The world is changing at a rapid pace and our assumptions about life and ‘the way things work’ are regularly challenged. In a more positive light, this suggests the world is full of opportunities. For both individuals and the organisations they represent. While there might be several projects we want to undertake, we often can’t do everything, so choices need to be made on what to focus on.
As an organisation, knowing how to prioritise actions in response to a change can require several elements to come together, but it often starts by listening to gather essential information required to make informed decisions. Employees are important contributors to this process. They are typically the ones charged with bringing the organisation’s vision to life, so their wellbeing and ongoing engagement with the organisation’s mission is vitally important.
Traditional employee feedback programs miss the mark
Imagine it’s the start of 2020 and your organisation is completing its annual employee feedback program for the year. Weeks of internal communications lead to a three-week window to share your experiences at work. After several reminders to ‘have your say’, you eventually respond. Your reward? Pages of rating questions that, seemingly, were designed to measure every angle of your working life. Eventually you get a chance to share how you really feel in a free text field, if you make it that far.
Now imagine it’s March 2020. The world looks very different than just a month or two ago. Do you have something new to say?
Finger on the pulse
There is a clear shortcoming with annual employee feedback programs: they are not frequent enough. Certainly not for organisations looking to be agile and responsive as the landscape continually changes. But how often is enough? Inviting feedback every 6 months? 3 months? Monthly?
Whatever the frequency, it’s important for organisations to find a sustainable rhythm that makes sense for their unique circumstances. There is little point in listening if you are not prepared to respond or take action within an appropriate timeframe. In fact, it is very easy for employees to become disengaged if they don’t hear about (or see) changes happening as a result of the feedback they shared.
The difference employee feedback frequency can make
In 2020, our clients with monthly feedback programs were in a unique position to respond to the disruptive forces of the pandemic. Their workplace companions powered by Conversational AI to engage in two-way conversations with employees, were updated in March to support the tracking of COVID-related feedback and to measure the level of sentiment across teams in different countries.
One specific client that pivoted this way was GHD – click to see the video of GHD’s Global Talent Management Leader, Elliot Wood, describe the impacts of working from home on employee well-being, and the importance of having a constant pulse on your employees.
Monthly conversations with AI-powered workplace companions allowed employees to share what was important to them at a critical time, helping their organisations identify and prioritise the areas needing immediate attention (e.g. helping employees transition to working from home by supplying them with the right equipment, or highlighting that certain key messages weren’t resonating with its employees). The monthly cadence also enabled these organisations to observe the impact of their actions as they continued to calibrate their response to the pandemic.
Meaningful employee insights
While the example above highlights the importance of speed, businesses also shouldn’t be jumping at shadows. Organisations need to be confident that the information they’ve collected will allow them to make the right decisions – or at least informed decisions. This is where the conversational approach to capturing employee feedback excels, as it empowers employees to share what is important to them, in their own words. This enables organisations to focus on the things that matter and not strictly on measuring the things the organisation deems as important. Evolved Employee ListeningTM allows organisations to operate at the speed of business by capturing 300% more feedback than traditional surveys and then automatically classifying that feedback into the key drivers of positive and negative employee engagement.
Naturally, as fast as everything can seem to move, not everything requires immediate action. Some developments require a quick response, while others require observation over time to determine if something is substantive enough to warrant action. Establishing an operational rhythm where employees are regularly encouraged to share their experiences gets you the best of both worlds.
Find out more
If you would like to learn more about our approach to employee listening head to our Evolved Employee Experience page, submit your details here, or simply connect with me on LinkedIn if you would like to have a chat.