employee engagement

r.i.p annual engagement surveys

Like a lot of HR professionals, I used to think of the annual ESS survey as being a panacea for employee engagement. The survey consultants I bought from always made such a compelling argument. They would assure me with “Get all of the employees to fill-out 25 or so questions once a year, learn all this great information regarding the employees and associates to change the way they feel, making everyone more effective and engaged”. Obviously, the reality was quite a bit different to the sales pitch. Even if you can ignore the absurdity of only checking in with employees once a year, the process of administering the engagement survey was unpleasant in the extreme.

Is there anybody out there that still believes the yearly engagement survey is an effective use of time or money? Is there anybody left that still thinks that the yearly engagement survey betters engagement?

Anyone recognise the following scene?

Initially you have to get the questions agreed. But, not so fast – Department A just moved offices and therefore would like to include a tonne of questions in conscerning this, while Department B felt there were too many issues last year, and Department C could not care less and will not provide you with any feedback at all. Subsequently the timing never seems right given the usual outcries of “the re structure that is coming up in the sales team” or maybe “the end-of-quarter pressures in finance”.

You eventually believe in the agreed questions and the launch day and then the poor HR team has three or so weeks to convinvce the employees to fill out a survey  form. One year while working for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company the HR team actually designed, produced and wore polo shirts with “Ladies and Gentlemen. Please fill out your survey” emblazened across them – and only achieved a 60% completion rate. After what feels like (and really is) an era, the results come back. And what can they teach you? They let you know what they tell virtually every other business? Employees want better communications, better training and better career opportunities.

The executive team get the results presented and then commit to the dreaded cascade and remedy action planning – but do not want their results to reach the press. Line Managers are typically confused by way of the information is reported or maybe it is at such an aggregated level that it is meaningless for many of them. The internal communications and HR teams remind employees of all of the great improvements that have been implemented with rarely hidden resentment that the scores have hardly shifted. Ultimately, the cascades are actually done, and the action plans are properly hidden in a draw and it is already time to begin planning for the next year’s survey.

And yet, we question why engagement levels have pretty much stagnated for the last decade. Fortunately, the days for this particular HR dinosaur are numbered. HR professionals have realised that gathering insights regarding into an employees’ thoughts and level of engagement isn’t an annual event. Our consumer insight colleagues have taught us that engagement levels is an area to obsess over relentlessly.

Smiley face touch pads, normal pulse surveys on smartphones, text messages to a sample of men and women each week asking, “How is work for you at the moment?” – som businesses I meet are already piloting brand new means of ramping up contact. They are blending qualitative and quantitative study and performing in depth analysis on the crucial moments in their employees’ work days. They are providing Line Managers the resources to do things for themselves with great, affordable apps including CultureAmp, Glint and TINYpulseIn at least one case,  they’re cutting out engagement surveys entirely and encouraging employees to make use of Glassdoor and then reviewing what the comments to create action lists to address any patterns of concern.

Is now the time to question the value you’ve derived during the last couple of years survey seasons? Aside from the executive team feeling better for having ticked the box labelled ‘Staff Engagement’, what has actually changed? For those interested in understanding what employees believe and how they’re feeling, is there not there a better way? 

If we were to adopt a customer mind-set to the workforce, then we would consider the requirements to actually get relevant and actionable employee insights:

  • We would want fast, real-time feedback which promote significant interventions by Line Managers
  • We would gather their views on a range of subjects which they are truly able impact and shape
  • We would request in-depth analysis on what drives and motivates them to enable us to design HR products and services that are meaningful and relevant
  • We would expect to be able to provide Line Managers with a range of tools and techniques that they can easily encorporate into their operations, to develop thier teams effectively

Actually, the resources mentioned above are already available and we can be excited about the brand new generation of employee insight tools, like those offered by the London-based relationship expertise firm Laws of AttractionThey’ve moved past the basic questionnaire and have created methodology which assess emotional, subconscious responses, that provide organisations with a real-time dashboard of the levels of trust, passion, stress and empowerment that prevail within the organisation.

NB: Even though this post contains links to products and services, we do not receive commission for promoting these companies or from purchases made through these links – we just regularly rave about these apps and service providers and want folk to know about them.

If you could do with some help, WINC HR consultants really shine in employment arenas. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future staff members. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including resource managment, hr operations and change communications, especially within the Organisation Design and Development space. Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest news and views on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter

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employee engagement

10 hr solutions for 2018

It’s a necessity to have some idea what the future holds for HR professionals around the world to be able to incorporate several of the upcoming trends into your business. As businesses come closer and closer, managing a company’s people resources has become strategically important to be able to develop and keep a market name, a brand image, and of course, for the general progression of the business. As every generation joins the workforce, they add their methodologies to the workplace. Consequently, new trends emerge each year and the HR teams must mould themselves to navigate these tidal forces. Here we look at several of the trends which are anticipated to dominate the year 2018 in Human Resources and just how your company can benefit by applying them.

1. Blending the workforce

Hiring part-time employees or freelancers has become a trend that’s going to show more prominence in 2018. A blended workforce means having a workforce that doesn’t comprise of only full-time employees. These days, you will find several consultants, contractors, and part-time workers and freelancers, who are known commonly as gig economy workers or perhaps gig workers. A recent survey carried out by Deloitte revealed that on an average, a company’s workforce is comprised of 54% of full time employees, 20% of freelancers, contractors or interns, and 26% of remote workers or part-timers. Thus, with the pattern of a blended workforce looking fixed to grow, the purpose of the HR is going to comprise to include merging these’ gig workers’ with their regular workforce.

2. Apply an agile approach

Speedy operations and the capability of managing unpredictable circumstances are two approaches which are currently being applied by companies to develop their human resource department also. Earlier, these approaches were generally attributed to the field of software development. This method, known as agile HR, can reduce recruitment time to just 2 to 4 weeks, from the erstwhile 10 weeks. The use of the agile approach is making it quick and easy for employees to pick up right away after they join a new company. HR specialists are exploring this approach more to also manage task force volatility and further enhance the adaptability of all areas of the workforce. The agile technique is proven to strengthen the core of any organisation, and the trend is likely to turn out to be increasingly popular throughout 2018.

3. Pilot chatbots in HR

2017 was undoubtedly the year of artificial intelligence (AI). According to data from the research firm IDC, the actual market for AI is expected to cross forty-five dollars billion by the end of 2020. AI is being incorporated heavily into chatbots and marketers are using chatbots to deliver personalized experiences online. Human Resources needs to adapt to this trend of chatbots as the future belongs to automation of tasks such as asking interview questions, finding matching candidates on LinkedIn, scheduling meetings, etc. Chatbots will become the AI powered virtual personal assistant for HR professionals. As this trend is new to the industry, a few businesses are starting smart and incorporating one chatbot into the HR department to find out just how the improvement could be brought about in a seamless manner.

4. Focus on team development over the individual

The past ten years has seen Human Resources is focused on the development of its employees as individuals. The sole focus earlier has been on recruiting an employee, developing them and carrying out an assessment of their performance. However, the recent trend that’s starting to be apparent in HR is that of developing employees as a team. Boosting or developing team intelligence and working on increasing the knowledge of what can make an effective team work together and deliver results that are outstanding. HR has known that teams have become the main building blocks of any good organisation. So, strengthening and developing smart teams inside an organisation will be a big HR trend to look out for in 2018.

5. Add a consumer marketing lens to HR

HR professionals the world over are starting to take a ‘customer experience mindset’ approach to the whole recruitment process. They’re creating solutions that aren’t just simple to use but also are easy, simple, and engaging to adapt. The new mantra is for a company to mirror the previous best experience an employee has had in any previous organization and try to adapt the same to improve their own performance across various criteria. HR specialists are translating similar focus the company has on customers to their staff members. A good example of this would be of Cisco, a company helping their new employees at their workplace with any questions they have with the use of an HR mobile app.

6. Champion flexible working arrangements

To cut down on commuting times and to create a far more flexible working environment, many companies are opting for having some days in the week be a’ Work from Home’ setup or perhaps allowing many staff members to have a preferred location of choice for working. HR are creating more flexible working hours, flexible working environments, and through this, increasing not just employee morale, but also their commitment to the organisation. Study indicates that happier employees are likely to perform much better as well as stick around longer in an organization in which they feel at ease and taken care of. Flexible working hours and work from home days also allow employees across the board to tend to their personal needs, therefore improving their performance when they’re present in the workplace.

7. Optimise the Employee Experience

The last couple of years has witnessed a paradigm shift in how employers treat their employees. Now employers offer a great deal of attention to just how their employees’ experience has been in the business. On a broad level, there’s a significant skills gap that industries are facing and there’s a lack of skilled workers for meeting the demands in fields like IT, manufacturing, etc. To keep staff members, employers are having to work doubly hard to keep their employees happy. Employees moving to a competitor organisation is an additional headache for employers. HR is working round-the-clock to develop an internally conducive atmosphere for its personnel. Making use of new platforms together with artificial intelligence technologies, HR professionals are bringing people and processes together.

8. Get comfortable with people analytics

Analytics has been growing in leaps and bounds since the time Google made it mainstream. Analytics is now also being utilized to understand every component of a business’ operations as well as taking inputs from analytics to make their daily decisions. People analytics has become serious business and it’s now reached out to discuss the field of HR as well. The new age HR professionals are using social network analysis, interaction analysis and data analysis to better understand what’s going on within their organization. HR teams are applying insights gained from these mediums to carry out talent acquisition, task operations, workforce planning, and far more. Tools from analytics are now being used to find out who’ll be the better candidate for the project and understand which employee is planning to leave the business.

9. Reinvent the way performance is reviewed

Performance consulting has been used to help people become better by providing constructive and regular feedback based on their performance. While it’s quite easy to give feedback to improve an average or perhaps below average performer, it’s every bit as difficult to help an outstanding performer become better. This is just where HR teams come in with their analytical tools and work out how they can achieve the optimal performance from every employee in their organization. Constant feedback has now replaced the once-a-year performance review in many organizations. Study has also proven that employees are preferring on-the-spot recognition and feedback over formal yearly reviews.

10. Increase focus on technology skills development

The trend of incorporating technology into every area of a company continues to gather steam in 2018. The demand for skills development will continue to create the need for more professional development technologies. Company intranets, transparent forums that encourage connection and communication between staff members, and quite a few such technologies are now being collaborated on with HR playing a role to ensure staff members are connecting wholeheartedly to a company’s technological efforts. HR is going to have to roll out programs to make each employee understand and come on the same track as the company’s technological platform. A business having the most up-to-date technology at its disposal is likely to attract the top most talent from this generation.

In a nutshell

Organisations must properly assess and enjoy the benefits of including these new tools and trends into their HR departments. HR must remain active in the daily tasks of the business and ensure they bring forth and incorporate the appropriate context and people skills into their organisation. No matter the new techniques and tools, one thing that’s likely to remain constant is that HR will continue to have to develop the necessary employee skills as and when the company needs it. They are going to continue to identify organisational needs as well as develop methods to use the task force in an efficient and effective manner. These trends are certainly going to go a long way in making the work of HR professionals easier in the coming years.

If you could do with some help, WINC consultants really shine in employment arenas. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future staff members. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including resource managment, hr operations and change communications within the Employment Branding space. Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest news& views on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

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employee engagement

vive la engagement revolution

Today, employees enjoy an unprecedented level of power over their employers, gained not through strikes or unionisation, but by virtue of the fact that talent and skills have become rare in modern job markets, globally. High value employees are calling the shots and can exercise their advantage whenever they choose; leaving one employer that falls short of their expectations safe in the knowledge they’ll be snapped up by another.

As businesses grow in today’s globalised and highly competitive markets, it has never been more critical to hold on to valued employees. Accordingly, most businesses now talk about the efforts made to keep staff happy, productive and engaged. Employers understand the benefits of having engaged workforces, with advocates citing improved collaboration, operational efficiency, better business performance, and improved customer service as direct benefits of strong employee engagement. However, as most business leaders will attest to, if employee engagement can not be measured effectively, it’s difficult to know how happy and productive your workforce actually is, and therefore whether engagement initiatives are paying off.

Many businesses simply don’t have the ability to measure engagement with anything close to science or sophistication. The overwhelming majority of businesses still rely on simplistic annual staff surveys to determine whether employees are engaged or not. Although, it’s great to see these businesses care enough about their employees to explore their workplace satisfaction, self-reporting is at best a blunt instrument when it comes to measuring engagement in an effective way.

Few Employers use advanced data analytics or augment the traditional staff survey with data from other sources, such as anecdotal feedback, to measure engagement. So, it’s no wonder that HR leaders hit challenges when it comes to demonstrating the value of employee engagement to the wider business. It is precisely because of this commonly experienced difficulty to measure and quantify the return on investment (ROI) of installed engagement strategies, that C-suites understandably struggle to understand their value.

In an age of instant feedback and empowered employees, companies need more accurate ways to monitor the state of their workforce and a more proactive approach to communicating with their employees. This begins with Senior Leadership in the boardroom, where HR must not only drive employee engagement as a priority, but also create clear links as to how it affects the organisation’s performance for other business leaders.

Being able to demonstrate the ROI of employee engagement initiatives to the C-suite is the most effective way to drive employee engagement up the company agenda. By using available technologies, from data analytics to dynamic employee feedback tools, and linking this information with sales figures, productivity rates and customer feedback, HR leaders will be able to present credible business impact statistics and provide pathways for the company to retain its most valuable assets – its people.

If you would like some help to set-up great data analytics systems, WNC consultants shine in the employment arena. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future employees. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including creative, digital, research, planning and communications within the workforce effectiveness space. Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest insights on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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