by Jeff Toister
Date Published January 4, 2018 - Last Updated December 13, 2018

There’s something wrong with the analyst engagement survey. We make a big deal about it, send it out to all our analysts, form a committee to study the results, and then…nothing.

Support leaders tell me they understand the importance of analyst engagement. Yet they are frustrated with a process that results in little to no change.

The broader numbers agree. The 2017 version of Gallup's State of the American Workplace report revealed employee engagement among U.S. workers sits at just 33 percent.

There are ways you can improve the process within your service desk. Here are three changes that will make an impact.

Jeff will share his ideas about improving your analyst engagement survey at HDI 2018.
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Define Employee Engagement

Perhaps the biggest challenge with many surveys is there is no clear definition of what is being measured. Opinions vary on the definition of employee engagement. Is it job satisfaction? A emotional connection to work? Something else?

Imagine quality monitoring your analysts' phone support contacts without first setting standards for a quality call. Offering an engagement survey without clearly defining engagement is the same thing.

So start there. You can choose the definition you prefer, so long as all key stakeholders agree to it. Here's my preferred definition:

Employee engagement is the extent to which an employee is deliberately contributing to organizational success.

This definition looks for two things that are very measurable:

  1. Does the analyst understand what makes the organization (or the service desk) successful?
  2. Do the analyst's actions and performance demonstrate a commitment to achieving that success?

Adjust the Timing

The typical employee engagement survey is offered once every 12 to 18 months. This is too infrequent to make any meaningful changes.

It's hard to imagine measuring customer satisfaction, contact volume, or even your budget just once per year. Chances are, you take a close look at these metrics on a monthly basis with weekly, daily, or even hourly checks on key performance indicators. Employee engagement should be measured at least monthly as well.

This is doable in large service desk organizations with 100 or more people. You can randomly divide your employees into six groups and survey each group once every six months. This will give you a monthly snapshot while only surveying each individual twice per year.

It is difficult to do this with smaller teams. If you have only 30 people, splitting them into six groups would meaning surveying just five people at a time. In this case, you might survey everyone every six months and augment your survey with open and frank dialogue in team meetings and one-on-one discussions.

Take Action

You should never conduct a survey unless you plan to act on the results. The point of assessing employee engagement is to identify the issues that make it difficult for employees to understand what makes the organization succeed or make a commitment to help achieve that success.

You should never conduct a survey unless you plan to act on the results.
Tweet: You should never conduct a survey unless you plan to act on the results. @toister @ThinkHDI

For example, a help desk manager learned that Tier 2 analysts were frustrated by what they felt were unnecessary escalations from the Tier 1 team. So she called a meeting with her Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams to discuss the challenge. Together, they identified several issues that could be handled at the Tier 1 level if those analysts had just a little more information.

This meeting immediately solved a problem, and analysts on both teams were happy with the results.

Deliver Value

It amazes me how many companies have human resources programs we don't like, yet we don't fix them. The annual performance review comes to mind. Many employee training programs fail to deliver results. The employee engagement survey is right up there, too.

The smart choice is to fix or scrap your survey. Fix it if you can. This means adjusting the survey so it delivers meaningful data that allows you to take action.

Scrap it if it cannot be fixed. There is no sense in continuing to take up valuable time doing something that delivers no value.

Jeff Toister is President of Toister Performance Solutions, Inc. and the author of The Service Culture Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service . In addition, he has authored several training videos on, including “Customer Service Fundamentals,” “Working with Upset Customers,” and “Leading a Customer-Centric Culture.” Jeff has been recognized as a Top 50 Contact Center Thought Leader by ICMI and a Top 25 Thought Leader in Technical Support and Service Management by HDI. Follow Jeff on Twitter @toister .

Tag(s): supportworld, workforce enablement, workforce enablement, employee engagement


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