Floggings will continue until morale improves

Floggings will continue until morale improves

I still remember this comment, among many made in interviews or workshops that I’ve facilitated. I don’t remember who made it, but I remember the context and the tone.

The situation was actually a focus group, part of a project to get under the skin of some poor employee survey results. The client, from a major bank, had realised that the survey results themselves provided very little diagnostic value and was left thinking “what do I do with this?”. You may have been there yourself.

As for the tone of the comment, it was brimming with resentment and cynicism. Resentment at management that seemed to be trying to squeeze more and more from staff for less and less, and cynicism founded on a belief that they only cared that their score had gone down.

Employee engagement is an important, but dare I say it, complex construct and issue. Yet our desire to measure and manage it as a KPI, rather than genuinely foster it, means that it has been reduced to a small number of questions on a survey that represent a “best” predictor of performance in many organisations.

To try to find a neat and simple measure of something like employee engagement risks reducing it beyond the point of usefulness, particularly when the score is more important than what it purports to measure.

Does your employee survey act as a catalyst to change? Do managers feel confident about using the results to do things differently?

Or is it leading to cynicism?

Perhaps business leaders need to start caring more about employee engagement and less about their score.


About Rob Robson
Change manager and organisational development professional with a special interest in employee engagement and motivation. Masters swimmer

One Response to Floggings will continue until morale improves

  1. Great posting! Employee engagement is a huge challenge in every organization, and as a performance consultant it’s something that inevitably can come up as a byproduct of other systematic and systemic breakdowns. More attention definitely needs to be brought to this matter, so kudos to you for speaking to it!

    I encourage you to check out my blog as well, and I think you’ll find some great connections between the two. Of course, I hope if you stop by you will leave a comment or two as well!

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