HR Trends: Employee Feedback, Pulse Surveys, and Analytics

According to Bersin by Deloitte, HR is pushing for more team-centric, intelligent, and easy-to-use digital innovation. We’re also seeing an explosion in continuous employee feedback, pulse surveys, and people analytics tools designed to improve the employee experience. Let’s take a closer look at why these HR trends for 2018 are so hot starting with what happens when employees have a voice.

Not so long ago, Tara on our Customer Success team uncovered an opportunity for a customer to save money on health premiums. The company’s health insurance provider offered credits when employees completed preventative health care screenings. But, their employees weren’t participating in the optional program.

Tara asked why we didn’t offer a feature that provided incentives to employees for their healthy choices through our recognition and rewards engine. The leadership team was listening, and in short order, one of our most popular features, the Behavior Bonus, was born. The bonus feature allows employees to pick and choose how they want to earn additional reward points for participating in programs related to wellbeing, professional development, or community involvement and it’s been embraced by many of our customers.

Feeling like we have a voice and being empowered to provide different types of feedback at work lets us know that our opinions and ideas matter. It also serves as a way for management to listen, learn, improve, and communicate with employees. All of this leads to a better employee experience, higher levels of employee engagement, and innovation.

Feedback Quote Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank

A culture of continuous feedback also leads to more transparent performance expectations and, in my opinion, lower stress levels for employees and people managers. Not only do we at Kazoo share lots of positive recognition, but we also frequently provide constructive feedback. We don’t wait for an annual review to focus on areas for improvement or opportunities for development. Performance coaching happens in real-time and during weekly one-on-ones. By embracing a culture of continuous feedback, we collectively reinforce exceptional work and remove the discomfort that constructive feedback can bring about. I bet you know the discomfort I’m talking about, right?

HR technology is making it easier than ever to create a culture of continuous feedback. There are many tools at our disposal but for the purposes of example, I’ll walk through some ways to capture, measure, and act on continuous feedback using Pulse Surveys and People Analytics.

A simple way to measure the pulse of your employees

Have you heard of the Net Promoter Score (NPS)? It’s an industry standard survey type that measures the loyalty between a business and its customers. Companies like Anheuser-Busch, Kaiser Permanente, Comcast, and Dell use NPS to measure not just customer satisfaction, but also whether customers like their companies so much that they’d tell their friends about it.

What if there was a similar way to measure employee loyalty?

There is.

The EmployeeNet Promoter Score (eNPS) survey gives employees an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback on how they’re feeling about their company – and it only takes about five seconds. The eNPS survey measures the loyalty and engagement that exists between a company and its employees and asks a single question: “How likely are you to recommend [company name] as a place to work?” It uses a 0-10 point scale which makes it easy to take the survey and to measure the results.

Kazoo eNPS Results
To calculate eNPS, we just subtract the percent of “Detractors” (0-6 points) from “Promoters” (9-10 points). The idea is that Promoters are the most loyal and engaged employees. They’re also more likely to refer their friends and enthusiastically promote your brand. The eNPS can range from -100% where all employees are Detractors to +100% where all employees are Promoters. In the United States, a positive score is okay; a score higher than +60% is excellent. However in Europe and Australia, for example, eNPS scores may average closer to -10% and rarely exceed +20%. The score disparity relates to differences transferred from the educational system into the workplace. For example, in Europe, students rarely score higher than 70%.

The eNPS survey provides a score of how employees feel without having to sift through reams of data. Group filters can segment results to be then tracked over time.

Here are seven more reasons why eNPS is a valuable survey type:

    1. Simple way for employees to share how they feel
    2. Confidential, compact form prevents survey fatigue
    3. Excellent, easy-to-distribute and calculate survey
    4. Identify which departments represent liabilities
    5. Identify which departments to model
    6. Reveal which team leaders are doing the best job
    7. Reveal which team leaders need more coaching

But capturing the overall employee pulse is only part of the equation

The best practice is to share the anonymous eNPS feedback as quickly as possible with supervisors and leaders. These insights help them recognize and prioritize issues.

To help visualize how to use eNPS and other surveys as part of your continuous feedback strategy, I’ll give two examples that match the eNPS and other surveys with people analytics to improve manager effectiveness and employee engagement.

Two Applied Use Cases

Basic: I want to start measuring employee loyalty, so we have a baseline.

Step One: Send out a companywide eNPS survey about every three months

Step Two: Segment and track the results by relevant groups (e.g., Business Unit, Country)

Step Three: Compare results by different groups and share the insights with team leads so they understand how the loyalty from their teams compares to others within the organization

Advanced: We’ve noticed that our company-wide eNPS results have begun to drop and want to dive into our other people analytics to better understand what’s happening.

Step One: Before panicking, first segment the eNPS survey results by groups to see how scores vary. Check to see which groups are pulling overall eNPS scores down. A simple hypothesis at this point might be that groups with lower eNPS scores may also have managers in need of some coaching. To test the hypothesis, let’s dig a little deeper.

Step Two: Pull in results from other surveys like an annual employee engagement survey. Again, segment the results by group. Note: Kazoo currently uses three survey types (eNPS, Pulse, and Custom Question) and People Analytics to support continuous feedback. In this example, we’ll focus on one of eight questions included in the Pulse Survey, “I have a positive, trusted relationship with my manager.”

In the fictitious example below, note that 27% of company-wide survey participants “Agree” (11%) and “Strongly Agree” (17%) that they have a positive and trusted relationship with their manager. However, when we segment the results by groups, we start to see differences. For example, 50% of the Sales team selected “Disagree,” and 50% selected “Neutral.” None of the employees selected a positive score. This is a red flag.

Step Three: Pull in other people analytics to build a deeper understanding of what might be happening with the Sales Manager. For example, Kazoo Insights will pull data that ranks managers on their level of overall engagement as defined by actions like sending recognition and leaving comments on feedback within our activity feed. A drop in rank may suggest the manager is struggling or has been too slammed to recognize the work of her team.

You could also compare the groups with higher eNPS scores with their managers’ engagement rank to see if there’s a correlation. Gallup’s longitudinal employee engagement study found that more than 60% of global employees say receiving too little feedback and a quarter of them report that they received no feedback at all from their supervisors–a major factor in their workplace dissatisfaction.

We hear again and again that people leave jobs because of managers. An engaged manager who believes in giving and receiving feedback, both positive and constructive, is more likely to lead and retain higher performing teams. For example, Lorna Hagen, SVP of People for 400+ employee OnDeck Capital discovered that the executive team member who sent the most recognition to employees throughout the company, not just his department, had the highest performing division. Also, VP of Human Resources and Talent Acquisition Seritha Twist of 2000+ employee Propak recently conducted a turnover study. She wanted to compare turnover amongst each of their facilities based on site manager engagement. She found that the average turnover was 34% lower for their facilities with a site manager that utilized Kazoo’s recognition and reward engine every week.

Kazoo Insights Manager Engagement Rank
Step Four: Send a Custom Question survey specifically to the Sales team. Answers to this one question will guide you towards an action plan. This anonymous survey includes up to 20 multiple-choice answers. You can apply the results to Step Five. Example questions might include:

“What’s one thing your manager can do to help?”
“What can we do to improve your experience?”
“What’s one thing we can do better in the Sales department?”
“What’s the number one thing holding you back from loving your job?”

Kazoo Manager Feedback Custom Question Survey
Step Five: You’ve now created a hypothesis and backed it up with supporting people analytics. Now, you have sufficient content to review during a one-on-one coaching session with the Sales Manager.

When organizations enable and act on continuous feedback as part of the day-to-day culture, they not only improve the employee experience – they also drive engagement. Feel free to request a demonstration of Kazoo’s continuous feedback, pulse surveys, and people analytics tools to learn more about how they are aligned with HR trends for 2018 and designed to improve the employee experience.

About Tim Ryan
As one Kazoo’s first employees, Tim has developed a unique understanding of what drives employee engagement and how HR Technology improves the employee experience. He applies that knowledge to help explain what tools, features, and best practices lead to an engaged workforce.