3 questions every engagement survey must ask

Not long ago I worked with a mid-sized manufacturing plant in St. Louis that had a remarkable record of attracting and keeping in-demand workers. Although the company offered competitive wages, their formula for employee retention did not include offering above-market compensation, perks, or benefits.

When I asked Darrel, the plant manager, his secret for hanging on to his skilled machinists and technicians who were frequently courted by headhunters and other employers, he said,

“It’s simple, really. I know exactly what they want from their job. My job is to find a way to give it to them.”

Darrel then told me that for several years he had included a one-sided black and white photocopied sheet of paper inside the paycheck envelope for every employee. On that paper, employees were asked three questions:

  1. What do you like best about working here?
  2. What do you like least about working here?
  3. If you could make one change to your job, what would that be?

Next to the time clock where workers punched in and out was a slotted box bearing a sign that read:

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