2. Employee Pulses had their time
Another recent popular method of gaining employee feedback is through the Employee Pulse. This is a shorter, more focused group of survey questions that can be sent out on a frequent basis, and this flexibility means that the Pulse can potentially be an incredibly effective tool.
When you're able to consistently connect with your employees, you're better able to understand the vibe at work and therefore take more effective measures to ensure that things run smoothly. The trick is to determine and embrace the most efficient means for communication and success.
As an employee, receiving an employee pulse is traditionally an easier experience than a long annual survey, however, there is still room to improve. One problem is that the employee pulse can be repetitive and impersonal, with similar questions every time or a predetermined rotation of questions. This can cause employees to feel like it's a process on autopilot and leave them wondering if leadership is actually listening.
3. Active Listening is where it's at
If you want your employees to feel fully engaged and understood, there is one option that goes above and beyond both the employee pulse and the annual survey. Its modern methods and efficiency offer the most exciting and successful progression in the evolution of Employee Voice. It's the concept of Active Listening.
With the Active Listening approach, employers are able to get a baseline for employees, trend survey results over a period of time, and then ask more tailored specific questions based on actively listening to the results of previous surveys. It is not asking the same questions over and over, but rather fluid questions that pay attention to the employees' responses, generate relevant insights, and inspire action.
With the Active Listening approach, employers are able to get a baseline for employees, trend survey results over a period of time, and then ask more tailored specific questions based on actively listening to the results of previous surveys.
Active listening can be complemented by both the annual survey and the Employee Pulse and using all of these tools together can enhance both knowledge and understanding.
Furthermore, it isn't always about the traditional engagement drivers. Digging into other factors that are relevant to your company and impacting your people, for example, understanding if the company has a diverse and inclusive culture, should also be part of the mix.
Think about your customers. The most loyal ones are the ones who feel supported, the ones who trust you and enjoy working with you. Why not foster the same level of relationship with your employees? They are, after all, your key to successful customer relations and offering them great products and services, as well as your key to high profitability and company success.
In terms of a structure, Active Listening supports the following:
- Consistent questions on a frequent cadence to gauge and measure employee sentiment over time
- Rotating questions that dive into more specific issues or gaps over time after gaging the sentiment baseline from the key questions tied to main engagement drivers
- Specific questions relevant to the business to get real-time insight and feedback about what's happening in the company today (or going to happen) such as reactions to major announcements or large organizational changes.
Active Listening Model Example
It's not only about listening
The key here is to create meaningful experiences and ensure employees know that you're listening and that you care. There's so much more involved in employee engagement than mere data collection, as stated in the White Paper Series:
"The ability to convert data insights into practical and impactful action is a critical area where most companies fall short once data has been collected…. Organizations have become very adept at administering surveys and collecting feedback from associates; however, they are less adept at what to do with that information and enabling managers to take meaningful action."
It's about developing relationships through active listening, about nourishing and strengthening those employee-employer relationships, yearly, weekly, daily.
And it doesn't end at Active Listening. Listening is only half the battle, because employee engagement is about a conversation. It's about action. Listen first, and then, armed with those insights, take action.