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Moving from employee engagement towards experience

3 min read
For more than a decade, the annual engagement survey has been the gold standard in employee feedback. But is engagement really the most important thing to measure on a regular basis, or is it time for a new gold standard?

An annual engagement survey is one of the most useful tools HR professionals have. It’s like performing a full body scan of the organisation. And the feedback you receive informs the action plans you put in place to make improvements over the next 12 months.

But as an annual event, it has its limitations. After all, a lot can happen in 12 months.

a lot can change in a year…

It will be another year before you see whether your improvements have had the desired effect and even then, your employees may be in the middle of another key shift or fluctuation in engagement.

In fact, changes in the business or in the market that can affect employee motivation and performance risk going unnoticed until the next time the annual engagement survey rolls around.

There are other limitations too. For example, collecting data just once a year can make it almost impossible to link your actions to their impact on the business.our employees are the most important asset when it comes to designing and delivering first-class customer experience.

From engagement to experience

Today’s most successful organisations are looking not just at an annual snapshot of how their employees feel, but are running feedback programs that gather feedback throughout the employee lifecycle.

Consider the lifetime of an employee at your organisation – there are numerous key milestones along the way whether it’s their interview, onboarding process or their performance reviews.

Each one presents an opportunity to gather feedback and understand the key drivers. And for each stage, there’s a feedback mechanism:

  • Always-on feedback – on-demand, anonymous avenue where employees can raise issues and provide feedback
  • Ad hoc surveys – just-in-time feedback on specific initiatives eg. organisational changes
  • Always-on feedback – regular, structured feedback mechanisms that track the same event over time. For example, tracking the progress and impact of your employee engagement action plans
  • Employee lifecycle feedback – event-triggered feedback that gets employees views at key milestones in their journey with a company. It includes candidate, onboarding, exit and training feedback
  • Multi-rater assessments – performance and development evaluations that simplify the 360 reviews and feedback process from peers, managers, and direct reports.
  • Census engagement surveys – the annual or bi-annual ‘deep dive’ it covers the widest range of topics and allows you to understand the key drivers of employee engagement and identify areas for improvement

The engagement survey still has its place of course – little else can give you the same depth and robustness of data – but it’s part of a larger toolkit of feedback mechanisms.

It sets the priorities for improvement with action plans that can be followed up and monitored with more frequent pulse feedback.

And when combined with ad-hoc, always on and lifecycle feedback onto a single platform, it provides the most granular view of the employee experience.

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