Trends in Engagement Surveys: The increasing importance of Prioritization and Care
Published Aug 16 2023 08:32 AM 3,128 Views

As we continue to settle after several years of disruption to our daily lives, several things have become clear about the state of work: (1) employees have continued to struggle with honing in on a clear, defined set of key priorities, and (2) those employees are also expecting to find a new degree of humanity woven into the work experience. These two key experiences impact critical markers of success at work: productivity and engagement. Employees cannot be expected to achieve a high level of productivity if they do not have the clarity they need to know how to channel their time and energy toward priorities, nor can they reasonably sustain high levels of engagement if they do not feel cared about as a person, even while at work.

Viva Glint customers have always blazed trails with their engagement survey designs, often leading the industry in composing surveys which capture a range of dimensions spanning the People Success Elements. Twice per year during our benchmarking refreshes, Viva Glint studies the design and survey item selections made by organizations administering engagement surveys around the globe. Viva Glint also periodically updates its recommendations regarding which survey items we believe capture the most timely, important facets of employee experience (we call these "core engagement items"). During our latest cycle of insight during our June and December Global Benchmark refreshes, we have seen remarkable adoption of two particular survey items which were added to Viva Glint's "core" set. You got it, those two survey items capture experiences of Prioritization (defined as an employee's knowledge of their top work priorities) and Care (defined as an employee's feelings of being cared for as a whole, unique individual - a person, not a number).

Specifically, during the June 2023 refresh cycle, we saw over 50% increases in utilization of each of these two survey items on engagement surveys (the most growth in usage we see of any items, including items which had similar prior rates of use). Some of this activity is driven by Viva Glint's new recommendations, but what is particularly insightful is where we see scores emerge on these items as the global sample increases in size. While the Prioritization score globally was reasonably high during the June 2023 refresh at a Viva Glint score of 80 (putting it in the top third of Global benchmark scores), the Care score was 73, putting it just in the bottom half of all Viva Glint Global benchmark scores. This score suggests that increasing the degree to which employees feel cared for as people at work is essential during this next phase in the evolution of work. We can demonstrate care in many ways, including directly through person-to-person interactions, and indirectly through the opportunities we provide them, the trust and autonomy we offer them, and the ways that we acknowledge their contributions and elevate them).

But there's also another reason to consider these survey items: one design strategy for a holistic, effective engagement survey is to ensure that the survey items being asked are key drivers of overall engagement. In fact, when we calculate correlations between these two items and eSat (Viva Glint's primary single-item outcome), we see correlations of .68 for Care, and .57 for Prioritization. Both of these correlations constitute "strong" relationships per long-standing behavioral science effect size benchmarks (Cohen, 1988). Further, favorable responses to these items are a strong indicator of retention: employees responding unfavorably to the Prioritization item are 2.9x as likely to voluntarily leave their organization within three months, compared to employees responding favorably to the item. For the Care item, the multiplier is 2.6x as likely to leave! Hence, customers integrating these items into their survey strategies are not only aligning to the emergence of new employee needs and expectations, but are also maintaining strong signal with outcomes they are looking to impact, employee engagement and employee attrition.

If you haven't yet considered adding Viva Glint's Prioritization or Care items to your survey, it might be time to make the addition. Beginning to measure Prioritization and Care can help you tap into two emerging facets of the workplace experience which have grown in importance not only in the minds of employees, but also importantly have the potential to be essential building blocks of success.



Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. 

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