In previous blogs, I’ve reviewed the importance and benefits of employee teams working to improve the issues revealed by engagement surveys. Organizations that already use methodical problem solving on various production or service issues can use the same approaches for the problems related to engagement. 

For example, a typical survey result will usually if not always show dissatisfaction with communication. Only through in-depth conversations with team members do you come to better understand the type of communication that they want. 

Focus groups vs team-based problem solving 

Prior to using problem solving approaches, leadership teams and I would conduct focus groups. We would ask questions about why people gave certain ratings on engagement surveys in order to better understand the concerns. But in the end, I don’t think people in a focus group know what’s actually bothering them and why.

Only when we did root cause analysis and truly spent time discussing current processes and conditions did we get to a level of solution that would truly make a difference. Over and over again, we uncovered critical factors that if changed would greatly improve the workplace.

If you want to head in this direction, here’s what it might look like

  1. Bring together a group of about 20 team members with only a few in leadership roles. This group can be sponsored by HR or other leadership. Have the group review the survey.
  2. Pick about three areas to improve based upon survey results. 
  3. Subdivide the group into problem solving teams with one team for each topic. While different problem solving methods may be used, in general we included the following the following: 
  • What’s the problem you are trying to solve?
  • What are the current practices or processes in place today where the problem exists?
  1. Prioritize the issues in the current practices to identify an area for root cause analysis. 
  2. Explore the root cause of one of the issues within the problem until it’s clear that if that issue was resolved, the workplace would improve. 
  3. Identify potential changes or experiments for improvement.
  4. Create a proposal to the leadership detailing what the team believes would be most helpful. 

The time and energy involved in working through these problem solving efforts can be significant; however, the benefits go far beyond most people’s expectations. Not only is there a better, more long-lasting solution to common problems or areas of dissatisfaction, the process creates a sense of maturity for those in non-leadership roles related to what change actually acquires. 

If this is something you’re interested in exploring, contact me and we can discuss how you can encourage your team to work together to address engagement survey results.


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