"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." Ernest Hemingway
What is true as general advice for people also certainly holds for organizations. Great organizations like great people are good listeners.
Gallup started measuring employee engagement from 2000, and since then, the figures have refused to budge much. Gallup reports that only 32% of US employees are engaged while the world wide average is even worse at 13%. Employee engagement surveys have attracted their own share of criticism with doubts over the science they are based on. Also clearly, onus for many aspects of engagement also lie with the employee. As organizations are discovering, building trust and getting employees engaged is not easy.
Engagement can positively impact business results, assuming that other elements such as organization agility, leadership and capability building are in place. Considering the promise engagement holds to accelerate business results, it is no surprise that improving engagement levels is a key priority for organizations. Employees also perceive culture and leadership as among the most important aspects of the organization. Notwithstanding the opinions on the methodology for measuring engagement scores, there is agreement that organizations need to listen carefully and act quickly on employee feedback.
The feedback process has to overcome the current issues of: being infrequent, slow to action, addressing primarily broad organization level issues. The transition to a more frequent, local/team level, quick action oriented process which is required is depicted below.
Technology is playing a major role in the feedback segment aimed at measuring and improving employee engagement. While the major HCM players (SAP Successfactors, Oracle HCM, Workday) do have the functionality for employee surveys, this is a time when a large number of specialized small players have also launched cloud feedback solutions. The key considerations of such applications is ease of use, ready templates for a wide variety of surveys, ability to customize, benchmarking, actions planning & progress tracking, and incorporating modern talent science. Some apps also include functionality for culture assessment and employee fit to culture.
As more organizations go global & become more diverse, technology is key to understanding employee sentiment and feedback across all business units, locations and teams. Organizations realize today that they need to listen more and respond quickly, and technology is making that possible.