With the constant hustle and bustle of the workday, it is often difficult to determine the root cause of employee turnover and limited employee engagement. Organizations often begin their employee retention efforts by focusing on a competitive salary and offering a comfortable work environment. While it is important to ensure these needs are met, employees often leave organizations for unknown factors. Limited ‘Voice of (former) Employee’ feedback can be gathered during the exit interview process. By the time the root cause of the departure is understood, it is far too late to make improvements to retain the employee. To combat this obstacle, many organizations conduct an annual employee engagement survey to understand necessary improvement initiatives. However, this limits team members to providing feedback annually, and managers are unable to understand their department’s culture regularly.

If employee engagement is a top priority, it must be measured along with all other KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). A simple solution is to provide each employee with five (5) poker chips at the beginning of each week. The employee simply takes a poker chip and places it into a red or green box. The red box symbolizes a negative day at work. A green box is designated for a positive day at work. The employee simply selects which box reflects their day by answering the question ‘I enjoyed working in my department today,’ or ‘I did not enjoy working in my department today and places the chip inside the sealed box. Post-it notes are provided next to the box for employees to provide comments on their rating. At the end of the week, a leader simply counts the number of chips in each box, records the metric on a spreadsheet, and re-distributes the poker chips.

This daily pulse allows departments to understand employee engagement on a frequent basis. The leadership team can correlate trends to recent activities. For example, perhaps there was an all-team meeting that went poorly or recent job elimination. By measuring employee engagement daily, a leader can work to improve the culture immediately rather than waiting 12 months for the next survey to be deployed. The data collected can be used to determine improvement initiatives. The leader can assemble a culture improvement team that works to identify root causes of the daily scores and lead improvement initiatives.

In addition to understanding the culture daily, the leader is able to understand trends within the department. For example, high-pressure end-of-month reports may induce employee stress, and result in poor scores. Because the scope of the data is limited to the department level, the leader is able to track trends and discover solutions for improving culture on a daily basis. This daily engagement capture method was validated across multiple organizations to determine there is a statistically significant correlation between daily feedback and results on annual employee engagement surveys.

In a recent pilot, a Fortune 500 company was able to correlate daily trends to annual success. The team discovered a 32% increase in employee engagement by prioritizing it daily. Employee feedback stated, “The opportunity to provide anonymous feedback daily to my leadership team ensured we were focusing on growing our culture. As a result, my team had open discussions over our work-life balance and initiated improvements to improve our balance. The poker-chip voting program allows us to have a metric to understand our culture.”
This low-cost solution is an innovative way to capture employee feedback on a frequent basis.

Katrina Schiedemeyer is a dedicated leader in Voice of Customer (CX) and Project Management (PMP) at a Fortune 500 Company. Her expertise includes ethnographic research, Six Sigma analytics, and utilizing Lean/ QE tools to create success throughout the entire value stream. Her research (2017) includes ‘Leaning Out the Education System: A Detailed Look at Applying Traditional Lean Concepts in a Non-Traditional Environment.’

In addition to her Voice of Customer role, Katrina serves as the Director of Marketing for Project Management Institute.