The employee survey is a standard tool for businesses looking to understand their organization. They are, however, limited in their potential for really understanding how to move the organization forward, especially compared with Energy MappingTM for two main reasons.

First, traditional employee surveys invite employees to think of their relationship with the “company.”

 Energy is the impact that employees have on each other. Positive energy is characterized by aliveness, vitality, zest and motivation. It can also be negative with the opposite effect.  Positive energy creates extraordinarily high levels of performance and, specifically, high capacity for collaboration.

From the respondent perspective surveys are about me. When you invite someone to complete a survey you put them emotionally and intelligently in a place dominated by their own interest. And this leads them to evaluate the transaction, “what do I get” (e.g. salaries, benefits) for “what I give” (e.g. time, effort).

It may seem obvious, but this is a critical limitation of traditional tools.  We are less interested about how people think about the company and more about how they work together. That is the key to understanding how we achieve common purposes. 

We need to explicitly explore the organization in terms of how people work together. We shift the frame or perspective of employees. , They become focused not on their relationship with the company (a transaction) but on their relationships with each other (the culture).

Traditional employee research treats all employees and all viewpoints as equally valid. 

Of course all employees are important.  But strategically, organizations will be misled if they focus their attention on the average. The average reflects discordant viewpoints and even the perspectives of disgruntled employees. This makes the average a misleading metric. It may also be hard to improve.

It really matters who is expressing the viewpoint because some people are more likely to be listened to, more likely to support change, and more likely to be a positive influence on others. Traditional survey research tends to obscure the source of the information.

We need to pay special attention to the well-connected and positively impactful employees. These employees are an incredible source of information, are brand ambassadors and effective change agents. You have them, but you need a tool to find them.

Energy Mapping TM is a new innovative approach for gathering employee feedback that differs in important ways from traditional surveys. A mapping approach:

  • Invites employees to think of the community of people they work with not their relationship with their boss or company.
  • Gives you a picture of the whole, but also identifies your Super Energizers. Employees who can help you achieve your goals and can facilitate change.
  • Gets at the fundamental underlying culture of the organization so the solutions are holistic and therefore more effective.
  • Focuses on what we know employees can tell us – how they are working together.
  • Understands that satisfaction is multi-dimensional so the focus should be on a key driver of productivity – energy.

For more information, on how Energy Mapping TM can help your organization improve its’ collaboration, please reach out to

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Richard Jenkins Ph.D