From our background of customer experience (CX), we approach the challenge of creating inspired, motivated employees from a rather different perspective to the traditional HR-led models in the industry. We start bottom-up.
Because whilst you may think you know the key issues to creating a great employee experience, the truth is you often don’t truly know why. To get to the distinctive things about how employees experience your organisation, we focus most of our effort in their own stories – their language, their examples, their emotion. As researchers, we’re used to capturing unstructured feedback – rather than always forcing employees to give a score or pick from a drop-down box.
We recognise that this is a different starting point from the established surveys that the HR industry use, which we also use.
Surveys do make a great job of providing a standardised structure for the high-level drivers of engagement, including elements like Trust, Quality of Life, My Manager and so on.
We’ve developed our own approach for employee engagement, whilst keeping the best from the established models that firms are used to.
Rick Harris - Customer Faithful
But this top-down approach has a problem. It’s entirely controlled and pre-determined by management from the outset.
We can see the appeal of doing this, especially for benchmarking against your competitors – because everyone is capturing employee experience in the same highly-structured way.But is that really the route to capturing the essence of how your workforce feels?
Our approach is quite simple and runs across three streams of employee feedback activity:
1) Listening Groups – facilitated by our impartial moderators who enable employees to speak as freely as they like. We run LOTS of them, getting representation from different types of job role, office location and length of time in the organisation.
2) Employee Surveys – evolved from standard engagement surveys to provide some continuity tracking, but can also introduce some metrics and ideas we’ve learned from other industries.
3) Open Comment Boxes – wherever we ask a structured question in a survey, we also encourage employees to “tell it their way”. We usually get a huge amount of feedback in this way, which we then interpret, code and distill into themes. We’ve developed a methodology that enables this intensive task to be done in a smart, cost-effective way; a combination of AI powered software and manual interpretation.
The true beauty of this approach is that our clients still get a read on employee engagement in the traditional structure, so they can compare to previous years’ results, or against competitors or even other industries. But the distinctive benefit is that they also capture the granular, individual clues and experiences that crystallise their unique employee culture.
Why is this approach better than the rest?
We have the capability to split the data up (so we know which office, region, job role has raised more comments about some issues than others). This enables local initiatives to be created, whilst also using it as grassroots best-practice, to build up towards company-wide engagement. And throughout, we place safeguards to protect the confidentiality of employee feedback, to ensure that the insight can be true-to-life rather than people saying what they think is expected!
It allows a company to pinpoint and define what makes their culture unique and develop it further.
Perhaps best of all, companies that can empower their workforce to be who they really are, can see positive change in both employee wellbeing and work-life balance. Unlocking the potential of a workforce in such a way does not just create happier employees, it supports commercial success too.