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Why Continuous Listening Outperforms Employee Engagement Surveys

by Aware

How long does it take your organization to deploy and act on employee engagement surveys? Annual polling typically takes 4-6 months from development to completion, and a lot can change in that time. How do you know the results are still relevant — if they even were to begin with? 

The problem with employee engagement surveys 

Understanding the issues impacting your employees is critical to business success. Employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to do their best work. But annual engagement surveys fail to deliver on the needs of the modern enterprise. Your workforce is human, and human emotions are constantly in flux. Taking six months to understand the effects of a major business decision leaves it too late to react if your people are unhappy. 

Annual surveys don’t just miss discontent, they can mask it too. If an organization conducts a survey following a cost-of-living raise, but before a round of layoffs, the results may overstate the current level of employee satisfaction. 

Surveys are also fraught with bias — on both sides. The very act of deciding what questions to ask or how to ask them can distort the answers. And if employees don’t trust the company, then they won’t answer honestly, rendering the results meaningless. 

Even the best surveys only provide a fractional view of reality. Recognizing that fact, organizations have increased their polling rates. Gartner estimates that this year, 80% of enterprise organizations will augment their annual questionnaires with pulse surveys. Yet pulse surveys still suffer from the same issues plaguing annual questionnaires. Timing matters, as does the content. Increasing the number of data points through pulse surveys takes a step toward mitigating the impact of these issues but doesn’t solve them completely. 

The future of listening is continuous 

It’s clear that the more frequently employers poll their workforce, the more accurate their insights become. By reducing the gap between surveys, organizations can develop a picture of how sentiment fluctuates throughout the year and how operational changes affect employees. 

Understanding these fluctuations and acting on them in a timely manner is more important than ever since the Great Resignation. Workers today are less likely to take a “wait and see” approach when things go wrong in their organizations. Instead, they leave. A company’s first sign that something is amiss might not come from a survey, but from a high churn rate. 

Regular pulse surveys that measure workplace sentiment can provide advance notice of discontent before a company starts hemorrhaging employees. However there comes a tipping point where employees grow tired of answering questions about how they feel. That’s why, to get the most authentic results, organizations need to find new solutions for monitoring the wellbeing of their workforce. Solutions like Aware, which plugs into top collaboration platforms to deliver powerful insights into employee sentiment through continuous listening — without having to ask a single question. 

Employees are your most valuable stakeholders 

Your employees know your organization best. They’re the most likely to have innovative new ideas about how to improve products, increase efficiency, and boost customer satisfaction. Over 80% of employees say they have ideas that could help organizations reach their goals, but more than a third feel like they aren’t being heard. 

This is a big problem for many organizations, and not just because they’re failing to innovate. Unhappy employees lead to high turnover rates, negative brand reputation, and even expensive fines and penalties. 

  • An employee walk-out protest at Google led to a new federal law that banned forced arbitration clauses in employee agreements, specifically for sexual harassment claims 
  • Workers at Disney walked out over the company’s reluctance to comment on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, forcing leadership to rethink their stance on advocacy 
  • Abercrombie & Fitch defended their discriminatory hiring practices all the way to the Supreme Court, where they were handed a stinging 8-1 rebuke

Today’s workers look for employers who reflect their values. If a company fails to listen to its people, or resists the change they want to see, leadership cannot be surprised when they decide to seek employment elsewhere. 

Aware helps innovative companies listen and act 

Aware enables organizations to deep dive into the sentiment of their employees without tedious questioning, and without introducing bias to the listening process. It’s the best way to gain real insight into what really matters to employees — directly from the employees themselves. 

By connecting to your existing enterprise communication network, Aware collaboration intelligence platform organically surfaces meaningful, real-time insights extracted from public channels and employee voices at scale. Proprietary, industry-leading natural language processing (NLP) and workflows infused with AI/ML-powered analysis normalize sentiment scoring for each individual organization to further enhance insights for faster results and greater accuracy. 

Aware elevates the employee voice from the breakroom to the boardroom, allowing innovative leaders to visualize the state of the company in real time, and take decisive, informed action to guide their employee experience. 

By digitizing your employee voice, you can: 

  • Build data-driven empathy among leaders 
  • Identify and retain stars and seek out their ideas 
  • Take immediate action on the most important topics 
  • Empower employees to share their voice 

Creating a workplace where employees feel listened to and heard can be a powerful differentiator at a time when many workers are looking for more meaningful employment. Using Aware, major enterprises are creating a culture of continuous feedback where the voice of the employee takes precedence. Download the whitepaper to learn more about unlocking the voice of your employees at scale. 

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Topics:Employee ExperienceEnterprise Collaboration