Webinar: Employee Engagement Best Practices for 2021

Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Time: 1:00pm Eastern / 10:00 am Pacific

Presenters: David Long, VP of Assessment, DecisionWise

Cost: Complimentary, with free registration

One question to consider as you think about whether to put effort and investment into employee engagement: “Is engagement worth the effort and investment we put into it?” The short answer to this question is “yes,” but depending on the type of organization you are, engagement may be more critical or less critical to your success.

During this webinar we’ll share the best methods for preparing, administering, and rolling out the results from your employee engagement survey based on over 20 years of experience conducting surveys around the world. We’ll also identify the most common mistakes organizations make when conducting an employee engagement survey and how to avoid them.

This Webinar qualifies for SHRM and HRCI credit.  

The DecisionWise 360 Degree Feedback Platform

Supervisor and employee discussing results of a 360 degree feedback survey one-on-one

DecisionWise has been helping organizations create world-class employee experiences for nearly three decades. Over this time, we have witnessed a meaningful evolution in how we measure, interpret, and act on employee feedback. One thing that has not changed is the tremendous influence the manager has on creating a positive or negative employee experience.

Leader experiences (their own experiences and the experiences they create for others) are foundational in creating world-class employee experiences. 360-degree feedback is vital to this process as it establishes, measures, and monitors critical leadership competencies and behaviors.

Sadly, 360-degree feedback tools (360s) sometimes carry a bad reputation. Some organizations have used 360s as a weapon to punish less-effective managers or establish evidence to discipline employees. The misfortune in this approach is that many now avoid what is perhaps the most powerful tool available in creating a positive leader experience. 360s effectively drive the overall employee experience as they are specifically targeted at the key intersection of the employee and the manager. Organizations that fail to embrace 360-degree feedback as part of building a rich employee experience will be left behind.

DecisionWise has spent the last two years honing and revising our leadership competency library to reflect today’s leadership practices and has invested millions of dollars into building the strongest multi-rater technology in the world. Traditional survey technologies are unable to effectively setup, administer, and report on multi-rater assessments. The value behind this purpose-built technology and the science behind it, is that it is simple. Simple to set up, simple to administer, and simple to create reports and coach. Whether you need to assess 10 leaders or 10,000 leaders, the DecisionWise 360-Degree platform makes it simple!

Defining Expectation

Leadership competency models are foundational to the effectiveness of the DecisionWise 360-degree feedback platform. Whether you are using the DecisionWise competency model or your own, these competencies create the baseline for setting leadership expectations with your leaders. Our assessment builder functionality enables organizations to create targeted assessments based on the desired competency model. Assessments can vary between leadership function or organizational structure. Create leadership expectations that will drive successful organizational culture, whether for Executive Leaders, Vice Presidents, Team leads, or individual contributors. 

Measuring Leadership Competencies

We all agree it’s difficult to improve that which you do not measure, which is why DecisionWise has made measuring easy. A 360-degree feedback assessment is a specific tool that enables organizations to measure the individual strengths and opportunities surrounding their competency models. Assessment administration is incredibly simple on the DecisionWise 360 Platform. Rater selection can be quickly set up by an uploaded list or you can allow participants to actively participate in the process by choosing their own raters from pre-populated employee lists. Critical oversight into the process is maintained through a simplified rater approval process.

During the feedback collection process, participants and raters manage assigned assessments through an individualized assessment portal while administrators have control to add and remove raters, open and close assessments, send reminder emails and more.

Individual Reporting

Leaders don’t want to be overwhelmed with complicated reports that require a degree in data analytics to interpret. Our teams have spent years simplifying the individual report to include what matters most. The platform report settings allow organizations to create variations of the standard reports using pre-configured modules. Modules such as gap analysis, radar plots, key metrics, competency distributions can be turned on or off with the click of a button. Individual reports can be viewed online or downloaded into a PDF.

Leaders who wish to compare themselves against others can easily add benchmark data to the reports. With the platform you can use DecisionWise benchmarks or create internal benchmarks in a matter of seconds. You have the option of showing up to 2 benchmarks in the report.

Aggregate Reporting

Organizations that are creating world-class employee experiences rely on data and evidence as they constantly strive to listen and understand. Those organizations using our aggregated data reports will uncover insights about their culture that were previously obscured or hidden altogether. The DecisionWise 360-platform seamlessly aggregates reports based on a participant tagging system. Tags can be based on titles, training cohorts, demographics, and more. Aggregate reports highlight organizational leadership strengths and opportunities while also uncovering internal training successes and needs.

Action Planning and Accountability

Participating in a 360-degree feedback assessment is often an emotional journey. It is common for participants to experience emotions of shock, surprise, anger, resistance, acceptance, and satisfaction. Having a plan to help participants work through these emotions will establish whether the 360 program is a success or not. The DecisionWise 360 Platform RX library tools enable organizations to provide suggestions and resources for strengthening and improving leadership competencies. Your organization can use resources provided by DecisionWise or connect our reports with your internal LMS system. You can also create custom content with available online resources.  Lastly, include the DecisionWise action planning guide with the individual report to help participants design and structure their individual development plans.

Those leaders who engage with another person for accountability are more likely to see significant improvement in how they measure against the leadership competencies. Individual and group coaching sessions, manager one-on-ones, or mentor programs legitimize the importance of action planning and accountability and are facilitated through our platform. 

In summary, creating world-class employee experiences doesn’t just happen on its own. Organizations must deliberately create expectations for leaders to follow.  DecisionWise helps organizations measure, report, and verify that core leadership expectations are being met. Our platform drives accountability and creates discipline in how leaders build experiences that help employees bring their very best to their work and the organizations they care about. 

Infographic: Setting Leadership Expectations Through Competencies

Download the PDF of “Setting Leadership Expectations Through Competencies”

One of the best ways to help leaders provide a great, consistent employee experience is by establishing a competency model. This is defined as a collection of behaviors that are set as an expectation to leaders in the organization. It is also known as a “success profile” or “operating principles.”

Here are 5 ways that having an effective leadership competency model will help your organization.

Define Effective Leadership

Be deliberate about selecting a competency model that really defines a successful leader in your organization, considering your unique culture and the requirements to succeed in your industry.

Set Behavioral Expectations

Create broad accountability for leaders by communicating expectations to the whole organization. Top leaders should model these stated behaviors and lead by example.

In addition to communicating expectations with existing employees, make it a part of your interview or on-boarding process with new employees to say, “This is what an excellent leader in our organization does.”

Guide leadership actions and practices

Use a 360-Degree Feedback tool to measure a leader’s strengths and weaknesses against your competency model. This can be used for individual development or incorporated into a performance review.

This is a great method for building self-awareness and helping leaders understand the experience they’re creating for their employees.

Inform and Train Leaders

Integrate competencies into learning and development programs. Organizations should provide tools and training for managers to help meet the expectations they’re setting up.

Help Leaders Navigate Critical Moments

An employee’s experience is defined by moments that are planned (hiring, on-boarding, performance reviews, etc.) and unplanned (personal issues, workplace conflict, layoffs, etc.).

Having defined leadership competencies and behaviors helps prepare leaders to navigate these critical moments.


For more on 360-degree feedback and competencies:

360-degree platform

Podcast: How 360 Degree Feedback Improves Workplace Culture

Perks of a modern work space

In this podcast episode, Dave Long and Christian Nielson discuss critical moments in the employee experience and how they are shaped by expectations.

Learn about the best practices for setting expectations in your organization, effective leadership competency models, and how the 360-Degree feedback assessment contributes to an improved workplace culture.

For more on 360-degree Feedback, visit: https://decision-wise.com/360-degree-feedback/

7 Ways of Defining Employee Engagement

definitions of employee engagement

Everything you need to know about employee engagement

For a more comprehensive guide on employee engagement, check out our “employee engagement explained” page.

"Employee Engagement is an emotional state where we feel passionate, energetic, and committed toward our work. In turn, we fully invest our best selves-our hearts, spirits, minds, and hands-in the work we do."

There are many different definitions of employee engagement that tend cloud organization people initiatives. Rewards and recognition, learning and development, health and fitness, perks and benefits are all categories that commonly use employee engagement to describe their initiatives. Here, we will sort through the various definitions and competing ideas to provide more clarity.

What Employee Engagement is Not

First, it’s important to identify what employee engagement is not. Sometimes any type of positive employee attitude or behavior is considered employee engagement, while anything contrary is considered a disengaged employee. However, it’s not always that black and white. For example, employee engagement is not employee happiness, satisfaction, motivation, or empowerment. Now that we have a good understanding of what employee engagement isn’t, let’s take a look at some different ways people have gone about defining employee engagement.

Different Definitions of Employee Engagement

If you search for “employee engagement definition,” you’ll come up with a seemingly unending list of definitions from consultants to multinational corporate conglomerates—and everyone in between. Here’s a selection of some of the best (or most curious) employee engagement definitions we’ve seen:

  1. “The emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” Kevin Kruse, Forbes Contributor and NY Times Best Selling Author
  2. “The art of getting people to believe what you want them to believe.” Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat
  3. “Emotional connection an employee feels toward his or her employment organization, which tends to influence his or her behaviors and level of effort in work-related activities.” Business Dictionary
  4. “A business management concept that describes the level of enthusiasm and dedication a worker feels toward his/her job. Engaged employees care about their work and about the performance of the company, and feel that their efforts make a difference.” Investopedia
  5. ” Employee engagement is the emotional attachment employees feel towards their place of work, job role, position within the company, colleagues and culture and the effect this attachment has on wellbeing and productivity. ” HR ZONE
  6. “An emergent and working condition as a positive cognitive, emotional, and behavioral state directed toward organizational outcomes.” Michael Shuck and Karen Wallard

The DecisionWise Definition of Employee Engagement

DecisionWise defines employee engagement as:

“An emotional state where we feel passionate, energetic, and committed toward our work. In turn, we fully invest our best selves-our hearts, spirits, minds, and hands-in the work we do.”

Engagmenet: hearts-hands-minds

When you see engagement, you know it. However, it is often hard to put into words. For example, in 2001 Douglas Conant took over as CEO of Campbell’s Soup and called it a “bad” company. Its products were bleeding market share, and research showed that 62 percent of the company’s managers did not consider themselves actively engaged in their jobs. Yet by 2009, 68 percent of the company’s employees said they were actively engaged, while just 3 percent considered themselves actively disengaged.

How did Conant do it? He made a commitment to his people, embodied in the phrase “Campbell valuing people, people valuing Campbell.” Conant improved the physical surroundings by removing the barbed wire fence around the offices and focused on improving manager communication. Conant also instituted programs to celebrate individual success, from sending them personal thank-you notes to having lunch with employees.

Campbell’s built a culture of employee engagement. This resulted in an engaged workforce. It had nothing to do with air-hockey tables in the break rooms or on-site clinics. People engage with people, and they give more when they feel heard, empowered, and appreciated.Busy office setting with employees at computers

How the Psychological Contract Between the Employee and the Company Defines Engagement

The Psychological Contract has the greatest potential influence on employee engagement and as a result, the overall employee experience. Hidden in our hearts are the ideas, hopes, and dreams that truly define us. These expectations cannot be addressed adequately by clauses in an employment contract or hiring slogans that attempt to align expectations. These expectations are part of the psychological contract. The Psychological Contract is the unwritten, implicit set of expectations and obligations that define the terms of exchange in a relationship.

What’s Different Between a Satisfied and an Engaged Employee?

Many leaders mistakenly think that increasing employee satisfaction will increase employee engagement and motivation. Satisfaction is transactional and contractual. In return for their work, you promise to provide employees with the basics: compensations, tools, and resources, physical safety, dignity, and respect. Both the organization and the employee must continue to make constant deposits in the relationship “bank account.”

Satisfied employees put out as much effort as they are compensated for, and no more. They deliver what is asked of them, as long as you deliver on your part of the deal. They show up and do their work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to say no to other offers. A satisfied employee does not equal workforce engagement.

Changing Our Minds About Engagement

When it comes to the all-important bottom line, employee engagement (not job satisfaction or employee happiness) matters. This is why it’s so important to get employee feedback on their engagement levels by conducting an employee engagement survey. These survey results provide you with engagement scores that give you a better idea of where your workplace falls under the employee engagement spectrum. Ultimately this will allow you to create an employee engagement strategy to improve your work engagement.

It’s a powerful engine for not only improving your company culture but for growth and profit. When defining employee engagement, it is important to recognize that it is a 50/50 proposition with the responsibility to become engaged between the employee and the responsibility to create an engaging environment on the organization. Employee engagement is creating a workplace culture where both the organization and the employees become engaged.

Read the authoritative book on employee engagement: ENGAGEMENT MAGIC: Five Keys for Engaging People, Leaders, and Organizations.

DecisionWise Employee Engagement Surveys

Measure and improve employee engagement with confidence by partnering with the experts.