Continuous listening and contextual analysis can help organizations take meaningful actions that build positive employee experiences.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: In honor of the recent Outsmart summit, which took place online from May 5-6, 2021, we’re excited to bring you this article by two speakers Melissa Arronte, Employee Experience Solution Principal at Medallia, and Ian Cook, VP, People Analytics at Visier. This blog was originally published by Visier.)
There’s a good reason why employee experience has become more than a buzzword: When approached correctly, it can have a big impact on corporate performance. Achieving results, however, is not all about yoga or foosball tables — because the employee experience is deeply rooted in the work itself.
Many people show up to their jobs wanting to make a difference and fulfill a purpose. But then they encounter a myriad of obstacles, like difficult systems, antiquated processes, inexperienced managers, lack of advancement opportunities, or poor information flow between teams. Resentment builds, leading to turnover, presenteeism, and lower customer satisfaction.
Whether you are an HR leader or a people manager, tackling these issues can feel a bit like you’re trying to boil the ocean. But with the right approach, you can hone in on the connection between employee experience and business outcomes, delivering results for your people and the organization.
The key to focusing on the right employee experience levers is to get the right insight — and then take the appropriate action. When it comes to getting a clear picture of how different dynamics are impacting your employees and the business, there are two main approaches to consider: continuous listening and contextual analysis.
With a continuous listening approach enabled by an employee experience platform, organizations solicit real-time feedback from employees. People voice their concerns about the issues that matter the most to them in real time, whether it’s through micropulse surveys, video, or questions that are integrated into existing workflows.
This can be a powerful way to not just understand employee sentiment, but also understand the customer experience. Often, frustrations build when people can’t make up for a bad process that ends up affecting the customer. This is just one example of how better listening can support business impact.
There are many different types of career events that could influence whether an employee is feeling frustrated or enthused in their day-to-day work. But these changes don’t show up in static org charts. A people analytics platform captures the order and timing of hires, promotions, pay raises, and exits — giving you the story behind the situation at hand.
This enables people managers and other decision makers to easily see what threads connect or change an employee’s experience over time, enabling them to intervene before it festers and becomes a turnover problem or a customer service issue.
Continuous listening and contextual analysis are vital to gaining insight into the employee experience — but one doesn’t preclude you from using the other.
In fact, bringing both the context and in-the-moment insights together provides a seamless understanding of how the employee experience impacts your overall business and financial outcomes.
Here are three examples of what this integrated approach looks like in practice:
When employees leave soon after their start dates, it has a significant bottom line impact. You won’t be able to see returns on the investment you made in attracting, hiring, and training those people.
To avoid this situation, employers survey employees 30, 60, and 90 days after their start dates. This is the standard interval for getting feedback from new hires. But what if you’re losing most of your people at 29 days? By following the standard, you won’t capture the right information at the right time.
A people analytics platform shows you precisely where you’re losing people in the onboarding phase. Once you know where to focus, you can set up a survey to go out at that precise time to gather feedback and determine what needs to be addressed. This will help you build up a layer of practice based on insight — not tradition for tradition’s sake.
When you pulse people more frequently, you collect more data that can be used for analysis. For example, if a number of employees are reporting a spike in stress, the survey results can feed into the analytics platform, which helps managers see this data and compare it to their peers’ teams at an aggregate level.
Based on this comparison, the manager can determine if the stress spike is due to a problem within their team or if it is an issue that is more widespread across the organization. The manager can then initiate some conversations to address the problem before it starts impacting organization-wide turnover rates or customer satisfaction due to lower employee engagement.
Major career events can influence employee sentiment — but employees don’t always report them as sources of disruption in the feedback they provide. For example, continuous listening might reveal that employee satisfaction is dipping, and while nobody may have explicitly spelled it out this way, you have a hunch that the drop is due to a job transfer or change in manager.
With people analytics, you can put this theory to the test. Analytics helps you understand what has changed, and even uncover whether an employee group just came under the direction of an inexperienced manager or a new hire manager.
This is just one example of how continuous listening alerts you to an overall change in mood, and then the analytics helps you delve deeper into the why behind that change — so you can act on the right issues quickly.
Gone are the days when HR would execute administrative tasks and then survey people about whether they were satisfied with those processes. Leading organizations are digging deeper into what their people actually care about and what impacts their ability to get things done — and, in turn, how people leaders and HR can take action and develop solutions.
Most people come to work wanting to make a difference. They want to help your customers. They want to support their colleagues. But then organizations unintentionally set up roadblocks. With the right listening and analytical tools, you can remove unnecessary struggles, and help people focus on what matters most.
Register for Medallia’s Experience 21 to join Melissa and Ian on Thursday, May 20 for an interactive session on how organizations can unify employee and customer experience data to predict and improve overall business outcomes.