Often, when organizations plan employee engagement surveys, they forget the most essential piece of the puzzle—trust. Trust requires transparency, honesty, and truly anonymous survey results. Sadly, we occasionally have to remind our clients that a deceitful survey process is counterproductive.
A trusting relationship fosters honest feedback from employees. A distrusting relationship leads employees to give insincere feedback out of a fear that if they were honest, they might be punished in some way.
Trust and Employee Engagement
In order for an employee engagement survey to be effective, a trusting relationship must be pre-established in the organization. The pre-existing trust comes from how management has administered employee surveys in the past, what real changes have been made as a result of previous feedback, how management treats the workforce, and the integrity of the individual executives.
This established trust should be maintained through the facilitation of the survey. True anonymity of survey participants is the key to maintaining trust. Surveys administered and processed directly by management can sometimes appear suspicious in that regard. Surveys run by an outside company, especially when the outside firm is committed to maintaining anonymity for employees, can nurture the trust required for surveying success. Having an outside firm handle the feedback demonstrates to employees that management is uninterested in individual results and is instead focused on receiving overall information on the state of the firm.
What do you see as the relationship between trust and employee engagement? How do you establish trust in your organization? Does trust need to be managed?
The Crisis of Confidence in Employee Engagement
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