Luke Talbot: Moving from tactical to foresight-driven Employee Insight

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Questback are one of the leading providers of Employee Feedback, Engagement and Insight technologies across the globe. Here they discuss the key stages to an effective strategy.

In increasingly competitive markets, companies recognise the value of employee feedback to business success. At the same time we see again and again that they understand traditional approaches to employee engagement are no longer enough to collect real insight from employees and, crucially, use it to drive ongoing success. This means that rather than solely relying on an annual employee survey, they are moving to a more continuous dialogue with staff, and adding new ways of gathering and acting on feedback in order to gain more comprehensive insight into their views and thoughts. This move to more constant feedback mirrors what is happening in the rest of our lives – after all, everyone today is used to giving ratings, reviews and feedback every time they use services such as Uber and TripAdvisor. So why shouldn’t we expect that opportunity at work too?

We recognise moving from where you are now to becoming an organisation that proactively uses employee feedback to drive constant improvement and a high-performance culture can appear daunting. It requires deep cultural change and buy-in from both staff and management at all levels. Therefore, rather than trying to jump directly to the end of the journey, we recommend following a more measured, step-by-step approach.

Transforming employee feedback

Whilst each organisation is different, the Questback Employee Maturity Curve Model provides a useful point of reference when considering the journey you might be about to embark upon. It is made up of four separate stages that see organisations move up the maturity curve in how they use feedback. The first step is to identify where you are currently and then look at how you can move forward to meet your objectives, rather than trying to do everything at once. The four stages are:

Satisfied

This stage is where many organisations currently find themselves. They run a single, annual, anonymous survey across the entire workforce. Data from this exercise is not integrated with information from other feedback (such as exit interviews or performance reviews), but sits in a silo on its own, limiting its effectiveness. There is no way of following up individual concerns, and the overall focus is on gaining feedback that will drive tactical improvements. Often these annual surveys are still paper-based, making their setup, collection and analysis time consuming. Overall, the results are backward looking – rather than focusing on what is happening now.

Engaged

The next stage of the model moves beyond the single, annual survey to embrace the collection of event-driven feedback around specific occurrences within the employee journey. These could include onboarding new joiners, collecting feedback from training sessions or returns to work after leave. Importantly, there is a closer, clearer link between the feedback provided and the follow-up actions taken. This makes it obvious to employees that their views make a difference, and that they are being listened to. Feedback is handled much more holistically, with comparisons able to be made between departments and countries within a wider group.

Mobilised

By the end of the second stage, employee voice is embedded within business processes, and the feedback staff provide is helping to drive improvements. The next step is to make feedback a central part of business operations and create a two way, constant dialogue that benefits the organisation and empowers staff. In addition to event-driven feedback, feedback is ‘always on’, with staff able to provide their views however and whenever they want, confident that their voice will be heard and action taken. Mobilised businesses have a real-time understanding of what is happening within their workforces, and use this information to guide their strategy and take strategic, rather than just tactical decisions.

Ahead

The final stage of the model completes the move from reactive to proactive, going beyond insight to being driven by foresight. Across the entire organisation, decisions are driven by a deep understanding of the drivers behind employee behaviour, enabling businesses to accurately spot trends and opportunities and take immediate action to benefit from them. The combination of a mobilised workforce and continuous feedback and knowledge drives a transformational, sustained performance improvement which leads to a high-performance culture. The journey to the final and Ahead stage of the model takes time, and builds on the progress achieved within the first three stages.

If you want your business to survive and thrive in increasingly competitive and fast moving markets, then it needs to be agile, flexible and innovative. Listening to your people and acting on their insight is at the heart of delivering this organisational effectiveness.

Conclusion

Initiatives that affect employees and culture are by their nature significant and take time to deliver. Progressing up the feedback maturity curve towards organisational effectiveness can appear challenging, but if you take it step by step and work with the right external partner you can create a responsive, foresight-driven business that uses employee insight to drive long-term success and underpins high performing cultures.

At Questback we’ve partnered with a wide range of organisations to help them move up the maturity curve, providing the technology and support they need to embed feedback insight in their business decision making. To find out how Questback can help you, read more here https://www.questback.com/uk/employee-insight.

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