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The graph above is from Gallup’s most recent post about employee engagement in the United States (by Amy Adkins, available online here). What it shows for 2015 is that on average between 31.5% and 31.9% of U.S. employees are engaged in their job. What we know from our work with educational institutions across the U.S. is confirmed by Gallup’s research – employee engagement is connected to organizational outcomes, including support services within and without the organization and stakeholder satisfaction. In addition, employee engagement is tied to one’s leader; via Gallup:

… Gallup has found that engagement is tied to many factors — managers being chief among them. Gallup research shows that a manager’s engagement — or lack thereof — affects his or her employees’ engagement, creating a “cascade effect.” Essentially, employees’ engagement is directly influenced by their managers’ engagement — whose engagement is directly influenced by their managers’ engagement. Although managers represent the most engaged workgroup in the U.S., nearly 60% of this group is not engaged or is actively disengaged.

While the Gallup research and our research in employee engagement provide perception data that inform us (and educational leaders), the most important part of the research/surveys is what we do with the results. That is, the key to the employee engagement survey, or any other surveys, is not the score itself—it’s how well we, as leaders, share the results with staff and how we communicate actions based on their feedback.

Measurement supports the alignment of desired behaviors (see WRIE post and Maximize Performance). It excites the organization when results are achieved. Measurement also holds individuals accountable for results and helps determine if things are working. When done well, we do not just measure; we measure to align specific leadership and employee behaviors that cascade throughout the organization to drive results. The better a district or institution can align these behaviors, the more quickly it will achieve desired results and create opportunities to recognize staff. Recognized behavior gets repeated, which turns the organizational flywheel.

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Adkins, Amy. (July 9, 2015). U.S. Employee Engagement Unmoved in June at 31.9%. Retrieved online at http://www.gallup.com/poll/184061/employee-engagement-unmoved-june.aspx.

Maximize Performance: Creating a Culture for Educational Excellence by Quint Studer and Janet Pilcher will help education leaders engage in systematic reviews to diagnose, apply, assess, and validate the execution of strategies across school, department, and school system levels. Learn more about Maximize Performance at http://www.studereducation.com/MP. Follow the authors on Twitter using @quint_studer and @janetpilcher and join them in Chicago August 3-4.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the seventh straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.