I see a lot of surveys, and most of all, I see a lot of employee engagement surveys.
There’s a reason for that: everyone wants to improve engagement, but few seem to have the foggiest notion of how to actually do it. So, many look to surveys on the subject to try to help figure out how to help get workers more invested in their jobs.
A great many engagement surveys offer some insights into how to do this, but I don’t think this one falls into that category.
According to Quantum Workplace, a company that says it “delivers smart tools for achieving and recognizing workplace awesomeness” (I am not making this up), voters who say they are voting for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are more engaged in the workplace than those who are going to vote for President Obama, according to a new Quantum Workplace study.
Romney voters are a little more engaged
Although the poll shows Romney voters taking the lead in engagement, it shows Obama winning the race with a 52 percent lead over Romney.
According to the press release from Quantum Workplace, “this is the only poll of its kind focusing on the relationship between voter behavior and employee engagement,” and all I can say is, thank God for that, because mixing politics, the workplace, and employee engagement is a perilous exercise at best.
Here’s a little more detail from Quantum Workplace about the survey:
Overall, our poll shows Obama with a 52 percent to 39 percent lead over Romney. The gap appears more pronounced than polls focused merely on “likely voters.” Our panel was given options such as “Other” and “Don’t intend to vote” which together accounted for 9 percent of the participating Americans.
With employee engagement levels, our research shows Romney voters have a slight, but meaningful edge over Obama voters. We define employee engagement as the presence of three behaviors among workers: discretionary effort, intent to stay, and advocacy. We measure engagement by having employees rate 37 items on a 6-point scale between Strongly Agree and Strongly Disagree. Each survey participant is assigned an engagement score based on their responses — shown on a 100-point index. Here are the averages:
- Average Engagement Score of Romney Voters: 86.8
- Average Engagement Score of Obama Voters: 86.1
Since most employees score between 60.0 and 92.0 on this index, the 0.7 difference between the subgroups is statistically significant.”
There are a few things that I don’t understand in this. One, I’m not sure what “advocacy” refers to in Quantum Workplace’s definition of employee engagement. I know that no one has a good handle on what employee engagement actually is, but “advocacy” is not a term I see pop up in any other definitions by anyone else, and I read a ton of these surveys.
Secondly, the claim that the 0.7 percent difference between engagement scores for likely voters is “statistically significant” may be true, but to what end? I’m not sure what is significant about that difference, and Quantum Workplace doesn’t elaborate.
Nearly 60% of HR pros intend to vote Obama
What it DOES add is this:
We know from 10 years of workplace research that engagement tends to increase the higher up the organizational ladder one gets. And income rises as position level rises. Therefore this data supports the notion that Romney support is coming higher income workers.
A fact for our readers in the Human Resources profession: 59.6 percent of HR professionals intend to vote Obama. That’s compared to 32.1 percent of HR who support Romney.”
According to Greg Harris, Quantum Workplace’s president, in a press release about the survey, “We know that engagement tends to increase the higher up the organizational ladder one gets and income rises as position level rises. Our findings support the notion that Romney votes will come from higher income workers, while Obama appeals to a larger chunk of Americans who are frustrated with their work.”
A Full Employment Act for HR pros?
I’m a little surprised by the finding that HR professionals are so strongly leaning toward Obama, especially given how much extra work his policies are creating for HR professionals. From Obamacare to all the workplace legislation and regulation coming from various federal agencies, boards, and commissions, our president is adding a lot on to the plate of HR pros.
But maybe that’s the point: if you are in human resources, Obama’s policies represent the HR professional’s Full Employment Act. Somebody has to handle the never-ending flow of workplace regulations coming out of Washington these days, and if you’re in HR, all this activity means that not only will you be very busy but that your job is probably secure for another four years if Obama beats Romney next month.
That’s probably the most significant finding from this engagement survey — HR people tend to like Obama a little more than they like Romney because he keeps them gainfully employed dealing with lots of new workplace rules and regulations that seem to never end.
That’s a long way from employee engagement, of course, but with surveys, it’s best to take what you can get even if it isn’t exactly what you expect.