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Modernizing How We Assess Employee Engagement

Caucasian businessman outside office using mobile phone on a office block background. Copy space

By now, top organizations seem to recognize the importance of employee engagement and its correlation to performance and sales, among other benefits. However, many companies continue to rely solely on one traditional method of measuring engagement – the annual employee survey. In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving work environment – where employees are constantly connected yet often scattered, and millennials are the largest portion of the workforce – an annual check-in seems increasingly inadequate. A recent Deloitte University Press research study stated, “At a time when corporate cultures are being continuously debated, shaped, and redefined … the once-a-year survey is perilously obsolete.”

Luckily, there are many modern solutions for tracking engagement, such as Culture Amp, BlackbookHR and Niko Niko. Using methods such as pulse surveys and sentiment tracking, these tools allow companies to gain valuable insights on company culture, employee lifecycle and manager effectiveness, among many other factors. Organizations such as Adobe, Airbnb, Lululemon, Pandora and Virgin are currently using these tools.Caucasian businessman outside office using mobile phone on a office block background. Copy space

A key element of most of these solutions is that they have mobile and/or app components. In fact, many of their platforms resemble that of a social media or dating app much much more closely than that of a typical survey (a recent FastCompany article quipped, “Unhappy at work? Swipe right to tell the boss.”). For example, rather than a series of agree/disagree questions, Niko Niko uses smiley (and frowny) faces to measure engagement. Another similarity to popular consumer apps is that they are all easy to use and simple, despite the fact that they track and analyze complex data on the back end.

Also chief among the benefits of these tools is their ability to capture (nearly) real-time data and actionable insights. Gone are the days of spending months putting together a survey and then waiting months to receive the results – “these new tools make it possible to monitor employee sentiment with the same level of rigor and speed as they measure customer sentiment” (Deloitte).

Every company’s engagement assessment needs are unique, so with these tools companies are able to completely customize their research plans, whether they’re looking to gauge employee feelings about a particular event in real time or track multiple factors over a prolonged period. Many also offer help with benchmarking – “Culture Amp has aggregated responses from various different clients to enable companies to compare the answers their employees give against the broader industry” (TechCrunch).

These modern methods likely won’t replace the annual employee survey anytime soon, but they offer companies a great opportunity to supplement that data with customized and actionable insights. And of course, the abundance of knowledge that can be gained by using these tools will have little benefit without an organization and management team that is committed to employee engagement and to using the data to optimize programs and processes to benefit company culture.

Need help building the right toolkit for assessing engagement at your company? Domus can help. Contact CEO and Founder Betty Tuppeny at btuppeny@domusinc.com or 215-772-2805 to set up a discovery session.

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