You know your company needs employee engagement software. As your talent management needs become more dynamic, you need technology to deliver the data necessary to make strategic decisions.
But anything worth doing requires time and money. And even though you’re confident the company needs employee engagement software, the rest of the business needs some convincing.
If you’re going to convince senior leaders, like your CFO, that an employee engagement software is a worthy investment, you’ll need a clear breakdown of the benefits. You’ll also need to demonstrate the software’s potential return on investment.
The good news is that this is not as hard as it sounds. Employee engagement is not an exercise in making workers feel warm and fuzzy. Sure, it makes your employees feel good, and that’s a benefit in and of itself. But it also leads to increased productivity and profitability.
What you need is a breakdown of all the ways employee engagement software makes this happen.
Employee engagement software measures employee engagement trends
You don’t need to tell management that employee engagement is important. They know that it is. What they don’t know is how to generate, and then to turn that data into concrete actions.
You have to demonstrate how to gather actionable data for your enterprise’s and how an employee engagement platform can help.
Step one is establishing a baseline. If you don’t have a baseline, you can’t tell whether specific policies or initiatives make a difference.
Once you have a baseline, you can measure against that baseline. This helps you understand the direction of your employee engagement levels.
Your organization can’t interpret data if there’s no context.
Scoring an average of 70% for “satisfaction with professional development opportunities” doesn’t mean much on its own. It may seem good. But if last year’s average score was 90%, you know you’ve got a problem.
This is why it’s important to measure frequently to establish trends. Measuring employee engagement once a year or once every two years isn’t enough. You need to understand changes in employee engagement from one period to the next.
Think about it this way.
You wouldn’t measure your sales metrics once a year. You wouldn’t even measure them twice a year. You measure them per sales period or per financial quarter. The same logic should be applied to measuring employee engagement .
Why? Because what gets measured gets managed.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Sales metrics are recorded as a natural byproduct of the sales team’s work. It’s inconceivable that a sales team wouldn’t know how much it sold that month. By comparison, employees aren’t responsible for reporting on their own levels of engagement as part of their job description.
This means that it’s up to HR teams to measure employee engagement. But HR teams are up against one big obstacle: Survey fatigue.
Survey fatigue is when employees feel exhausted by surveys and either avoid doing them or don’t provide high quality answers.
Let’s say your company distributes a high volume of long surveys. If they’re voluntary, your employees won’t take them. If they’re mandatory, your employees will engage in behaviour that impacts your survey results like straight-lining or satisficing.
The solution is an employee engagement tool that:
- Selects questions designed to track relevant and useful employee engagement metrics
- Distribute these questions in the form of digestible, regular bite-sized surveys that are distributed at regular intervals to track trends
Asking the right questions is important. Organizations are often tempted to cast the net wide and ask a wide range of questions. In reality, your company needs to ask questions that monitor behaviours that are tied to employee engagement. Examples of these types of questions include:
- Questions gauging employees’ level of interest in customer and client service: How important is it to your employees to do a good job? Do they associate doing a good job with doing right by your customers?
- Questions gauging employees’ level of pride or interest in performing quality work: Do your employees feel that delivering quality work will result in clients building a long-term relationship with your company?
- Questions gauging their awareness of the business strategy: Do your employees understand how their day-to-day work fits into the company’s strategic objectives? Do they believe their work is aligned with the company’s strategic objectives?
- Questions gauging their level of investment in the company’s objectives: Do your employees feel like they gain anything from going above and beyond to meet the company’s objectives?
Sparkbay’s employee engagement software provides questions that undergo an annual review process for relevance. In other words, companies who use the Sparkbay platform aren’t feeling their way around in the dark, hoping to ask questions that lead to insights.
Instead, our carefully structured surveys are designed to balance comprehensiveness with user-friendliness. Our surveys ask the most important questions to gauge:
- How well employees understand the company’s strategy
- How recognized employees feel for a job well done
- How many opportunities employees feel they have for personal and professional growth
- How positive and supportive manager-employee relationships are
- The strength of employees’ relationships with their colleagues
- Level of personal health and well-being among employees
- Level of autonomy among employees
- Level of motivation among employees
- Level of commitment to the organization
- Sense of accomplishment felt by employees
- Employees’ satisfaction with compensation and rewards
- Employees’ level of pride in the organization
These are all vital metrics to understand because with the right technology they are predictive of a company’s retention rate, profitability, and performance.
Plus, a thorough understanding of these metrics, and how they tie to business goals, allows the Human Resources function to move from an administrative or compliance function to a strategic business function. It allows them to take their core competency – talent management – and use this to contribute to the company’s mission and financial success.
Moreover, measuring these metrics allows you to create baselines, so that your team knows where to focus its efforts. If metrics such as employee satisfaction and compensation and rewards fall behind a certain threshold, you know it’s time to revisit those areas. If levels of motivation among employees remains consistent or rises, you know you’re doing all the right things.
Employee engagement software allows you to identify issues early
Several members of a team quit. A project goes off the rails and leads to massive sunk costs. A disastrous customer experience leads to a public relations nightmare.
The funny thing about negative business scenarios is that companies often don’t notice there’s an issue until something monumental happens or it becomes the status quo.
Employee engagement software can identify these engagement issues before they lead to adverse business outcomes. They can do this by distributing pulse surveys that serve as organizational temperature checks.
Employee engagement surveys also help companies diagnose problems better. After all, clearly defining the problem is half the solution. Without a thorough understanding of the problem, companies often misdiagnose their organizational ailments.
Take the example of a technology company that struggled to execute the strategic priorities they agreed on.
The organization would agree on strategic priorities only to report no significant progress at the next meeting. The reason? More urgent priorities got in the way.
The problem was governance.
The organization had a matrix structure. Employees reported to two different sets of business leaders, and one set of leaders was not included in these strategic meetings.
As a result, team members would agree to strategic objectives during the meeting only to be taken off course by senior managers who had no visibility or stake in the special projects.
This is a problem that can be identified early using employee engagement questions coupled with other data such as employee KPI.
In pulse surveys, the company may have received low scores on questions about how well employees understand their day-to-day responsibilities. Using a software such as Sparkbay, the company could have then identified whether this question impacted employees’ output and take actions to solve the issue.
Engagement platform helps companies prioritize people management initiatives
Companies can only address a certain number of issues at any given time. Our data shows that companies can only address about 10% of organizational issues. This leaves organizations with one big question: What do we focus on first?
The other challenge is that different individuals and departments are also jockeying for funds and resources. As a result, everyone who wants to initiate a project has to make a compelling case for why their project is worthy.
For HR leaders, there are any number of issues that could be causing employee disengagement. Employee disengagement could be caused by low salaries, flimsy benefits packages, few perks, not enough vacation days, limited advancements for opportunity, lack of diversity and inclusion, and more.
How can HR leaders decide where to devote their energy? Choosing the wrong project could lead to wasted time and money and negatively impact HR’s ability to win funding and stakeholder buy-in for future projects.
The best approach for companies to take is:
- Determine where the issues are
- Identify which issues are having the most impact on the business
- Articulate a solution for each issue
- List the time and resources required to implement each solution
- Rank the issues and solutions based on ease of implementation and positive impact on the business
This approach allows HR leaders to start with the “low-hanging fruit”. These quick wins build morale within the organization and faith in the HR team. That first win allows HR to secure the good faith and resources needed to tackle the next item on the list.
But this approach is not possible without the right data. Recall that if companies proceed based on gut instinct and intuition, they’ll be in a position where they misdiagnose issues.
On the other hand, if they know the granular causes of issues they can be laser-focused when designing and executing new policies.
So how would this work?
Suppose a series of employee engagement pulse surveys noticed poor scores in the following areas:
- Being recognized for great work
- Feeling supported by co-workers
- Feeling like the organization promotes and supports employee wellness
- Level of freedom and autonomy to complete work
Not all of these issues have the same impact on the business. Plus your organization doesn’t have the resources to tackle both of these problems.
If you want a more comprehensive picture of which tasks to prioritize, machine learning presents a solution.
Sparkbay’s employee engagement software incorporates business KPIs like sales metrics and customer satisfaction survey scores with employee survey scores to determine which initiatives will have the best business impact.
Engagement platforms allow you to reduce unwanted turnover
Employee engagement software can also help with identifying the actual causes of employee turnover. Yes, poor employee engagement often leads to employee turnover, but that statement isn’t thorough enough to create meaningful change.
Instead, organizations need to understand what is making employees so disengaged that they want to leave their roles.
For example, an employee engagement survey, powered by the right software, can inform leaders that employees are leaving due to poor role design. Leaders would identify this issue when reviewing questions like:
- At work, do you feel like you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
- Do you feel like you are growing professionally in your role?
- Do you feel like you have the opportunity to do challenging things at work?
- Do you see a path for advancing your career at this organization?
- Do you feel like your job enables you to learn and develop new skills?
- Do you feel you are given enough freedom to decide how to do your work?
- Do you feel like you know what is needed to meet your goals and objectives?
Without data, it would be easy to assign the same cause to every turnover spike. One organization may blame all its turnover on low pay. Another organization might blame high turnover on few perks.
Relying on assumptions, instead of data, would make them miss the real problem. Simply restructuring roles to make more sense and to align with employee’s resources and bandwidth would save the company tens of thousands of dollars in recruitment costs.
Engagement software empowers managers by delivering automated coaching
Oftentimes, managers must execute on the employee engagement strategies outlined by HR.
This is especially true if the strategies relate to improving manager-level issues such as employee autonomy, intrateam collaboration and support, quality of feedback, and more.
Despite this, managers often have trouble acting on the feedback from employee engagement surveys.
Many HR leaders assume that managers know what to do once they receive survey results. But the truth is that most managers don’t know how to turn feedback into actions. As a result, many managers set survey results aside.
This isn’t useful. This is why Sparkbay’s employee engagement software delivers automated coaching to managers to ensure they can operationalize feedback.
Our software provides managers with simple, but relevant and specific, suggestions to implement on their team.
These suggestions are meaningful because they are the result of not only employee engagement surveys, but the team’s other business metrics as well.
Is your company equipped to reap the benefits of an employee engagement software?
Adopting an employee engagement software brings many benefits. But your organization can’t take advantage of these benefits if it isn’t receptive. To make the most of employee engagement software, your organization must understand the following.
Employee engagement pulse survey feedback must be implemented
If survey feedback isn’t implemented, employees stop taking them seriously. This leads to survey fatigue and a drop in participation. Turning feedback into action demonstrates that participation in these activities leads to change. This creates a virtuous circle where actions creates better employee feedback.
Managers need to understand the ROI of acting on feedback
HR has to communicate why employee engagement initiatives are important. If activities aren’t linked back to the data (e.g. improving employee autonomy would improve team’s productivity by 6%) they’re not likely to act on feedback.
Our data shows that 30% of managers don’t act on feedback if they don’t understand the ROI.
This is why Sparkbay can predict the productivity gain from fixing issues that were identified by employee feedback.
HR has to view themselves as a strategic function as opposed to purely administrative function
As the talent wars become more fierce and people management becomes a competitive advantage, HR is moving from a compliance and administrative function to a strategic function.
HR departments have to change their own self-image and arm themselves with the data needed to become strategic advisors. They must also understand the importance of technology for the future of HR, particularly when it comes to data and analytics.
Employees need to understand that employee engagement software is not there to spy on them
HR needs to communicate what they plan to do with employee engagement software.
A clear communication plan helps determine the success of the employee engagement platform.
Without one, employees will think this is just another task on top of their existing workload (at best) and think the company is spying on them (at worst).
Your organization needs to make a long-term commitment to your employee engagement strategy
Employee engagement improvements don’t happen overnight. If your organization wants to make a meaningful impact, it needs to commit to employee engagement software over the long term.
Why? Because improving employee engagement requires multiple cycles of collecting feedback, acting on it, measuring improvements, and iterating.
This is why you need to commit to an employee engagement initiative for at least 12 months to understand the benefits.