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Ask Questions to Break Down the Employee Engagement Problem


Primary Question:

Key Points:

To break down the problem into a manageable one you can study to identify what to improve.

What do we know now, and how will we narrow our focus to learn deeply about the problem?

  • Show how prior actions impacted the problem
  • Pick a group to learn from through an experiment 

Begin by stating what you currently know, including what has been done so far to solve the problem and the results of those actions.

Next, identify some criteria to help you choose a reasonably-sized group of employees to focus on.

  • Since you will observe this group and perhaps apply what you learn to other employees, pick a group that shares characteristics with the larger population to be engaged. For example:
    • They perform similar work (e.g., customer service, benefits/claims processing, regulatory compliance).
    • They share a geographic location (e.g., a field office or institution).
  • You may also choose to focus on a group because it has high customer impact, low engagement scores, or turnover issues. Decide what is important.
  • If this is your first problem-solving effort, you may choose a group that is smaller than what you think you can handle, and that is willing to experiment.

When you know which group of employees to focus on, you are ready to Observe to learn more about the employee engagement problem.


A common pitfall in problem-solving is working on too big a problem. This makes it difficult to deeply understand what is happening and pinpoint what to improve.

Back to Employee Engagement Problem-Solving Guide overview and tools page 

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