BLP TIG Week: Surviving A Toss Into the Deep End: Lessons Learned From Being Charged with Employee Engagement Data by John Murphy

John Murphy
John Murphy

Greetings, fellow evaluation enthusiasts! My name is John Murphy and I am an Evaluation Associate on the Evaluation Research and Measurement team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Our team, historically focused on program evaluation, was placed into the driver’s seat of the employee engagement surveys after a departmental reorganization. Our strengths in problem-solving, data literacy, and survey design generated this opportunity for us, but we lacked what The Power of People calls “HR sixth sense”, the ability to intuit the most relevant variables out of the myriad available to human resources (HR) professionals. That, along with the need to understand the different functions and relationships within the human resources department of a large organization, made for a challenging period of growth for our team.

hands on computer keyboard next to notebook and pen

After six months of struggle and success, we are sharing a few discoveries that might help others prioritize how they use their valuable resources of time and energy.

Lesson Learned 1: Find “thought leaders” with institutional and HR experience who can open up your mind to the intricacies of understanding employee experience.

This can be simple, like having lunch with a veteran manager or more complicated, like a series of roundtables complete with PowerPoint or Prezi presentations and flipcharts. As long as it helps you find out what drives engagement, consider it time well spent.

Lesson Learned 2: Resist the desire to change everything and “make it your own.” Instead, focus on understanding the reasoning behind decisions that have been made.

People, talking, using cell phones, reading magazine

We inherited the employee engagement survey process from knowledgeable staff members, and while we had the brief temptation to make widespread changes, we resisted. Our predecessors had many great processes in place. Understanding those processes and making incremental changes saved us the time of having to vet new processes and introduce those new processes to a large organization. Those thought leaders we cultivated provided us with the perspective needed to see how decisions that were made affected the organization as a whole. For example, before we decided to revise what seemed to be an extraneous question, we talked to organization leaders and found that the results from that item were being used in decision-making for one part of the hospital.

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