What the new Culture Amp report tells us about how to up employee engagement

Survey data from thousands of companies show small companies enjoying better employee engagement, among other things.
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· 3 min read

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Cue the Big Mouth theme song: As your organization staffs up, it’s going through changes, and the growing pains may rival the worst of awkward teen years.

In December, Culture Amp, an employee insight firm, released its Culture Crunch Report analyzing elements of workplace culture, including employment-engagement surveys from nearly 4,000 companies. Here are a few of the top takeaways:

Small companies (0–100 people): You’ll never get these years back. Like the parent of a toddler who agreeably holds Dad’s hand to cross the street, HR at small companies should count their blessings. Fresia Jackson, Culture Amp’s lead research people scientist, goes as far as to tell them to “bask in” this time.

Employees at small companies respond to employee-engagement surveys at higher rates (87% to large companies’ 80%) and trust leadership to act on the results (66% to large companies’ 59%).  They also view leadership more favorably (77% to large organizations’ 70%), are more highly motivated, and enjoy a sense of autonomy and flexibility at work (6% higher than larger companies), according to the survey data.

Jackson believes HR’s main goal at a small but growing organization should be creating new policies that are “lightweight and efficient.” The worst outcome at this stage, according to Jackson, is weighing down teams with unnecessary “bureaucratic red tape.”

If you’re large, keep an open channel to who’s in charge. At the biggest companies, survey data shows employees are less motivated and less likely to refer colleagues to the company.

Jackson said leaders can mitigate these outcomes by intentionally building relationships with staff. She offered her own company as an example: “Something that our CEO did throughout Covid is give video updates once a week in our Slack channel.”

Jackson said it was helpful to “see the human” and talk about topics beyond “Here are the numbers.”

Bottom line: If HR finds themselves out of step with employee expectations, Jackson said the best move is to admit it and then collect data.

“If companies realize maybe they aren’t hitting the mark, cop to it: Ask employees for feedback through an engagement survey, focus groups, or skip level meetings,” Jackson said.

“I think it can also help to say, ‘This is something that other companies have gone through.’ That means that other companies have figured out solutions. We’ll get there, too.” —SV

Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Contact Susanna Vogel via the encrypted messaging app Telegram (@SusannaVogel) or simply email [email protected].

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.