation with traditional engagement surveys is its similarity to a balance sheet which provides historical data at a particular point in time. By the time an engagement survey is conducted and analyzed, organizational action plans are in reaction to the past. In contrast, a culture survey looks at the creation of a desired future which is unique to the specific organization and should be a competitive differentiator. A focus on the unique desired culture helps in aligning senior leadership, management, and employees to better position and win in the marketplace.

Traditional engagement surveys are often run out of HR as a stand-alone initiative. This contrasts with high performing companies where we see the CEO and senior leadership team recognize culture as a strategic asset and use culture surveys as a broad-based business tool. The additional culture survey provides advantages to the traditional engagement survey, and as high performing companies have found, better enables business strategy through people alignment.

The culture survey provides a strong tool to senior leaders focused on creating higher engagement and a culture of high performance. What are you doing to take your organization beyond engagement? To learn more about how to measure and manage a high performing culture, let’s talk.

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