Employee engagement and employee experience surveys have become an HR staple.
In spite of their prevalence, a survey by TLNT and HRmarketer revealed that many of these surveys are a wasted effort:
- 45% of respondents feel that the survey being used by their organization had little or no value for managers or employees.
- 48% of senior managers feel these surveys are highly valuable, but only 19% of other respondents felt the same.
- 48% of respondents believe that the surveys are not providing an honest or accurate employee assessment.
Our own research has shown that when employee experience surveys are conducted and no follow up action is taken, employee engagement actually drops.
And it looks like this may be happening quite often.
58% of respondents state that data gathered from these surveys does not or only slightly helps managers know what behaviors or practices to change in order to positively influence the employee experience.
It’s obvious that the current system is broken.
For leaders interested in not being a part of the 58% collecting useless (or nearly useless) data, here are a few things to consider:
Make the employee experience part of your business strategy, not an annual event
This means that having a workforce that actually finds meaning and purpose in their work is no longer just an HR problem; it’s a much bigger strategic problem.
Ask questions like "Why?" and "Where should I focus?" rather than "How many?" and "How do we compare?"
Using the voice of the employee to understand why and where to focus will help leaders take real, meaningful actions to change EX.
Driver analysis that identifies the most important area to focus on to improve EX — paired with open-ended comments from employees— can arm your managers with a simple, clear understanding of what needs to improve and what they can do to boost engagement.
Focus on internal benchmarks vs. external benchmarks
Benchmarks are concerned with averages, aggregates, and incremental scores.
But a survey that is used as part of an overall EX plan will focus on action – looking at work group priorities and helping managers develop targeted, realistic plans.
Over time, your best benchmarks are historical – an assessment of how successful your actions have been to move the needle – more than an external comparison that has little or no meaning to the actual experience your own employees are having.
In Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd, Harvard Marketing Professor Youngme Moon writes,
A funny thing happens the minute you begin to capture comparative differences on paper: There is a natural inclination for folks in the comparative set to focus on eliminating those differences, rather than accentuating them.
And while she is writing about Marketing and CX, the same rules apply to EX – focusing on where you compare to others in your industry will, at best, help you create employee experiences that are essentially exactly like that of your closest competition.
Who wants that?
Don't assume your employees only care about how they personally experience your business
Your average employee experience survey focuses on work experience issues and topics of satisfaction and engagement.
But the average employee is hugely motivated by how their work impacts the customer experience.
With that in mind, for an employee experience survey to be truly impactful, it also needs to gather information on how well the company enables employees to solve the customers’ problems.
Identify areas where barriers could be removed to improve both the external and internal customer experiences.
If your goal is to measure employee engagement, then the traditional employee engagement survey should continue working for you.
If your goal, however, is to provide your managers with a clear action plan on how to improve employee engagement then it may be time to consider a more holistic approach to the employee experience.
Use the voice of your employees to improve EX!
About the Author
Sean McDade, PhD is the author of Listen or Die: 40 Lessons That Turn Customer Feedback Into Gold. He founded PeopleMetrics in 2001 and is the architect of the company’s customer experience management (CEM) software platform. As CEO, he guides the company’s vision and strategy. Sean has over 20 years of experience helping companies measure and improve the customer experience. Earlier in his career, he spent five years at the Gallup Organization, where he was the practice leader of their consulting division. His company offers CEM software with advanced machine learning solutions and hands-on analytical support to help companies make sense of their CX data. Sean holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration with a specialization in marketing science from Temple University in Philadelphia. He has published eight articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and has taught over 25 marketing classes. Sean was named a 40 under 40 award recipient of the Philadelphia region. He is an active Angel Investor, including investments in Tender Greens, CloudMine and Sidecar.
Topic: Employee Experience