The world of work has changed more radically in the last five years than in the previous 50. The full-time job for life has been replaced by something altogether more transient. Whether employees come from the gig economy, work remotely or job share, they’ve reshaped (and will continue to reshape) the workforce.
What hasn’t changed (and won’t change) is the importance of their skills to business competitiveness. This makes engaging, retaining and getting the best from employees ever more important. It requires businesses to take a hard look at how they listen to their people, daring them to move away from traditional command and control methods of soliciting and acting on employee feedback. It means they need to go beyond basic metrics and bridge the gap between engagement and business value by focusing on productive engagement.
Introducing the Modern Feedback Landscape
As organizations feel the pressure to be more agile, just running an annual employee survey is unlikely to be enough. They need to collect feedback in different ways and frequencies or run the risk of missing out on the views of employees and giggers who aren’t around long enough to take part. It’s what we call the modern feedback landscape and I see it made up of six parts:
1. Annual Engagement: The traditional annual survey that delivers insight into long-term trends and benchmarks.
2. Timely Pulses: More frequent quarterly surveys, potentially with specific groups, that give deeper insight into what’s impacting and affecting employees.
3. Focused Pulses: Targeted surveys to understand the impact of an action, a change program or even an event such as an office move.
4. Continuous Listening: Spots opportunities and catches issues early by giving employees the ability to share their thoughts whenever they choose.
5. Teams: High-performing teams are central to delivering the agility that businesses need to compete. Ensure they have all the elements they require to be successful by regularly collecting feedback to understand the health of the team.
6. Interval-based: Employees follow the same journey at an organization, from recruitment and onboarding all the way through to eventual exit. Listening across their lifecycle enables organizations to identify problems, improve processes and retain talent for longer.
Businesses need to become more joined up in how they collect, analyze and act on the insight that employee feedback provides to drive bottom line benefits. Feedback has moved from being a ‘nice to have’ to a business imperative, or as analysts Bersin put it, organizations need “to shift from more traditional to more integrated and real-time approaches.”
The Feedback Journey
I suspect while it’s easy as readers to relate to the need for broadening out the types and frequency of feedback, I also suspect you have concerns about the additional time and resource you’ll have to find. How can you collect, analyze and action plan based on what you hear when running the annual engagement survey itself can be a full-time job? The key is to treat moving up the feedback maturity curve as a journey. Organizations move at different speeds. They don’t need to adopt a big bang approach that introduces everything at once. Instead they should map out what that journey is and keep pushing forward at a speed that suits them.
Top Tips for Success
1. Consider the full landscape of modern tools. Look beyond a single survey and embrace the range of options available to you. Technology can remove a huge amount of the need for additional resources and dramatically speed up results.
2. Be honest with yourself and understand where you are on the journey. Then you can plan your route forward at a pace that works for your organization.
3. Democratize the way you do feedback and move away from a centralized approach. Give your people the ability to build happy, high performing teams by sharing their thoughts and ideas.
The world of work has changed radically, and the feedback landscape must change to reflect and support this. At Questback we work with leading companies to help them maximize the business benefits they get from listening to their people as their feedback strategy develops.