We recently published a free guide to help HR professionals complement their annual satisfaction surveys with a continuous listening program that measures employee engagement on a weekly basis. In that guide, we delve deeper into building the business case for continuous listening and focus on providing actionable advice for getting started. However, in doing so, we left out something equally as important: the unique benefits HR Directors can gain from continuous listening.
With that in mind, I wanted to take a moment to introduce three simple ways in which HR Directors can make continuous listening work for not only the business but also themselves and their colleagues.
1. Explore the chain of pain—and aim for win-wins
At work, we’re all trying to get things done. We have our unique set of metrics and KPIs, and sometimes we’re so focused on them that we forget to consider how our actions might influence the success of others.
However, whether you realize it or not, your KPIs are not all that different from the KPIs of many of your colleagues. For example, as the HR Director, you’re likely to be measured on employee retention, quality of hire and absenteeism. On the other hand, the KPIs of the Chief Operating Officer typically include overall productivity, overall recruitment costs and overall staff turnover costs, which are directly associated with your KPIs.
What’s more, the so-called chain of pain doesn’t stop there. The same logic applies to the Store Manager and the Retail Director whose KPIs probably include metrics like average transaction value and customer satisfaction, which in turn are greatly influenced by one of your key metrics: employee engagement.
Therefore, before even presenting your case to the C-suite, make sure to sit down with various internal stakeholders to understand how continuous listening might help them reach their goals.
2. Don’t wait around to secure the budget you need
Just like any other HR Director these days, you’re probably working with a fairly tight budget. That budget typically includes things like learning and development, onboarding and staff recruitment. However, sometimes new information catches you off guard mid-year, as you simply may have missed the early warning indicators to budget for a solution you didn’t know existed.
When it comes to employee engagement and retention, you hardly have time to wait. After all, our research suggests that continuous listening will help you uncover potential issues on average six months sooner than you would if you simply relied on data from the annual engagement survey.
Instead of waiting for the next fiscal year to launch your continuous listening program, act now. But how to do that, when your budget is already spoken for?
Remember the first section where I advised you to establish internal alignment? Here’s yet another chance to use that for your advantage. With the benefits of the continuous listening program reaching much wider than the HR department, you’re much more likely to get the green light—and enough additional budget—from the leadership.
3. Use your newly found superpower to get a voice at the Board
Unfortunately, most HR Directors have yet to receive a regular invitation to the Board of Directors. And without real-time data about employee engagement and retention, why should it be any different?
Yet, the Board and senior management team are responsible for driving strategic change programs through the business, whether the result of competitive pressures, disruptive market entrants or must-have technologies. Understanding how the workforce is feeling—how individuals are reacting to, accepting or actually delivering the changes needed on the ground—is business critical.
Weekly sentiment, engagement reports and concrete action plans for course correction decisions can function as the HR Director’s ticket when it comes to turning a formerly tactical role into a strategic one. Continuous listening equips HR Directors with timely information about employee satisfaction, and dissatisfaction, which in turn allows them to react to potential issues as they occur, or even before.
And what better place to share that information with the Board of Directors than well… at the Board of Directors meeting?
If you’re interested in unlocking these and many other benefits of continuous listening, go ahead and download our brand new guide, “Getting Started with Continuous Listening.”
After reading the guide, you should have a clear understanding of:
⦁ How to build a watertight business case for Continuous Listening
⦁ How Continuous Listening works in practice
⦁ Which simple steps to take before, during and after launching the program
- Av Scott Heyhoe