Is 2017 FINALLY the Year to say Buh-Bye to the Annual Engagement Survey?

Is 2017 FINALLY the Year to say Buh-Bye to the Annual Engagement Survey?

Companies are still doing annual engagement surveys… I know!??!

I get it. It’s tough to change things we’ve been doing for a long time, but our workforce solutions need to change. Clearly, what we’re currently doing isn’t working and is why we keep hearing every year that almost 70% of employees are disengaged. Proof-positive that current approaches aren’t working.

When it comes to the annual engagement survey, I hope that it’s time is up in 2017. I think we’re close as many companies are starting to shift their approaches.

I won’t bore you with hundreds of studies and research about why this is happening (message me if you do need more research or to help you sell the concept into your business) but I couldn’t say it any better than Bersin by Deloitte in their HR Technology Disruptions for 2017 publication. “There is a new understanding in the people management market that feedback and always-on engagement measurement are critical to business success.”

And that’s the key… business success.

It’s amazing to me how many HR executives I speak to tell me how difficult it is to purchase new HR technology, or change processes, and they must ‘sell it into their CFO’ or CEO. At the end of the day, the outputs that companies want like high customer satisfaction and profitability comes from the biggest input you can control – the behaviours, retention and engagement of every employee.

This focus on employees is becoming important, and is echoed in Bersin by Deloitte’s report as the second major technology disruption in 2017 that they call “An Explosion in Real-Time Engagement Evaluation.”

Survey says?

I stated earlier that annual engagement surveys aren’t working. The reality is that it’s not the actual survey itself, it’s the inability to get continuous insight into employees to spark the right actions. When there is a frequent voice of the employee, that gives companies a pulse on how employees are feeling and collect feedback on where to make an impact.

So, the survey says… ‘act informed’. I’ve always told teams in the past to act on data, not desire, and your engagement practices need to reflect that. The more frequent you can evaluate how your company is engaged, dig deeper, and have the right conversations, you’ll be able to act accordingly.

Insight is King… and Queen

That “always-on engagement measurement” is what offers the insight that makes the difference. Companies realize that when they can instantly see an issue with a specific department, location, team, type of employee or a specific leader it allows them to dig deeper and ‘deal with smoke before fire.’

This insight needs to be as real-time as at other important metrics companies look at frequently. Do companies look at revenues or margins annually? Clearly not.

According to the aforementioned Deloitte report, “People Analytics have now truly arrived.” Technology has now enabled it to happen a lot easier.

What can I do about it?

At WorkTango, we spend a lot of time thinking about this issue and supporting this shift through technology. Check out the 2017 Guide to Measuring and Acting on Employee Engagement that I authoured to learn more. It will offer considerations about moving forward to a more continuous and real-time engagement and insight approach.

All this talk about employee engagement insight is important, but engagement isn’t the only thing getting away from the annual process. In a recent Forbes article, 10 Workplace Trends You’ll See in 2017, they also explain how “Annual performance reviews evolve into more continuous reviews” getting into more real-time HR practices.

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing these trends continue to change our workplace and what it will look like moving into 2018.

Supplied by Rob Catalano, Co founder, WorkTango

Image courtesy of fantasista at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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