87% of organisations cite employee engagement 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 organisations to measure employee engagement is an employee survey. I have found different figures quoted by others as to the number of companies who run employee surveys.
Survey usage ranges from a low of 66% of companies to a whopping 92% of companies. Whatever figure is correct, a lot of organisations are using employee surveys to gauge their relationship with their employees. The idea being that these surveys will produce data findings that can be interpreted into insight that in turn will lead to improvement actions.
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 organisation, 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.
Admittedly, I have never had a direct role in an HR function but for many years, I have worked very closely with the HR function.
My interactions have largely been when helping companies improve the experience that they deliver for their customers – be it stakeholder insight, internal communications or establishing and monitoring customer facing behaviours.
What strikes me is that we now have both super sophisticated technology to establish and embed the voice of the customer into the organisation, and powerful techniques to analyse the data that this produces; but we don’t do this for the voice of the employee.
Why don’t we treat employees in the same way as customers? Surely it is just as important to understand how happy and committed employees are (and why or why not)? I am still seeing the use of the same traditional, annual, long tick box surveys that have been around for many years, as part of standard HR practices that are inwardly looking and outdated.
adidas treats employees as they would customers
adidas is one company that is taking its customer feedback approach and applying it internally to employees. The adidas People Pulse is a dynamic, monthly, mobile-first survey which focuses on arriving at a People Score.
The survey, which replaced an 80-question predecessor that previously took months to administer, is an ongoing pulse survey that asks simply for an eNPS score (employee net promoter i.e. how likely the employee is to recommend the company as a place to work) and 2 further questions.
It takes just 5 minutes to complete. The People Score has been adopted by the organisation as a top metric within adidas, used alongside revenue and share price.
The fact that adidas has the role of ‘Director of People Analytics’ speaks volumes. I did a quick search on LinkedIn for Customer Analytics and there were 8,846 results. The same search replacing customer for people, produced only 611 hits.
“What gets measured, gets done” – or does it?
Unfortunately, the adidas approach to people feedback and people analytics is not the norm and is not widely adopted. The standard approach for listening to employees, still appears to be old fashioned employee surveys.
There is a long list of employee oriented surveys and feedback mechanics which fall into this camp: employee satisfaction, employee engagement, candidate feedback, on-boarding surveys, exit interviews, employee opinion, employee feedback and organisation culture to name but a few. So, there is lots of capturing of scores; but is there much meaningful insight and impactful action following?
Surveys usually take a long time to turn around and are (human) labour intensive. There is heavy lifting at the front end in design and origination, agreement of question and even more heavy lifting of data management, collation and analysis at the back end. It hasn’t tended to be an agile or flexible process.