Gallup has done a survey of 1000 US employees investigating the relationship between engaged employees and innovation. At first glance it seems impressive. There are lots of numbers, a couple of graphs and even a statement at the bottom of the article describing the survey limitations. The results, however, hinge on their definitions of employee engagement (see pretty graphic).
So how did they determined who fell into which engagement category? This seems to be a vital missing piece. There is no indication of the questions they asked or the scales they used. Without this information the rest of the ‘data’ is nonsense to me. Here are some of the findings.
When GMJ researchers surveyed U.S. workers, 59% of engaged employees strongly agreed with the statement that their current job “brings out [their] most creative ideas.” On the flip side, only 3% of actively disengaged employees strongly agreed that their current job brings out their most creative ideas.
The study also showed that engaged workers were much more likely to react positively to creative ideas offered by fellow team members. When asked to rate their level of agreement with the statement “I feed off the creativity of my colleagues,” roughly 6 in 10 engaged employees (61%) strongly agreed, while only about 1 in 10 actively disengaged employees (9%) gave the same answer.
In the race for evidence-based management I imagine people are taking these results and believing what they read and quoting the figures (fully referenced of course) in business cases as if they are gospel. Perhaps I’m missing something but without an understanding of how these categorisations are made it’s difficult to assess the results’ veracity.
I would love to hear what Bob Sutton thinks of these types of ‘evidence-based’ pronouncements masquerading as research.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: