Delving Deeper: Harnessing the Employee Voice

How can leaders deploy the best people-centric experiences to attract and retain the best talent? Experts from Workday share how technology can enable organisations to delve deeper with active employee listening and take meaningful action.

The pandemic transformed the world of work forever. From the move to working on site to remote and, in some cases, a hybrid model, employees have never been so physically disconnected from the workplace. As traditional work-life boundaries have faded away, issues of employee wellness, diversity and inclusion, and employee belonging have come to the forefront, posing new challenges and opportunities for enterprises.

As most parts of the world gradually transition back to the office, and organisations consider how and when employees can safely return, it’s crucial for firms to keep a finger on the pulse of their employees to design the right employee experience and work options. At Workday’s virtual event Conversations for a Changing World, experts discussed the key drivers behind employee engagement and how an active listening approach, leveraging best-in-class technology solutions, can help surface the deeper truths behind an organisation’s most important asset—its people.

The Data Tells a Story

What’s so striking about the shift in our ways of working is not just that it happened, but that it may irreversibly alter the landscape of the workplace. While it’s premature to predict what flexible working would mean in the near future, it’s safe to assume that hybrid or remote work situations will be options for most knowledge workers. 

Our Employee Expectations report revealed employee comments about flexible working grew by 125% in 2020.

Today, organisations face a tough employment market, with stiff competition for talent and The Great Resignation underway. Employers are under pressure to prioritise programs such as belonging and diversity, and employee well-being, to attract and retain great talent.

“It is now an employee-centric opportunity market, and it is pushing organisations to really examine ways to be more competitive in order to both retain and recruit their talent. And this has caused companies to examine their compensation, benefits, work locations, and most importantly, their cultures,” said Matt Orozco, organisational change consultant at Workday.

“While it is a little too early to say what the future norm will look like, it is safe to assume it is somewhere in the hybrid realm for employees that are able to,” said Orozco.

And the data backs this prediction. According to an Accenture report, 83% of workers across industries indicated a hybrid model would be optimal for them. Reaffirming the trend, our Employee Expectations report revealed employee comments about flexible working grew by 125% in 2020, and hybrid employees were more engaged at work than their on-site counterparts.

Employers are taking stock of the change in worker sentiment and weighing their future state plans to best support their employees. Attendees of Conversations for a Changing World were asked in a live poll to share the biggest challenge their organisation is currently facing. The top answer was “supporting a hybrid workforce.” Hybrid working, however, may not be an option for industries with front-line workers, such as manufacturing, retail, hospitality, or healthcare. According to the Accenture report, approximately 25% of employees across industries worked on-site during the pandemic—and continue to do so.

Employee experience is about more than just engagement.

As organisations consider the best way forward for them, it’s imperative to consider those workers who do not have the ability to do remote work and think of ways their experience can also be enhanced.

The Art of Intelligent Listening

Many firms may have employee survey processes in place; however, these are often sporadic, ad hoc, only taken during specific moments in an employee experience journey (such as onboarding or promotions), or an annual exercise. Orozco explained why the usual employee survey processes followed by most firms don’t quite hit the mark and fail to maximise employee feedback as a catalyst for organisational change.

“They are not personalised or holistic and disregard employees by asking the same questions regardless of key aspects that impact response, including tenure or position. They tend to be largely disconnected, not showing how data from one experience translates to another. Organisations are also wary of increasing survey frequency in anticipation of a spike in admin workload.”

Employee experience is about more than just engagement. Regardless of whether employers choose to conduct surveys annually or weekly, improving employee experience requires understanding your people, and the ability to harness employee voices and transform those voices into tangible actions. To do this right, employers must evolve their employee listening mechanisms.

Intelligent listening is foundational for businesses hoping to enhance employee experience. It uniquely marries a research-backed methodology with deep machine learning based on real-time and fully automated active listening technology. This enables organisations to reach the right person at the right moment with the right questions.

What’s so striking about the shift in our ways of working is not just that it happened, but that it may irreversibly alter the landscape of the workplace.

Intelligent listening can enable firms to zero in on moments that really matter in the employee journey, increase engagement, and build people-first strategies. This can, in turn, have a positive impact on revenue, customer satisfaction, organisational performance, and employee retention.

Closing the Employee Experience Loop

One of the key drivers of an organisation's success is holistic employee experience. To get the full picture of the employee experience, employers not only need data on employee demographic aspects such as individual skills and abilities, knowledge and competence, performance, and development, but also require insights on the “why,” or the emotional or perceptual aspects, such as personal beliefs, experience, engagement, and motivations.

“Workday Peakon Employee Voice combines the what and the why: the two halves that make a whole. It is designed to empower front-line leaders to drive meaningful change so engagement and experience is everyone’s responsibility, not only the HR and people functions,” said Orozco.  

Orozco explained how the Workday Peakon Employee Voice methodology works and highlighted the role it plays in connecting employee experience to outcomes. 

“The methodology takes into consideration health and wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, and employee engagement using different indexes and heat maps to identify areas of strength and opportunity to enhance employee experience. Machine learning then shows the pattern in employee behaviour trends, while the heat maps show the drivers and sub-drivers of what is affecting various scores, as well as the link between experience and outcomes; for example, how do these factors impact attrition.”

“Our platform provides a framework for organisations to embed employee listening so they can encourage a culture of continuous feedback, but also continuous action,” added Orozco.  

The active engagement tools in Workday Peakon Employee Voice deliver an intelligent listening experience, enabling organisations to focus on the moments that really matter.

Interested in learning more? Watch the full session here.

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