Is Employee Engagement really that important?

This is a question we get from organizations on a frequent basis…is Employee Engagement important, or is it just the latest corporate buzz word?  Research in this area has provided significant support for the fact that Employee Engagement does matter.  In fact, empirical evidence shows that Employee Engagement in organizations is positively correlated with all the following:

  • Return on assets
  • Customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Customer profitability
  • Job performance
  • Firm profitability
  • Physical well-being
  • Intent to stay in the organization
  • Shareholder value

So, yes!!!  Employee Engagement really is that important, as it positively impacts a wide variety of other organizational outcomes.

Do you only provide services to CPA firms?

No! Although we are a leader in providing employee engagement and client loyalty services to CPA firms across the nation, we have clients in other industries, too. We know the public accounting industry very well, so it’s what seems to find us most often; however, we’ve had great success working with organizations in other industries, including retail, manufacturing, financial services, professional services, and others. We’d be happy to talk about your specific industry and how we might be able to help with your needs.

We do our own employee survey…why would we need you to do one?

Honestly, if it’s done well, you might not need any outside help. Some large organizations have the resources to use analytics to create statistical models for improvement from surveys, and we applaud them for doing so. In many cases, however, organizations lack the resources necessary to effectively design a meaningful survey and analyze the results. In most of these cases, the surveys consist of questions that have “nice to know” answers but lack any research-based model. In other words, the surveys provide information, but no theoretical framework from which to improve retention and profitability.

Using a research-based survey instrument, such as OrgAdvantageTM, allows us to provide data-driven action plans for improving employee engagement and client loyalty. In addition, many employees are reluctant to complete surveys delivered by their employers, as they believe the results will not be kept confidential. Using a third party to collect responses can alleviate this issue.

What are your feelings on using “averages” in employee surveys?

We’re so glad you asked! Many organizations use averages as results from their survey data. For example, employees might respond to a question on a seven-point scale, with seven indicating absolute agreement with the statement. The organization then averages the scores and provides a single number as the result, perhaps 4.0. The problem with this approach is that it ignores the distribution of the answers. Did all employees answer a “4”? Or were there a lot of “7’s” and “1’s”? The answers to these questions cannot be determined with an average…and the answers to these questions are what allows organizations determining which areas are in the greatest need of improvement.

We use frequency distributions (percentage of respondents who answered high/medium/low) for all questions, as it gives a much clearer picture of employee or client responses. As a statistics friend of mine once said, “Using averages with surveys goes against the laws of nature!”

What’s the typical employee engagement project process like?

Our process generally consists of four phases. The first phase is survey construction. Because we’ve already built, tested, and used OrgAdvantageTM, we have measured its validity and reliability. Therefore, most of our engagements use OrgAdvantageTM “as is.” Sometimes we add a few “nice to know” questions based on recent firm happenings (mergers/acquisitions, leadership changes, etc.). This phase generally takes one to three weeks to complete.

The second phase is data collection, which is nearly always completed using an online survey. We usually keep surveys open for two to three weeks, depending on the response rate. We monitor response rates and communicate with clients to come to an appropriate closing date.

The third phase is analysis, where we take all the survey results and compile them into a report providing frequency distributions for all variables, segmented by whatever groups are desired. In addition, we create statistical models providing the drivers of employee engagement for the firm and for segments where the sample size is large enough. We also conduct any customized analysis during this phase. Depending on the project, this can take between one and three weeks to complete.

The fourth phase is communication and action planning. This is the fun part! Once all the analysis is completed, we communicate the results with the client and work together to come up with action plans based on the results. In many cases, action plans are focused on small segments of the firm that need more attention…the “golden nuggets” that we find in our research. If necessary, we provide additional analysis that might be helpful for action planning. Our goal at the end of this phase is to make sure our client has a clear vision of how to proceed with the results, including communicating the results with employees and the next steps necessary for improvement. Depending on whether additional analysis is necessary and the size of the engagement, this phase can take between one and four weeks to complete.

How are you different from other consulting firms who provide survey services?

We’re different in a lot of ways, but here are just a few:

  • We’re fun! Okay, I’m sure other consulting firms are fun, too…but we love what we do, and we get told all the time that we’re the only individuals clients know who get excited about statistics. We’re passionate about the work we do…and we think it shows.
  • We use research-based models and surveys. Many firms lack the expertise to conduct proper statistical analysis on survey results. And this is where the real value lies. We’re confident in the validity and reliability of our survey instruments…and we’d be happy to share that information!
  • We focus on the importance of statistical modelling. As an example, many organizations or consulting firms will conduct a survey and report the results, showing all the areas where the organization could improve. This is one of the biggest mistakes an organization can make, as it treats all variables or issues as thought they’re the same! If employees score very low on cafeteria options, does it mean the organization should spend resources improving it? Not necessarily…unless the statistical models show that cafeteria options are the primary driver of employee engagement (which we doubt they will). The key to being able to focus valuable resources on specific areas to get the most effective return is understanding which variables are driving engagement (or client loyalty) the most…and focusing on those items. Without statistical modelling, organizations are simply guessing at how to improve employee engagement.
  • We’ve been doing this for nearly a decade, and we’re pretty good at it. Our experience with a multitude of organizations can be leveraged by other firms when trying to improve employee engagement and client loyalty…and we’re happy to leverage that expertise.

We’re in a different state, but we’re interested in your services. How would that work?

Many of our clients are in different states, and technology allows us to work together through the project as effortlessly as if we were in the same room. Through a combination of video conferencing, screen sharing, and data sharing tools, we’re able to work with clients effectively regardless of where they’re located…assuming they have an internet connection. That said, we’re always more than happy to travel to client locations, if necessary, to meet face-to-face.

What are the next steps if we’re interested in improving employee engagement or client loyalty in our organization?

The next step is probably a phone call, or even better, a video conference call. We can walk through examples of masked results from other firms in order to provide specific details of how our services can benefit your organization.

Contact us now to set up a time to chat.