Despite significant investment in employee engagement programs, many organizations continue to see flat engagement scores. There is a better way to understand employees, take action on their feedback and engage the entire workforce.
The rise of the gig economy – the increasing share of work being performed by contractors, temporary workers, and freelancers – had already altered the makeup of the workforce long before COVID-19, but the resulting pandemic is expected to accelerate this trend. Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report found that only 42% of respondents’ organizations were primarily made up of salaried employees. The majority of those same companies anticipated their reliance on the gig workforce would increase in the coming years.
Companies only looking to understand and engage their full-time employees are missing a huge part of the picture. The workforce is any human who works at an organization, both on and off-balance sheet. This includes the full range of workers from equity owners, full-time employees, gig workers, contractors, part-time and other alternative work models. And as some organizations begin to staff back up following cutbacks due to recent economic challenges, many are easing into it by hiring on a contract or contingent basis to cover high-priority initiatives before seeking full-time headcount.
A 2019 research report from ServiceNow found that only 40% of employees “feel their feedback is heard and acted on.” If the entire workforce was considered, those who feel heard would be even smaller. This illustrates the disconnect between employers and their workforce that existed even before the pandemic and the opportunity organizations have to proactively engage the entire workforce where they are and when it matters most.
Engagement surveys have provided significant insights. Through them, we now know more about the drivers of engagement, typical engagement patterns across demographics, the impact of engagement on business results and so much more. We can go deeper and better seek to truly understand our workforce in real time. With always-on feedback, we look to meet workers on their terms and make it easy to gather feedback in the moment using video, audio, mobile apps or workforce portals.
Imagine the ski-slope instructor, likely working long hours on a seasonal contract. In addition to a more traditional engagement survey, why not also send this worker (and all like them) a short digital survey via text or even video after a company announcement that they could quickly respond to in the moment, even while on the ski lift?
Advances in technology have made it easier to collect feedback and ideas directly from the workforce in the course of the workday with real-time reporting via interactive dashboards to all managers and workers. Now we can also combine signals from employees such as performance objectives or patterns of taking time off, with unstructured survey feedback to create a more robust understanding of the workforce experience.
By applying the latest technology to the complete workforce, companies can better understand and engage their workers, driving significant impact to the bottom line. Research from MIT shows that organizations delivering a holistic workforce experience are two times more likely to satisfy their customers and are 25% more profitable.