Are Your Employees Passengers or Drivers?

Are Your Employees Passengers or Drivers?

The Difference between Employee Satisfaction and Employee Engagement Surveys

Though they may sound similar, there is a difference between employee satisfaction and employee engagement surveys. An employee engagement survey is the better tool to gauge the involvement of employees in your firm and can go a long way in turning passengers (those employees who are satisfied with their job but not engaged) into drivers (those employees who are truly engaged)..  The drivers in your firm could become future leaders and potential succession candidates.  Daniel Pink’s book, Drive challenges the belief that employees are motivated by just their paycheck and their title. What really drives people, Pink professes, are the intangibles, the intrinsic satisfaction that we get from what we do (Warren Buffet calls it the ‘Inward Scorecard’).  With increased competition to recruit and retain top talent, the idea of employee engagement has taken center stage as a way to measure an employee’s willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ for the company by expending discretionary time and talent.

Can a firm have satisfied employees who are not engaged and vice versa? The reality is that an engaged employee is also probably a satisfied employee; few people are willing to go the extra mile for their employer unless they are happy in their jobs. However, it is certainly possible to have a satisfied employee who is not engaged — someone who shows up to work and goes through the motions, collects their paycheck, but does not demonstrate a lot of initiative or put in any extra effort to further the success of the firm. That’s why focusing on employee satisfaction without addressing employee engagement is unlikely to foster the kind of performance that drives firm results.

A word of caution regardless of which type of survey you may be inclined to use with your employees, the very fact that you are soliciting input will set an expectation that you are going to make changes or act upon the data.  Before launching a survey make sure you are committed to do something with the information you obtain. Otherwise, your best option would be to not do a survey at all.

Employee satisfaction surveys measure the employee’s level of “happiness” with their current job. These surveys typically include a range of questions regarding satisfaction with work and working conditions; such as pay and reward structures, how employees are managed, working conditions, etc.  They are really measuring an individual's perceptions of these parameters compared to their own expectations.

Employee engagement surveys measure the employee’s emotional commitment to the firm and the amount of discretionary effort an employee expends on behalf of the firm.

A few years ago The Conference Board published "Employee Engagement, A Review of Current Research and Its Implications". According to this report, twelve major studies on employee engagement had been published over the prior years by top research firms such as Gallup, Towers Perrin, Blessing White, the Corporate Leadership Council and others. Most of these engagement surveys agreed on these key drivers regarding employee engagement:

  • Trust and integrity – How well do managers communicate and 'walk the talk'?
  • Nature of the job – Is it mentally stimulating day-to-day?
  • Line of sight between employee performance and company performance – Does the employee understand how their work contributes to the firm's performance?
  • Career growth opportunities – Are there future opportunities for growth?
  • Pride about the company – How much self-esteem does the employee feel by being associated with their company?
  • Coworkers/team members – How much do they feel about the people they work with every day?
  • Employee development – Is the company making an effort to develop the employee's skills?
  • Relationship with one's manager – Does the employee value his or her relationship with his or her manager?

In order to continue to be competitive, firms can no longer be satisfied with satisfied employees. Today’s organizations enjoying the greatest success are those that have excelled at getting their people engaged as well as aligned with their firm goals. These studies also show that, on average, engaged employees outperform their non-engaged counterparts by upwards of 25%!  What can that extra productivity do to your bottom line? 

Jennifer Specter
Human Capital
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Cruz Consulting Group, founded by Kelli Cruz — a leading business consulting firm for advisory firms and industry partners, utilizes their experience of over 20 years to bri ... Click for full bio

Rosie the Robot, Amazon, and the Future of RAAI

Rosie the Robot, Amazon, and the Future of RAAI

Written by: Travis Briggs, CEO at ROBO Global US

It’s tough to find a kid out there who hasn’t dreamed about robots. Long before artificial intelligence existed in the real world, the idea of a non-human entity that could act and think like a human has been rooted in our imaginations. According to Greek legends, Cadmus turned dragon teeth into soldiers, Hephaestus fabricated tables that could “walk” on their own three legs, and Talos, perhaps the original “Tin Man,” defended Crete. Of course, in our own times, modern storytellers have added hundreds of new examples to the mix. Many of us grew up watching Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons. As we got older, the stories got more sophisticated. “Hal” in 2001: A Space Odyssey was soon followed by R2-D2 and C-3PO in the original Star Wars trilogy. RoboCop, Interstellar, and Ex Machina are just a few of the recent additions to the list.

Maybe it’s because these stories are such a part of our culture that few people realize just how far robotics has advanced today—and that artificial intelligence is anything but a futuristic fantasy. Ask anyone outside the industry how modern-day robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are used in the real world, and the answers are usually pretty generic. Surgical robots. Self-driving cars. Amazon’s Alexa. What remains a mystery to most is the immense and fast-growing role the combination of robotics automation and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”), plays in nearly every aspect of our everyday lives.

Today, shopping online is something most of us take for granted, and yet eCommerce is still in its relative infancy. Despite double-digit growth in the past four years, only 8% of total retail spending is currently done online. That number is growing every day. Business headlines in July announced that Amazon was on a hiring spree to add another 50K fulfillment employees to its already massive workforce. While that certainly reflects the shift from brick-and-mortar to web-based retail, it doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what this growth means for the technology and application firms that deliver the RAAI tools required to support the momentum of eCommerce. In 2017, only 5% of the warehouses that fuel eCommerce are even partially automated. This means that to keep up with demand, the application of RAAI will have to accelerate—and fast. In fact, RAAI is a key driver of success for top e-retailers like Amazon, Apple, and Wal-Mart as they strive to meet the explosion in online sales.

From an investor’s perspective, this fast-growing demand for robotics, automation and artificial intelligence is a promising opportunity—especially in logistics automation that includes the tools and technologies that drive efficiencies across complex retail supply chains. Considering the fact that four of the top ten supply chain automation players were acquired in the past three years, it’s clear that the industry is transforming rapidly. Amazon’s introduction of Prime delivery (which itself requires incredibly sophisticated logistics operations) was only made possible by its 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems, the pioneer of autonomous mobile robots for warehouses and supply chains. Amazon recently upped the ante yet again with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market, which not only adds 450 warehouses to its immense logistics network, but is also expected to be a game-changer for the online grocery retail industry.

Clearly Amazon isn’t the only major driver of innovation in logistics automation. It’s just the largest, at least for the moment. It’s no wonder that many RAAI companies have outperformed the S&P500 in the past three years. And while some investors have worried that the RAAI movement is at risk of creating its own tech bubble, the growth of eCommerce is showing no signs of reaching a peak. In fact, if the online retail industry comes even close to achieving the growth predicted—of doubling to an amazing $4 trillion by 2020—it’s likely that logistics automation is still in the early stages of adoption. For best-of-breed players in every area of logistics automation, from equipment, software, and services to supply chain automation technology providers, the potential for growth is tremendous.

How can investors take advantage of the growth in robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence?


One simple way to track the performance of these markets is through the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index. The logistics subsector currently accounts for around 9% of the index and is the best performing subsector since its inception. The index includes leading players in every area of RAAI, including material handling systems, automated storage and retrieval systems, enterprise asset intelligence, and supply chain management software across a wide range of geographies and market capitalizations. Our index is research based and we apply quality filters to identify the best high growth companies that enable this infrastructure and technology that is driving the revolution in the retail and distribution world.

When I was a kid, I may have dreamed of having a Rosie the Robot of my own to help do my chores, but I certainly had no idea how her 21st century successors would revolutionize how we shop, where we shop, and even how we receive what we buy - often via delivery to our doorstep on the very same day. Of course, the use of RAAI is by no means limited to eCommerce. It’s driving transformative change in nearly every industry. But when it comes to enabling the logistics automation required to support a level of growth rarely seen in any industry, RAAI has a lot of legs to stand on—even if those “legs” are anything but human.

To learn more, download A Look Into Logistics Automation, our July 2017 whitepaper on the evolution and opportunity of logistics automation.


The ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index and the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation UCITS Index (the “Indices”) are the property of ROBO who have contracted with Solactive AG to calculate and maintain the Indices. Past performance of an index is not a guarantee of future results. It is not intended that anything stated above should be construed as an offer or invitation to buy or sell any investment in any Investment Fund or other investment vehicle referred to in this website, or for potential investors to engage in any investment activity.
ROBO Global
Robotics and AI
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ROBO Global LLC is the creator of the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index series, which provides comprehensive, transparent and diversified benchmarks representing the ... Click for full bio