Nebraska Medicine: Using Qualtrics to listen, improve, and engage
“Engagement is a point in time metric,” explains Brian Jefferis, Talent Management Senior Analyst, Nebraska Medicine. “There’s a short lifespan – or half-life – for engagement data as it relates to its ability to predict on a variety of KPIs. The longer you wait between when the data is collected and when it’s presented, the less you know and the less [likely] the action taken from it might actually relate to how colleagues are feeling right then.”
This philosophy was the foundation for why Nebraska Medicine completely transformed their employee engagement survey process. To effectively improve the employee experience, they needed to be able to listen, understand, and take action immediately – not months or even a year from now.
Moving from point-in-time to ongoing engagement monitoring
Prior to 2018, Nebraska Medicine had what Brian refers to as a “typical kind of setup as it relates to employee engagement.” They conducted one annual survey each year comprising 40 to 60 items that spanned 7 to 10 competencies. Since a third-party facilitated the survey, there was quite a bit of lag time until results were available, and then results were disseminated to executives, then directors, and finally frontline managers.
“I would characterize it as a process that was pretty slow,” Brian says. “It provided great data at a detailed level, but managers were getting data six to eight weeks after the results had been collected.”
“Survey results have less impact and are less interesting to frontline leaders the longer time elapses from when the survey was conducted. While you may be creating action plans early on in that process, over time you stop talking about it and interest in impact starts to wane.”
Nebraska Medicine changed its approach to conducting three pulse-style engagement studies a year, along with periodic onboarding surveys and exit surveys. “We really minimized the number of items that we included, and we’ve landed on about 12 core items that we consistently asked over the last two years,” Brian explains. “We’re able to do this in-house which allows us to do some pretty incredible things, like turn dashboards around in a week. And we provide access to every level of leadership at the same time.”
Keeping attention focused on improvement
Creating this poll strategy, according to Brian, keeps colleagues interested. “We get managers to take action quickly, and then we’re able to rapidly monitor results in an effort to see whether the strategies that they’ve implemented have really driven engagement with their employees.”
Taking action based on the data collected is the critical component of any experience management strategy. Nebraska Medicine ensures they get buy-in and reinforcement from senior leaders and that has created accountability for frontline leaders to execute on the action plans they develop. To support and engage leaders in the process of improvement, the HR team hosts leader-led workshops that encourage brainstorming and collaboration around action planning and execution. Additionally, they’ve created a centralized location for housing case studies and best practices, so leaders can easily access the information they need.
Earning engagement by listening and acting
By leveraging Qualtrics XM Platform to help execute their employee experience philosophy, Nebraska Medicine has been able to understand more about their employees and how they’re feeling. “That really laid the foundation for us in our ability to be agile during this pandemic and leverage our tools to provide support for them,” says Brian.
“We’ve seen better participation with these poll surveys than we ever saw in any of our annual surveys,” explains Brian. “And we’re continuing to see increased participation, even during these challenging times when our frontline colleagues’ time is stretched. They know that it’s quick and easy and that they can give honest and open feedback – and that honest and open feedback will translate into action.”
Since the first poll survey in early 2019, Nebraska Medicine has seen its participation rate grow from 67% to 80% of more than 8,000 employees. They’ve also seen the number of employees who give fives on engagement items increase from 48% to 55%. “Employees who give fives are actually more likely to stay longer,” Brian explains. “They’re more productive, our top performers, and more engaged in our culture.”
And the results stretch into other aspects of the organization. Brian adds, “The beauty of Qualtrics is that we can partner with other leaders in the organization to link [employee engagement data] to KPIs. We’re linking it to the patient experience, to safety, to turnover – all big concerns for our operational areas. This really helps our executives grasp how important it is to drive improvement and the impact it has in the organization.”
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