Blog | How to move up the feedback maturity curve from tactical to foresight-driven
In increasingly competitive markets, companies increasingly recognise the value of employee feedback to business success. Listening to staff and acting on their feedback enables organisations to improve engagement, boost productivity, drive up retention and support better decision making, all of which works to make the organisation more effective.
Building on this and linking employee insights with Voice of the Customer and other business data, enables your organisation to better compete with others and improves your bottom line.
There are probably three main obstacles that stop organisations making the most of the employee feedback opportunity:
- Firstly, the annual employee survey (AES) has become the core focus of feedback collection for a large number of organisations. It sucks up a large slice of budget and time leaving few resources for anything else.
- Secondly, many organisations lack confidence in their ability to manage feedback and engagement projects in-house, choosing instead to rely too heavily on external consultants.
- Thirdly, organisations are often forced to take a short-term tactical view because of the impact of the annual budget cycle. They are too focused on running one-off projects rather than working towards the longer term strategic gains that can be delivered by implementing a single integrated feedback platform, that they own.
The four steps on the maturity curve
If you have not yet started to incorporate employee feedback into your organisation, it’s important to bear in mind that you’ll need to work in stages, moving up the maturity curve. You are likely to move through four separate steps:
- Tactical – start by actioning a single, annual employee survey.
- Engaged – incorporate new feedback types, collecting insights around specific events and at particular touchpoints in the employee lifecycle. Strengthen the feedback loop by ensuring that employees see that their insights are being used to drive decision making.
- Mobilised - make employee insight a core part of business operations, creating a constant two way dialogue built around always-on feedback.
- Ahead – progress from a reactive to proactive approach, using feedback to drive the business forward, spot opportunities and identify emerging trends.
Moving to feedback self-sufficiency
In our experience of working with a number of organisations it is possible to become self-sufficient in the way you manage and use feedback in around three years. Here’s a roadmap for a typical journey towards feedback self-sufficiency:
Working with an expert partner implement a central technology platform and let them manage your existing annual survey using it. You’ll find the process is more efficient and produces time and cost savings, with results available faster. The platform can also be used for other feedback initiatives such as communities, touchpoint-based feedback and surveys. All your data and insight can reside in a single place from where it can be easily analysed and shared across the organisation, both via traditional reports and dashboards tailored to the needs of individual managers.
Over the course of the year, strengthen your in-house team’s skills around managing and maximising feedback through knowledge transfer from the partner. This will give you better control of feedback strategy and tactics, enabling you to begin empowering managers to run their own feedback initiatives, through the simple to use, intuitive platform. Responsibilities can be split equally between the partner and the internal team, with the partner offering advice and support where required.
After progressing up the maturity curve, the organisation leads all feedback initiatives, including running the annual survey. Only minimal support is required from the partner - to overcome anonymity concerns for instance. The company is in full control of the central feedback platform which is being used throughout the organisation to run surveys of all types. A feedback centre of excellence plans and co-ordinates activities across the organisation, providing advice and best practice on maximising the effectiveness of employee insight.
Why self-sufficiency pays
An organisation that has progressed to feedback self-sufficiency is in complete control of its employee insight strategy, with the skills and flexible platform that allows it do what it wants, when it wants. Costs are lower, with no external consultancy fees, leading to a greater return on investment for feedback. The wider range of feedback types (from communities, and portals to always-on insights), drives improved response rates and greater engagement.
Feedback becomes central to the organisation, with the entire company empowered to gather, use and benefit from the insights it delivers, within standard corporate guidelines. Faster analysis and powerful dashboard-based reporting dramatically reduces the time between feedback collection and meaningful results, allowing quicker, more informed management decisions. Dashboards can be easily tailored to serve the precise insight requirements of individual teams and managers and to combine feedback with other data sources, including customer and business information to give a holistic, actionable picture. Employee and customer feedback becomes more valuable and meaningful because it can be integrated directly with business metrics.
Progressing up the feedback maturity curve can appear challenging, but if you take it step by step and work with the right external partner you can create a responsive, foresight-driven business that uses employee insight to drive success.