Thanks for everyone who attended the webinar on 'Always-On Engagement' with our friends Hive HR. With over 100 registrations and 50 attendees it was a great session. It was lovely to get such great feedback, and thanks to everyone who participated and contributed as part of their CPD.
If you missed the webinar don't worry you can still register and watch the session here - Watch Webinar
We shared the feedback and ideas from the webinar with John and Lisette and they have come back with some thoughts and ideas on those contributions - I caught up with them both and here is what we came up with:
We know the take-up of companies who are now applying an “always-on” approach to measuring and understanding engagement within their workforces has accelerated over the last couple of years. According to HR Zone’s Annual State of Employee Engagement report, take-up tripled between 2015 and 2016. We expect to see that increase again when HR Zone release their next report and would not be at all surprised if it was as mainstream as an annual frequency.
As John puts it “We wanted to understand what attendees thought were the reasons and catalysts behind this shift and there was some really interesting, relevant and varied feedback on this.”
Easily the strongest theme from attendees related to the fact that there is now the technology available now to enable a continuous approach.
“We’d certainly agree with that. As a technology supplier in this space; it’s certainly recognised as one of the key drivers of the shift.”
Another interesting theme we saw from the responses is that the workforce is now more tech enabled / device literate than ever before and workforce attitudes towards providing opinion, being surveyed and having input have shifted too.
“It’s important to remember that whilst technology has made an always-on approach to engagement even more accessible, that’s not to say that it just aligns with younger workforces. What we’ve seen is that workforces have an appetite to have an input at all ages. There isn’t a particular type of workforce or type of company that is making the shift to always-on”
‘Board level culture’ was cited by a number of attendees as well.
“The benefits of an engaged workforce are really well documented now and more prevalent than ever; so it’s easy to see why it’s merits are recognised at board level. Where there needs to be an even bigger shift is good practice and leadership at board level when it comes to supporting employee engagement initiatives.”
The benefits of always-on are of course well documented but as with anything new, there are sometimes concerns or perceived challenges.
We wanted to understand some of the key speedbumps that HR practitioners foresee in being able to switch to always-on and again, there were some interesting responses.
“We saw a number of responses that are relevant for employee engagement feedback on the whole - not just when adopting an always-on approach”.
For example, a handful of responses zoned in on a concern about the honesty of the responses or a feeling that the organisation wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
Key Things To Consider
The key things that we would advocate when coming up against some of these concerns is all about creating a virtuous cycle of;
In that way you build confidence in the organisation that encourages employees to participate with the survey. However, there has to be real sponsorship at a senior level in the organisation that demonstrates employee feedback matters and that it’s not about who said what, but about creating the time to understand the issues and generate solutions. It’s also important to invest in managers to develop the skills and behaviours that support engagement.
In terms of operating an always-on approach to engagement, the key themes are challenges that we hear a lot.
The “workforce feeling over surveyed” is quite a common theme but if the questions are relevant, if they’re pertinent; employees have an appetite to have a say input. Survey fatigue isn’t the problem here - it’s the lack of action or communication back into the workforce that is the bigger issue.
Time commitment from HR team / struggle to dedicate time to it / would we have resource to be able to measure the results more than 4x a year?
Hive HR Advice
We encourage organisations to put the data and insights into the hands of Managers, rather than suggesting it should be held within the HR / L&D or OD teams in organisations. Ultimately employee engagement information is or should be a key business insight for all managers to enable them to better understand and improve their function or service. Spending time developing managers to utilise these insights well, is time well spent and is a more sustainable way for any organisation to approach always on engagement. However, this does rely on having systems that enable the data to be shared across the organisation - which is one of the reasons why we developed Hive.
Time for employees away from task.
Hive HR Advice
The benefit of an always on approach is about creating dialogue in bite sized chunks - getting away from the 70 plus question surveys that take forever to complete, with all the associated concerns related to people’s attention and commitment to complete. Always on allows for a more dynamic iterative question strategy that evolves based on feedback, on both content but also format and delivery. We find that people are more likely to engage on a more regular basis with a smaller number of questions, and are more likely to offer up additional insights and suggestions, than those completing much longer surveys on an infrequent basis. However, we have also found that every organisation has its own sweet spot of survey frequency and volume based on their context and operations.
There is no one size fits all.
If you are interested in learning more and taking a closer look at the Hive HR system and how they can make 'always-on' engagement a reality for your organisation then click this link and book a no obligation demo of their platform.