In this post we'll complete our LEAD model question set for Engaging employees by finishing with D for Development. Development questions are probably the most pervasive questions whenever you look at the strongest personal drivers of engagement. For example, you can find employees who feel happy about all the the other apsects of a company including Leadership, Enablement and Alignment but if there is no Development - then their engagement will likely wane.
As we've discussed in a recent post on development in the modern organizational context things are no longer just about people having a long slow progression towards the top of a management chain and some external training along the way. However, there are some basics that we need to get right along with the truly aspirational development cultures that some companies will be able to attain.
We've already touched on learning associated with an employee's current role - but we viewed this as part of enablement, despite the fairly obvious cross over here. What employees are often after in terms of their own development is a focus on something both more personal and something larger. First, at the more personal level they simply want to see some genuine interest and support which should often, but not always, come from a manager. So, we might pose something like this as:
My manager (or someone in management) has shown a genuine interest in my career aspirations
It is important with this item that we have not focused this on career aspirations only in the company, or just on a 'career' in general. It is far better for a manager to show a broader intersest in an employee's aspirations too - rather than just their career which a manager themselves might have a different opinion on. It is about them showing a genuine interest in the thoughts and feeling of employees on this rather than just on an abstract 'career'.
However, it does remain important for a company to track whether it can effectively communicate to employees that their are opportunities available to them. Not all companies will perform equally well on this but it is important to assess whether this is affecting engagement relatively to other aspects of development. We might use something like this:
I believe there are good career opportunities for me at XYZ Corp
Sometimes this item can be modified to say 'potential opportunities in the future' but most people interpret the question in this manner anyway. It's a hard question in most companies because not everyone can truly be promoted. The key is to convey that there are opportunities for people who put in the effort.
A final question that directly pertains to our recent post on developing employees in the modern company (especially tech companies) is this:
XYZ Corp is a great organization for me to make a contribution to my field
This question was one of our top 5 drivers of engagement in 2012. It tells us so much about whether we have created a culture in which people feel that they are part of something bigger and prt of something that is going to be great for them too. A company does not have to assure an employee they will be the next CEO or spend large amounts of money on training to make this happen - a problem we frequently here about traditional development questions.
So there we are, we've completed our D for Development section:
- My manager (or someone in management) has shown a genuine interest in my career aspirations
- I believe there are good career opportunities for me at XYZ Corp
- XYZ Corp is a great organization for me to make a contribution to my field
In our next post we will be bringing it all together to see our finished Murmur15 LEAD to Engage Survey.