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HR Tech is Your Best Shot to Drive Employee Engagement

By July 27, 2018 February 14th, 2019 No Comments
HR Tech is Your Best Shot to Drive Employee Engagement

How Do You Measure Your Workforce Engagement?

We all strive at keeping your employees happy in the workforce. But the question always comes down to this: how exactly can you tell if your policy works well or not?

Usually, there are a few main drivers of employee engagement, such as employee satisfaction, role clarity as well as rewards and recognition. After defining a few key metrics for employee engagement specific to your company, then companies usually continue to conduct surveys to scale, measure and analyze the data collected for later extracting insights from it to come up with a future talent management plan.

Measuring workforce engagement is essential is to measure the pulse of the organization. The more common practice in the industry is to usually just to do short single-question pulse survey weekly or monthly culture snapshots; some would do it more thoroughly such as semiannual engagement reviews or a larger state of the company survey.

Traditionally, people analytics is the best way to understand and measure the overall engagement levels in a broad organizational sense. But it’s not always working; in fact, most of which are found to be ineffective in raising employees engagement.

And here’s why.

Why Doesn’t the Old Employee Engagement System Work

There are way too many metrics for evaluating employee engagement, feedback, recognition, happiness, relationship with peers and managers, alignment, and others; and yet, none of them have clear evaluation objectives or measurement system. Too many variables are preventing an objective reflection of results.

Colleagues influence makes one good or bad comments so incredibly infectious, and, therefore, ruin the entire poll. Instead of rating the company base on their overall impression throughout the year, availability bias makes the survey responses base most sentiments on recent events, making the rating results highly unreliable.

We all do it. Employees give sample answers to get it over with: they say what the management want to hear instead of what they really think to keep the job. So, in the end, all you’ve got is just a gamed results from a bunch of unauthentic data sets that don’t reflect the genuine organizational sentimental landscape, which makes the whole efforts without value.

Everybody realizes the importance of engagement reports; but why aren’t people acting on it?

Though there are engagement surveys being carried on a regular basis; but the surveys itself is just plain superficial work, and the truth is this: nobody acts on the feedback nor the survey results. Statistics show that only ⅕ managers act on the results and improve employee engagements. 27% of the managers never review survey results at all. 52% of the managers reviewed it without taking any following actions on it. Let’s admit it: it’s way too much of a price for you to change the status quo of the company policy.

Surveys Are Good; But They Are Too Biased

     1.    Pulse Survey

Put simply, pulse survey is a survey system that conducts frequently and at a fast pace. It is designed for the management to gain quick insights into the overall employees’ sentiments towards the company atmosphere. Instead of doing a long list of detailed surveys that bombards employees for a good 30 minutes of their time, it’s more common now for them go through only 5-10 questions so people wouldn’t get worn out during the process.

2.     Annual Engagement Survey

Contrary to pulse surveys, annual surveys take way too long and it’s done way too infrequently. By the time you’ve spotted the problems or insights, it would be too late for you to grab upon the opportunity and act upon it. Surveys might be the best way to dig into what the overall employee sentiments are at the moment but there’s one thing you have to watch out for: Survey Fatigue

One thing that people often overlook while designing surveys is survey fatigue. You would think the person who designs the survey would’ve noticed that when they do the thing, but in most cases, they don’t. More often than not, the surveys are done way too long or the questions are made too complicated to understand, both cases would eventually burn out the employees and ruined the entire survey quality. 

It might be true that both of the surveys are originally designed to extract motivational insights for talent management; but it’s just not working anymore. It’s either being done too often or not frequent enough. Either way, you should make designing what kind of questions in your surveys at the top of your list before everything else.

Hard-to-Define Metrics

There are too many unmeasurable variables that couldn’t be defined clearly during the planning process. Non-financial components like the clarity of career paths, unattended feedbacks and inadequate of training needs, it simply can’t be predicted precisely nor can you scale up the data. Without a set of clearly-defined metrics, companies can’t scale up a precise entrepreneurial outlook, and at the end, find their talent management strategy ends up in an epic fail.

Another problem that comes with the follow-up with metrics is this:

Everyone does it differently.

Measuring employee engagement is a tricky concept because every organization deploys a different set of measurement metrics. Some do it with commitment, work ethic, and loyalty; and some others do it as satisfaction, commitment, pride, loyalty, sense of personal responsibility and willingness. There’s no one-size-fits-all for the subject matter, which is why it makes the metrics impossible to measure.

They’re Simply Unmeasurable

The reason why employee engagement strategy usually ended up in failure is that there’s not one clear defining term you can reference to — hence, makes it impossible to track, measure and analyze the implementation of talent policy.

Here’s a list of common reasons why employee data is so hard to measure.

    1. High volume: sometimes surveys feedbacks are either too detailed or there are too many comments

    2. Unstructured data: insights are made incredibly hard to extract and analyze since the data are in text-based format instead of scores.

   3. Messy data: the data collected include too many misspellings and slangs, the system can hardly scale and categorize the data properly.

   4. High industry or company-specific language: analysis base hugely upon keyword or ontology-based system, which makes analysis a huge challenge because they aren’t viewed enough or looked at it thoroughly.

How Does HR Tech Transform the Landscape

It’s almost an established fact that the old way of employee engagement policy is not working well in today’s workplace. That’s where HR tech come in to save the day: it quantifies the abstract metrics into data sets that are measurable and trackable; then the data collected can be transferred into real-time results and later, predictable analysis. The analysis becomes adaptive to the patterns of future changes.

It works its way to better performance reviews and management, increasing the accuracy rate of behavior analysis and prediction, as well as to improve pattern identification and discernment. This can help the management team to manage rewards and benefits at a more reference-based scale, and thus, lead to a better decision-making process. The reason why so many companies starting to adopt HR tech is because its algorithms-based evaluations can help companies to gain insights on how to boost employee engagement with the use of bots, data analytics, and the rapidly developing IoT universe.

Measuring Employees’ Emotional State Is Made Possible with Sentiment Analysis

According to the 2011 Gallup Poll, it is showed that Organizations with highly engaged employees have 25%-65% lower turnover. Because of that, it becomes a priority for businesses to keep their employees happy at work to avoid any real damages done by the rising turnover rate. In order to do that, they have to get data on what’s the employees feeling right now at the moment.

It sounds almost like impossible to know what’s the employees are currently feeling at the moment – statistics can be fabricated; measurement tools are highly inaccurate; metrics exists way too many variables to make it objective.

So, what can you do?

This is where sentiment analysis comes in to work its magic.

The algorithmic model that sentiment analysis deploys can measure the emotional state and overall morale of employees. By using public cloud services, employees will be screenshotted when they enter and leave the office. The headshots will then be analyzed with machine learning to work its way into the employee’s mind, transferring the seemingly unrecordable emotions into practical data sets.

Sentiment analysis doesn’t just stop at photographing employees at the doorstep, they also work in emails. It sounds wild, I know. By using the same machine learning formula, email sentiment analysis can calculate the employees’ emotional attachment to his/her organization entirely based on the emails written. In that way, they can tell who is the most engaged with the company’s culture and who is most likely to leave the company. Well bummer for us, I guess we can’t even keep our hatred with the company to ourselves now.

So, Your Employees Aren’t Satisfied At Work. What’s Next?

So, you went through all the tech and did your stats, you found out that your employees aren’t exactly happy with your company. What’s next?

Well now, people analytics might just be able to help you out with the next step to take.

The best thing about AI-led HR analytics tools is that it can be linked back to the HR backend system, where staff can gain access to vast enterprise data repositories and automate communications with employees. This can make the company all the more transparent to the staff, and thus, strengthening the linking between the employees and the company.

Re-Engaging Bored Employees

Your employees are looking at the screen and typing all day, it is only natural to see a few of your staff yawning and stretching at work. Research shows that only about 32% of U.S. workers fit the definition of an engaged employee. And the situation is indeed worrying. If your employees are not engaged, you are losing money by the minute count. As a boss yourself, how can you re-engage your staff again? The answer is all in the data itself.

By analyzing various sets of data like email communications and biometric data, it can help predict certain actions so you can improve the sense of belonging of your team members or connection to different activities. The system would also recommend actions that are based on data to boost engagement levels of the employees if they are bored at work. So, they can do something more fun to remove them from the work boredom only according to their own needs.

Re-Connecting the Disconnected Employees

Lacking a clear learning and growth opportunities are usually two key drivers leading to the departure or disengagement of employees. The company didn’t promote a strong enough “employee-caring” corporate culture that makes staff commit to the workplace. According to studies by Bersin by Deloitte, 80% of employees think that learning new skills would make them feel more engaged. Therefore, having a holistic employee development is becoming the main axis of the human management policy.

Not only do employees want to learn more stuff in the workplace, but also want to learn it in a fun way that spice up their tedious work life. And, gamification is the answer to encourage engagement. Companies employ gamification, which is to integrate gaming mechanics into business practice to make learning more fun in the workplace. It can definitely help to build a long-term engagement with employees as it gives them constant motivation and desire to keep achieving certain goals at work, binding all employees into one team.

Transform Your Employee Engagement By Giving Them A Whole New Experience

To truly ignite and maintain a high level of employee engagement is a constant struggle for all the businesses out there. The key to making employees commit to the company lies in the way we craft digital employee experience from every stage of the employee’s journey. In this way, employees can finally be valued and feel genuinely engage to the workplace environment.

Gerardo Salandra

Gerardo Salandra

Gerardo Salandra is the CEO of Rocketbots (www.rocketbots.io). An IBM & Google veteran, with deep expertise in growth hacking, machine learning, and chatbots. Chairman of the AI Society of Hong Kong, promoting the development and understanding of AI technologies in the Region.

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