Beyond the Employee Satisfaction Survey

Employee satisfaction or engagement -- which should you be measuring?


There is more to understanding how your employees feel about your organization than a once-a-year satisfaction survey. Dr. Jill Guindon-Nasir, Senior Corporate Director of Global Learning Solutions & Organizational Development at the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, outlines the domino effect that begins with valuing employees and creates loyal customers.

Learn how to measure beyond satisfaction, to measure full-on employee engagement. That, says Jill, is what leads to employee loyalty and retention. Measuring engagement is one of the most vital measurements an organization has, working beyond the organization itself to drive customer interaction and retention as well. That, says Jill, is the domino effect of engagement measurements and open communication.

Measurement is important. What we found at the Ritz Carlton is that we start with our employees first. So we had to make sure that our employees are happy and that they're engaged. So we don't just measure satisfaction, because that doesn't lead to loyalty. We measure full-on engagement. Measuring engagement to us is one of the most vital measurements that we can have. We know that then leads to the way that our customers are going to interact. It's a domino effect.

So for example in healthcare organizations, we know that if we measure the employee engagement and we are having high employee engagement results, it's going to lead then to the physician and to also the patient engagement being high.

But you are not going to have high physician and high patient without high employee. The employees are who takes care of the patients and works with the physicians that are coming into the organization. So one affects the other in a domino effect.

So for us in measuring that is first and foremost our highest priority, our ladies and gentlemen. That's why we say our most important resource, commitment to our service, commitment to our guests is our ladies and gentlemen because it starts and ends with them. It's the beginning and the end. So that's a very important to measure.

Other things to look at is of course your customers. What are your customers saying? Now does it link up? A lot of times organizations will call and say, "Our employees love working here. We have high employee engagement, Jill. But our customers are not happy." That's true.

I had focus groups, I worked around organizations. Where they say we love working here, but they never say anything about culture. They never say about their organization. So like they like their friends that they work within that organization, but they are not necessarily buying in and living that culture, so of course the customers are not feeling that as well.

Again, that's another domino effect where you could have higher engagement, so to speak, but they are not really linking and they're not getting the advocacy where they are talking about and being an ambassadors in and outside of the workplace for your organization. That can happen as well.

So you need to look at your customers. Some are doing net promoter scores. Some are looking at different ways to measure. It's not about which company you necessarily partner with. It's that you are measuring and looking at it and that you're correlating it together. So a lot of times we'll work with organizations that they all sit in separate areas. So I measure the employee engagement. I measure the physician, for example, I'll measure the patient. They don't talk to each other. They don't look across the scores.

We at the Ritz Carlton, we do something where we do. We have the dashboards and the bounce scorecards and we look across, and then it's transparent. And so we have organizations that are in their green, which is they are doing excellent. They are in the yellow, they have room for improvement and then in the red, which means we need to give them some attention right now to make sure they move into the yellow and eventually the green.

It's full transparency. We share that across the organization and everyone knows where they stand. So that goes back to communication. Everybody communicating at all levels and looking at what they're measuring, and making sure again that you are not ignoring any of it. It's all about seeing what's in front of you and being able to look at the data and say, "What do we need to do?" What are leading indicators? What are lagging indicators? What are we going to do with this information and get everybody in the same room?

That's essential. So we do that around the world, every single time before anyone starts their shift. Again, it's just being able to give out that information. So we can give out that information around the world very quickly within one day, so that everyone is on the same exact page.

If you do not have a communication channel, and you are relying on someone to click an email or to maybe read it or not read it. We know people are very busy. You need to just take that 10 to 15 minutes that we take out of each day to make sure everyone has heard it. They can ask any questions that they have, so again the rumor mill doesn't start. We're able to shut that down before that begins and were able to make sure that people are enlivening, and they are engaging in the culture every single day.

So I think a lot of breakdown is you might say you're communicating. We told them that was in a 20-page memo but no one ever read it. No one is actually knowing what's going on, or having a chance to ask questions.

Dr. Jill Guindon-Nasir

Dr. Jill Guindon-Nasir has a passion for sharing best practices, implementing lessons learned and achieving sustainable results. She has over 20 years in business and has served at The Ritz-Carlton for almost 15 years. Her past positions...

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