2018 Employee Engagement Survey results: 6 things you should know

May 22, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

The long-anticipated results of the 2018 Vital Voices Employee Engagement Survey are in. Through the survey, team members provided valuable feedback on a variety of topics including teamwork, communication, professional growth and more. Since the survey was conducted in early March, Advisory Board, the survey administrator, has been busy tabulating and analyzing the results to identify strengths, opportunities, trends and other insights which have recently been shared with Michigan Medicine leadership.

Here are six things every Michigan Medicine employee should know about the 2018 Vital Voices results:

Lots of you took it

In all, 17,946 employees participated in this year’s survey, some 68 percent of the eligible workforce. That figure is both higher than the pre-survey organizational goal (62 percent) and represents a healthy increase over past years.

“This year’s survey participation rate is the highest of any engagement survey we’ve conducted in recent years,” said Megan Blair, senior clinical information analyst in the Quality Department. “This is a great accomplishment and the voices of our employees will help the organization to continue to improve.”

How we stack up

An established partner in the health field, third-party vendor Advisory Board administered this year’s survey for Michigan Medicine, as they do for many other organizations. In fact, Advisory Board’s database currently has 1,200 health care facilities, including more than 100 other academic medical centers.

Michigan Medicine’s survey results are compared to these industry peers. Advisory Board calls the industry average the benchmark, and comparing how Michigan Medicine scored on various aspects of the survey compared to the industry benchmark provides organizational leaders with insights about areas of strength and potential improvement.

“Working with Advisory Board brings a number of advantages. For example, their reporting tools are detailed and user-friendly; their benchmarking tools align closely with those used by Magnet; and they are able to conduct short-term pulse surveys to help us track our progress,” said Phillip Lipka, Human Resources employee engagement program manager.

Employee engagement

A key metric in the survey results is the Engagement Index, a composite score determined by the responses to four specific survey items: This organization inspires me to be my best; I am willing to put in a great deal of effort in order to help the organization succeed; I would recommend this organization to my friends as a great place to work; I am likely to be working for this organization three years from now.

Michigan Medicine’s engagement index is 5.12 on a six-point scale. That score is just above the national average compared to Advisory Board’s health care industry benchmark.

Solid fundamentals and loyal workforce

Two clear strengths emerged in this year’s results. First, employees feel the organization provides good benefits and sufficient staffing resources – fundamental aspects of any highly functioning workplace:

Another strength is the loyalty and longevity of the institution’s workforce. Employees feel secure in their jobs and are interested in promotion opportunities and long-term careers with Michigan Medicine:


We aren’t perfect

In addition to strengths, a key aspect of the survey is to identify broad areas where there is opportunity to improve. Within this year’s results, professional growth and communication/input were identified as key areas of focus for potential improvement.

What does that mean? First, while many employees want to remain with the organization (see Solid Fundamentals, above), they don’t always see a clear path to climb the ladder at Michigan Medicine. More structured professional development opportunities and more clearly defined career paths are needed:

Second, employees collectively feel that their managers could be more effective by improving communication and actively seeking input from team members:

“Employees aren’t sure about what’s happening in the institution or where we’re headed in the next few years. This includes large organizational initiatives and goals and the ‘why’ behind them,” said Kathleen McCool, Michigan Medicine employee communications manager. “Institutionally, we work hard to keep employees at all levels informed; however, we are a large organization with geographically separated team members – therefore, it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure open and continuous communication occurs.”

Next steps

For leadership teams, survey results represent the beginning – not the end – of the survey process. Now it’s time to put those results into meaningful action. Over the next couple of months, leaders will prepare to act on the feedback provided in the survey through a process called action planning. Through action planning, leaders will identify specific steps and strategies to build upon strengths and areas that concern employees most.

For the first time, all departments will action plan in part around the same areas for improvement: Professional Growth and Communication and Input.

You can expect to hear more about your department’s specific survey results, as well as actions plans when they are complete.

In the meantime, employees should continue to share thoughts with their management team and celebrate the things that are going well.