Over the past year, we saw a wave of organizations adopt the practice of “continuous listening” by more frequently surveying their employees. While this represents a great step forward in the way organizations seek to engage, motivate, and retain their people, it won’t be enough to continue to engage the workforce in 2017. Organizations will need to master the art and science of analyzing and presenting employee feedback—going beyond just frequent surveys and focusing instead on action, in order to sustainably improve people success this upcoming year.
Sustainable improvement to employee engagement doesn’t come from surveys, but rather comes from people—leaders and managers—who take targeted action on an ongoing basis, continually removing the biggest and most critical roadblocks to engagement and performance. In order to most effectively take action, organizations will have to move away from surveys as the design focal point of their programs, and instead shift the focus of their programs to people.
When surveys are at the center, with each individual survey as a snapshot in time, managers and leaders often receive data too slowly to make real-time changes—and they miss out on insights that identify the relationship between engagement and business outcomes. This means they miss key opportunities to pull the right levers to improve both.
With people at the center—and all their feedback from Day 1 to exit revolving around them—leaders and managers can see the impact of each experience, program, and event, on engagement and on the business outcomes that matter. This allows leaders and managers to identify major challenges in the employee experience as they happen, so they can take decisive action to improve.
Further, the most impactful engagement programs go beyond gathering more frequent feedback to emphasize action through the presentation of more relevant, more credible, and clearer insights, which help identify the most critical steps to improvement. Technology is the catalyst—new platforms harness artificial intelligence to use multiple sources of data, such as combining employee feedback over time with demographic information and external data, including performance metrics, to surface the most meaningful insights and even predict likely outcomes in the future.
In order to promote action-taking that sustainably improves employee engagement and business outcomes, organizations should focus on three key design elements: getting usable insights to users quickly, harnessing AI to provide roadmaps to action, and connecting engagement data with organizational outcomes. These requirements will be easier to implement and far more effective when organizations re-architecture their programs to focus on people, rather than surveys.
Surveys alone don’t improve employee engagement. By instead focusing on action, harnessing advanced technology to provide clear, credible, and immediately available results, organizations will be better equipped to design programs that quickly lead to insights and improved business outcomes.
To learn more about why continuous listening isn’t enough to sustainably improve employee engagement, as well as expert advice for improving engagement programs in 2017, join Sara’s webcast on March 21.