How continuous listening eclipses employee engagement surveys

Photo: Questback

Engagement surveys are conducted infrequently, with their results often emerging long after they were fully relevant. To boost productivity, increase motivation and engagement – particularly in larger organisations – continuous listening could hold the trump card, and Questback, with its Beats tool, says it has found a way of playing it.

The purpose of continuous listening is to catch trends in time. It provides almost a near real-time method of capturing issues experienced by employees in their infancy, allowing for a much faster response time for remedial action.

When compared with conventional methods of gauging employee engagement levels, a continuous tool should help businesses get several months ahead on implementing positive changes. It skips the several months of set up, execution and analysis required by the traditional employee survey.

The annual survey’s long-winded way of gaining a snapshot adds risks for organisations – risks that could entail falls in productivity, revenue and the loss of talent.

The business case

Although recent research by Deloitte has found that nearly 80% of executives rate employee experience important or very important to their business, only 22% reported that their company was excellent at building a differentiated employee experience.

This statistic should be a point of concern for companies considering that the total cost of losing an employee can amount to 100% of the employee’s annual salary. When retention issues have a big negative impact on profits, an investment in continuous listening makes sound business sense.

This becomes clearer when we consider that a high level of employee engagement results in 21% greater productivity over workplaces where there is less engagement, according to the US Chamber of Commerce. Standard methods of measuring engagement do not pick up decline until it may be too late to prevent a fall in productivity. By keeping track of employee engagement week after week, businesses are able to detect cause and effect, and deal with sudden dips, far more rapidly.

Periods of change within companies, right up to corporate mergers, can produce rapid shifts in engagement and motivation that can only be picked up with frequent tracking. Continuous listening, if used in these situations, could be a decisive factor in an initiative’s success. It could also be used to gauge employee sentiment and engagement during an annual sales conference or a CEO briefing, allowing businesses to better understand how events like these influence engagement scores.

The administrative burden involved in setting up conventional engagement reports is an obstacle that often raises eyebrows at the head of organisations, and furrows brows among HR employees. Continuous listening, as we shall see, uses technology to ensure that once set up, it runs itself with a minimum of time input from managers and staff.

How does continuous listening work?

Questback’s Beats tool tracks engagement through a simple three-step process:

  1. Running the tool Beats software runs in the background, sending all employees an automated pulse survey once a week.
  2. Analysing results HR and business line managers can access the results at any time to see the current weekly engagement levels, along with trend analysis and topical areas impacting engagement.
  3. Taking action When a manager becomes aware of an issue or an opportunity, they can carry out a “deep dive” survey with a specific area of the business, on a specific topic.

Beats sends employees an automated email every Friday afternoon prompting the user to rate the past week by using five emoticons, asking a few additional questions. It is designed so that employees can complete the survey within 30 seconds.

After just a few weeks of continuous listening, the intuitive dashboard will help draw HR and business line managers’ attention to meaningful deviations, allowing them to deep dive into specific areas of the business. If, for instance, a manager notices a sudden drop in his team’s scores, he can send out a ready-made survey to the team, allowing him to dig deeper into the problem.

Setting up the continuous listening program will only take Questback’s experts a few hours. Trends – which can be shared with as many team members and managers as desired – will begin to emerge within a couple of weeks. But, of course, transparency, feedback and involvement of team leads are important to ensure the system is used to the best advantage of the business.

Questback believes that listening to employees in real-time, not sporadically, will result in higher productivity, better retention rates and reduced absenteeism.

Find out more from Questback on its Beats tool

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