Have you ever filled out an employee engagement survey?
Sure you have. Millions of organizations use engagement surveys every year to ask questions, such as:
Does your manager talk with you regularly?
How do you feel today?
To which you have a response ranging from "all the time to not at all," or even worse, a Likert scale of 1-5.
If you're like me, when answering these surveys, it was always along the lines of it depends. However, the subtleties of context for these types of surveys are not allowed. So the subtleties of human emotion and thought are missing.
And the interpretation is even worse:
Your company shows a 13% decrease in employee engagement, and 10% of your employees are currently experiencing stress.
Overall too many assumptions are built into the questions, and the results provide numbers without context, which needs more meaning.
Much like a doctor won't diagnose cancer by asking the question, "do you have a headache" today, how do you expect to diagnose a medical condition such as burnout or mental health issues with a question such as, "On a scale of 1-5, do you feel supported at work"?
Now, I'm sure you will tell me, "But Bryan, the headache is a signal that something may be wrong," right?
It is—a very loud and noisy data signal.
But what it is not is a diagnosis.
An actual diagnosis would take further tests to understand the root cause. From MRIs, CT scans, and blood work to an Oncology visit, your doctor and a team of medical professionals would spend millions of dollars to understand your symptoms holistically and thoughtfully.
They would work to diagnose.
There are better ways to do this. The work we do with LEON Insight and our organizational diagnostic process is about understanding and extracting meaning from survey responses, diving deeper with contextual follow-ups, and quantifying the impact of your treatment plan. For example, we designed Insight to work towards a diagnosis of WHY burnout is an issue and to continually follow up (without you lifting a finger) to understand if these measures improved overtime and if the HR strategy or the benefits offering you introduced worked.
Just like that team of medical professionals we mentioned before.
So before you run your annual engagement survey, remember this: Numbers with context work to enable action. Context allows you to work towards a diagnosis. And a diagnosis allows you to discover the cure.