People Science: A Fix for Broken Employee Engagement?
For years, organizations have invested heavily in programs designed to improve employee engagement and work performance. But despite good intentions, too many of these endeavors have fallen short. Now, some are turning to people science and coaching as a solution. Is this the answer?
What exactly is people science? How does it work hand-in-hand with coaching to drive better outcomes? And what should HR and business leaders do to implement a successful strategy?
I invite you to join me as I discuss this topic in-depth with an expert in people science on this #WorkTrends podcast episode.
Meet Our Guest: Kevin Campbell
Today, I’m excited to welcome Kevin Campbell, a people scientist and executive strengths coach who specializes in leveraging workforce analytics with the art of leadership to help organizations strengthen work teams and improve their employee experience. Over the years, Kevin has worked with some of the most prestigious firms in workforce strategy, including Culture Amp, Deloitte, Gallup, and now Qualtrics.
Essential People Science Skills
Being an employee experience scientist sounds exciting, Kevin. But what exactly do you do?
To be effective, it requires expertise in multiple disciplines. Think of a Venn diagram with three intersecting circles.
One is people analytics, another is organizational psychology, and the other is applied practice. An employee experience scientist sits in the intersection of those three areas.
Understanding Employee Engagement
As a people scientist, what does the term “employee engagement” mean to you?
It’s important to talk about what it is not, as well as what it is.
It’s not a survey. Often, we lose sight of the fact that engagement is actually an emotional and psychological state. A survey is just a tool that helps us measure that state.
Engagement really starts with emotional commitment. I emphasize the emotional aspect because it’s about the desire to stay with an organization and help fulfill its objectives — not because you’re obligated or you feel forced to do it, but because you want to.
Pinpointing Engagement Issues
What is the most critical challenge you’re seeing right now?
Most organizations overemphasize understanding and underemphasize improvement in action.
For example, according to 2021 data, nearly 90% of companies measure engagement or have some type of employee feedback program, but only 7% of employees say their company acts on feedback in a highly effective way.
We haven’t updated that research yet, but I’m guessing it probably hasn’t improved much.
Bridging The Gap
How can employers address this problem?
It’s important to recognize that the engagement survey or data isn’t the end. It’s really just the beginning.
To improve, you’ll want to translate results into actions that can have outsized impact on the your company culture. And the key is to use simple coaching skills.
For more great advice from Kevin about the art and science behind how to develop and sustain a great employee experience, listen to this full episode.
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