Employee Engagement Practices are changing significantly
The way companies are measuring employee engagement is significantly changing. This is one of the key findings from a study on employee engagement by Gartner (see Is It Time to Toss Out Your Old Employee Engagement Survey? from Nov 2018). In 2020, they expect at least 20% of HR and IT department to have objectives to change their employee engagement practices. What is the reason?
A classic annual employee survey, which is still run by 74% of all companies, is gradually replaced by other methods. The need is moving into a more complete and current perspective. This cannot be covered by the classic approach anymore.
An increase in frequency seems to be a must-have for everyone. But, to which extent are employees willing to respond to surveys on a more frequent basis? And, how do HR departments cope with an increasing amount of data?
Rising use of engagement data from other sources
New approaches start to reach beyond the nature of surveys. Surveys will never be capable of replacing 1:1 talks with all employee. But, the use of data and technology brings new options to get closer to employees. Gartner expects 59% of all organization to use engagement data from other sources than formal surveys.
In 2019 HR leaders from major companies started to invest into AI solutions. Amber from Infeedo for example offers a chat bot to foster engagement in companies. This could become a new trend pretty soon.
Anyhow, there is also a drawback. The use of data encourages advanced analytics going beyond pure feedback. Investigations into sentiment behind interactions drive the ambition, to find employees behaving abusively. As highlighted in an article on Medium, Amber found out, that these employees are meant to behave the same way towards their colleagues. 74% of them have turned out to be leaving the company pretty soon. Interesting data, if you are running for „cleaning up“ your company. But would you want to do so?
You must not forget, that data from employee engagement requires a significant portion of trust. As soon as employees feel they are monitored and rated by the systems, they will change their behavior. By then, your employee engagement practices will turn into a fake rather than a real measurement. All value will be gone.
3 Everlasting Employee Engagement Practices
Therefore, here are three everlasting employee engagement practices, which need to be respected when delving into employee engagement data:
Be transparent on the engagement data
Employees using employee engagement tools must have full access to the analysis. As soon as you hide away information from them, they will become suspicious. Irrespective if and how you are using the data or not, the trust in sensible and careful use of the data might be gone.
Have employees decide which data to share
Your employees are intelligent people. Even before they have decided to input data in your employee engagement tool, they have an idea about what you might be after. Whenever they feel like the information might be used against them at some point of time, they will either refuse to respond or they will start to cheat the system.
You must never bring your employees in situations, where they are urged to cheat. It’s a behavior you will not want in your company, as it can harm your whole company culture. Therefore, allow your employees to decide for themselves, what data to share.
If your employees reject to respond to your employee engagement tool, it is a hint on missing reasoning. You must be transparent and clear with your intentions to get a buy in from them.
Turn data into supportive actions (rather than cleaning out)
A response to an employee engagement tool must pay off for employees. The more value they will get from the tool, the more the will like it and engage to provide accurate and relevant information. Opposite, if they feel like the information will be used for success stories and blaming only, their motivation will be gone.
Even more, for employees it will be relevant to experience supportive actions. If they find out that actions are meant to clean out unwanted responses or respondents, they will change their behavior immediately again.
Turn the data into supportive actions and make them transparent to the organization. This will build up trust. Even better, involve the employees in turning data into actions!
Using „League of Teams“ for Employee Engagement
Another approach to modern employee engagement practices can be found in the concept of our tool League of Teams. The self-service tool offers an ideal entrance point to continuous employee engagement surveillance.
In League of Teams employees and teams all over the organization are maintaining information about their person and their purpose, qualifications and procedures, and objectives. With the intention of fostering self-organization, the tool does not make any assumptions on what and when information is provided. Data provisioning is solely driven by the needs of the employees – on all levels of the organization („if you need it, you need to feed it“).
The provisioning of data on one’s own responsibility addresses one central aspect: it discloses engagement in improving, supporting, and using the organization. This way, data about employee engagement is continuously generated. You just need to use it instead of making dedicated request or running isolated solutions.
Another central aspect is public access to all reports: in League of Teams they are available to all employees. Thereby, every employee can validate findings, draw conclusions, and even derive supportive actions and make them transparent to the rest.
As you can see, League of Team respects the three practices while giving instant and continuous access to insights.
P.S. We still recommend the use of traditional employee engagement tools. To make ensure, that the three rudimentary employee engagement practices are respected, we are even planning for integrations for them. By then, these survey based engagement tools can be used to answer more concrete questions, which might not be derived from data – voluntarily and on demand.
Read also how employees at Zalando responded to the introduction of new employee engagement practices by the evaluation system Zonar: Evaluationssysteme für Mitarbeiter: Einbindung oder Überwachung (German only).