With the spotlight firmly on the way employees are treated, particularly in light of the recent gender pay gap legislation, there has never been a more pressing need for organisations to review every aspect of their employee engagement strategy.

A fundamental part of this strategy review should focus on the technology and tools that have been embedded to make measurement easier, more automated and more accurate. In reality, many of the tools in use are no longer fit for purpose, either because they haven’t evolved alongside the businesses they’re being used in, or because they were designed in a way that simply doesn’t fit with today’s employee engagement best practices.

Imagine, for example, if TripAdvisor was set up in the way most standardised employee measurement tools are designed.

Instead of the dynamic, tailored feedback-based information TripAdvisor delivers, once a year you receive an email containing a very lengthy questionnaire. It asks you to individually rate all of the restaurants you have eaten in over the past year. Then, a month or so later, you receive a report for you to use for the whole of the next year, helping you to choose where to eat based on feedback aggregated anything up to a year before.

Apply this scenario to the world of employee surveys and it is very clear why many organisations are currently considering whether their existing employee engagement programme is fit for purpose.

An ever-increasing proportion of our workforce has been raised in a mobile, social and immediate environment. For them, survey programmes are all too often akin to the hypothetical TripAdvisor nightmare described above, rather than the immediate, mobile, app-driven reality that we now demand.

Until a few years ago, companies in need of an employee survey would call whichever of the few, big survey providers best met their needs. There was usually little difference between them; indeed, only a couple of years ago a large telecoms company conducted due diligence with ten leading employee survey providers and genuinely struggled to differentiate between them.

Just two years later, the choice of employee survey systems, platforms and solutions available is vast. It is now possible to choose from a huge range of providers, from more traditional offers through to a multitude of start-ups offering technology-only web or app-based tools. Prices are also changing, even to the extent of ‘all you can eat surveying’ costing models.

In this fast-changing market, how do employee engagement experts ensure that they are providing their organisation with the most appropriate tool for their needs?

In our view, the best way is through a survey programme review workshop which takes technologically agnostic and neutrally theoretical perspectives. Companies should no longer be wedded to any provider’s one-size-fits-all model of engagement, nor should they be tied to any particular rhythm of data collection or reporting solutions platform.

A fully bespoke employee model and technology solution can now be created for well under the cost of many ‘old-school’ survey programmes. When properly guided, an exploration of the art of the possible can pay great dividends in helping your organisation prepare for its own unique future, unconstrained by off-the-shelf models and systems.

A truly fit-for-purpose and fully integrated solution is now within easy reach of all organisations, along with technology which supports rather than restricts your goals. And now is the time for business to embrace this choice in order to reap the dividends of a solution that works with their organisational goals, rather than trying to force a fit that simply no longer delivers.

By Nick Thompson
Practice Head: ENGAGE