What HR could learn from Customer Experience: A people insight and analytics approach
Guest Post by: Amanda Forshew
Employee engagement is cited by 87% of organizations as being one of their top priorities. However, in Gallup’s 2017 global study, they found that only 15% of employees are engaged at work and this figure is believed to be on the decline. One of the most tried and tested means employed by organizations to measure employee engagement is an employee survey.
The question is “How many managers draw real meaning from employee survey findings and ensure that the voice of their employees is really heard?” How many simply carry on with business as usual and add this score into their mixing pot of measures? Whether employee surveys are regarded as a box ticking exercise or an essential pulse of the organization, I find it strange that employee surveys haven’t been given the same attention and level of scrutiny as those that elicit feedback such as NPS, from customers.
Enabling confident data-based people decisions
Technology increases our ability to elicit unstructured, open text feedback straight from the mouths or keyboards of employees; to understand what they are saying and interpret it effectively. Companies don’t have to get employees to rate long lists of attributes or statements based on an internally created hypothesis of what drives employee behavior, engagement or sentiment.
Organizations no longer need to direct employees to respond to their hot topics, whether it’s peer rapport, recognition and feedback, or personal growth. Companies can use data exploration and decision tools to overcome data complexity and derive meaning and real insight – quickly and easily. When people costs often account for up to 60% of corporate variable costs, they should be approached with more rigor and analysis.
Wouldn’t it be great to get to a deeper level of insight but just ask one question of employees, instead of subjecting them to a one off annual ‘examination’ type survey? To get a continual pulse of how employees are feeling and what they are thinking not just when it’s time to do that annual survey? To then combine that insight with all other sources of people data and feedback that inevitably exists within the organization or in other channels such as social media, blogs, focus groups. The whole process can, and should be simplified, and yet would deliver a fuller, truer picture of the employee experience.
The resulting data obtained can be automatically interpreted and analyzed using machine learning and algorithms to establish employee behavior, emotion and the things that really matter; so that companies know what is working, what isn’t and where to focus to improve things? No longer do organizations have to make assumptions, work with hunches or guess what lies beneath the employee scores that they get. They have real evidence to make data-based people decisions. Employee feedback that is quick to get, completely flexible, easy to digest and easy to action.
Employees are happier to give their feedback and share their voice if it takes very little time and effort – and they can feel that they are contributing to something and they will see actions following from their feedback. Employees also feel less straight-jacketed in their responses if they don’t have to wade through the rows and rows of multiple choice questions. They feel entrusted, engaged to give their own, open responses which will, in turn, make for better quality insights. We find that the type of survey described will get on average 100 word responses. People do like to share their story and their experience.
Harnessing valuable people data and taking intelligent action should be part and parcel of great people management. Delivering a great employee experience is inextricably linked to delivering a great customer experience. By capturing and analyzing people data in the same way that technologies are allowing us to do with customer data and acting on the emerging ‘pain points’ will lead to a rise in employee engagement.
Ensuring the voice of employees is heard and identified challenges addressed, creates Smiling companies, Happy Customers.