A truly integrated employee experience has been the holy grail for many organisations for a number of years now. Being able to track an individual employee’s lifecycle from their initial contact with the organisation through to their exit – and possibly beyond – could add tremendous value to our pursuit of predictive, smart HR data. It could also, of course, make the entire employee experience better as we learn from and act upon that data.

Many organisations already have a comprehensive suite of measurement tools in place: exit surveys, 360 assessments, annual employee engagement surveys, engagement pulses and onboarding surveys, to name just a few. There is, however, rarely a unified method of data integration or analysis in place to make sense of the wealth of information being gathered. What’s more, these individual surveys rarely talk to each other and indeed often deliver contradictory findings.

This is a situation we come across all too often. While organisations have made great steps in investing in tools and solutions, they’ve not followed on with the most critical part: making sense of the feedback their tools deliver.

A case in point from a recent client (who for reasons that will become clear firmly remains anonymous!) we conducted an integrated analysis for this large, global organisation, bringing together multiple people, customer, HR and business metrics. The analysis revealed a number of things, two of which were particularly enlightening:

  • There were strong linkages between their 360 scores and business performance; unfortunately, these linkages were negative, showing among other things that one of their key leadership measures does absolutely nothing to help drive the business forward.
  • The organisation is hugely focused on their customers: their external customer promise is at the heart of their positioning and all employees are expected to live and breathe six ‘customer pillars’. As a result, the customer promise is a major part of the onboarding process. However, their 30- and 90-day onboarding surveys ask nothing about understanding the six pillars, and, perhaps more disturbingly, neither does their leadership 360 survey.

Our experience shows that this organisation is in no way unique. In many large, well established businesses, processes tend to grow organically and are changed, adjusted and re-focused over many years. What was initially designed to be a thoroughbred racehorse some years ago is often now something of a rather lumpy camel.

It is rare that an organisation has the opportunity to review and re-position all of their processes and measurement tools at the same time: business must go on, there is pressure on time and resource, and taking a step away from the day-to-day is considered a luxury few can afford. The best most organisations can do is something of a ‘rolling restoration’ to borrow an automotive phrase. Tweaks and adjustments might be made to individual components, and some completely new parts added in, but the priority is to keep the wheels moving the vehicle down the road.

The good news is that organisations wanting to make deeper, more strategic changes to their employee experience strategies can take a different, more time-effective approach.

Instead of individually assessing the capabilities and functionality of multiple tools, technologies and solutions, they should instead take a step back to understand the business context of the programme they want to undertake. Does engagement need boosting due to high staff attrition? Is the organisation struggling to attract the right talent? Does there need to be clearer career progression? Do you need to enhance the customer experience your employees deliver?

Understanding the specific business goals of an engagement programme makes it more straightforward to identify the technology solutions most suited to delivering the contextual insight that will be needed to implement change. What’s more, this approach highlights what integration capabilities are essential – a key factor in deciding whether to run with or avoid particular platforms and tools.

The even better news is that new technology solutions are increasingly designed around integration. So, while the range of technology that’s available to drive employee engagement may be vast and ever-growing, it is becoming easier to more carefully select a comprehensive suite of tools that deliver exactly the type of measurement your organisation needs – delivering insight based on the context of your unique business challenges.

By Nick Thompson
Practice Head: ENGAGE