7 Important Takeaways You Need to Know from Explorance World 2024

Written by Explorance.

From June 25 to 28, 2024, Explorance hosted the Explorance World conference in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The event brought together leaders in higher education, human resources, and learning and development to drive transformative change across each sector.

“At Explorance, we take pride in equipping our clients with solutions that foster open dialogue and ultimately lead to more courageous conversations and actions that can propel our society forward,” says Explorance Founder and CEO Samer Saab. 

With over 250 attendees, including leaders from global institutions that serve tens of millions of clients and students, the event marked a pivotal moment in Explorance’s history. 

This blog post will walk you through the most important takeaways from Explorance World 2024, including:

  • What AI technology means for the future of continuous listening
  • The role feedback plays in business, higher education, and professional development
  • The importance of initiating and seeking out transparent and courageous conversations

For more information on Explorance World, check out the full press release.

1. AI-powered Qualitative Analysis Just Got Better

AI-powered qualitative analysis was a major topic of discussion at Explorance World, including conversations about how  rapidly the technology is evolving and what improvements mean for amplifying student and employee voices worldwide.

Explorance MLY’s enhancements announcement underscored those themes significantly. The AI solution, which can analyze up to 500,000 end-user comments simultaneously, is seeing enormous upgrades to its machine-learning models.

Starting this year, MLY updates will deliver:

  • The ability to capture a broader range of sentiments
  • More comprehensive feedback analysis and recommendations
  • A complete dashboard redesign with more robust customization options

MLY is all about helping organizations maximize its insights so stakeholders can extract from feedback data and optimize employee and student experiences. The University of Newcastle, an Explorance Blue client since 2011, uses MLY to achieve the latter through streamlined analysis processes.

“MLY now processes our workload in minutes instead of months,” said Meagan Morrissey, Manager of Student and Staff Insights for the institution. Read the entire University of Newcastle case study on the Explorance website.

2. Explorance Blue is Changing the Game Again

Explorance Blue has long been a catalyst for driving data-driven decision-making in higher education to businesses worldwide. It remains an industry leader in the feedback space, revolutionizing how organizations collect relevant data, act on the resulting insights, and effectively close skill and knowledge gaps.

Blue enhancements shared at Explorance World will further facilitate the shift from passive data accumulation to active engagement. These optimizations open new avenues for organizations to increase survey response rates, overall engagement, and high-level goals attained through that growth, such as higher student enrollment and retention rates.

OpusVi, a workforce development solutions provider focused on upskilling top talent in healthcare, uses Explorance Blue to support its Nurse Residency program. With Blue, the program retention rate is 90%, an unprecedented success compared to its previous average of 50%. Blue has also helped OpusVI reduce turnover costs and strengthen nurses’ well-being.

Read the complete OpusVi case study on the Explorance website.

3. MLY AI Now Supercharges Metrics That Matter (MTM)

Explorance’s AI-powered feedback ecosystem is now integrated into the Metrics That Matter (MTM) solution. The learning measurement software now combines qualitative and quantitative data in a customizable dashboard to provide comprehensive learning analysis.

“Making the connection between structured data and using text analytics to help you understand what’s underneath it, that’s where you can get real power,” explained Duane Draper, Senior Product Manager at Microsoft and current MLY client.

This innovation provides Explorance and MTM customers with insights that facilitate the creation of a transformative roadmap for employee performance and leadership growth. Guests at Explorance World had the opportunity to participate in hands-on demos at the Technology Zone, which showcased how straightforward various implementations can be.

Visit the Metrics that Matter page on the Explorance website for more information on its capabilities.

4. Fearless Feedback Amplifies the Voice of the Employee

Explorance CEO Samer Saab opened the conference with an inspiring keynote highlighting the importance of feedback in all situations. He used the example of Nokia, a once-dominant mobile company that sunk into obscurity because of a severe lack of honest, transparent feedback in its organizational culture. 

“Operational success is driven by agility,” he said. “People are not willing to wait a year to be heard. They just leave.” Saab expressed how executives are often focused on what they can see and control directly, forgetting to listen to other levels of their business. 

“We need to make sure improvement is not just something that happens at the top,” Saab said. 

Canadian Olympic diver Alexandre Despatie also gave a rousing presentation about the importance of feedback in top-tier athletics. He provided examples of how he had to integrate his coach’s input into his work.

“A coach always has to know their athletes—you can’t speak to everyone in the same way. Managers must adapt the feedback they provide to their employees so that their comments are received and integrated well.” 

He later mentioned that leaders must have the courage to ask the right questions and guide them to reach their highest performance levels. “If you don’t love what you do, you’re taking a step back every day,” he explained.

5. The Best Way to Increase Survey Response Rates? Be Proactive

Increasing survey response rates was a topic on everyone’s mind at Explorance World. The recurring theme regarding response implementation boiled down to a single word: proactivity. 

Saab explained: “Don’t ask your students or employees if you already have the data.” If the information has already been collected, ask your students or staff how they feel once you’ve acted on the collected data. This approach makes all stakeholders feel listened to and motivates them to provide more extensive feedback down the road.

To achieve this end goal, focus on: 

  • Active listening, continuous listening (not continuous asking)
  • Getting feedback from an indirect or inferred source 
  • Developing proactive strategies to shape ROI, not passive ones

Saab put it simply: “Ask less questions and do more action.” Companies that work this way regarding feedback generally have no issues with survey engagement. 

6. Feedback and AI Together Can Strengthen Cultures of Wellness

Another burning topic for Explorance World attendees was creating a culture of wellness – and for good reason. 

Many workforces are currently caught up in a global mental health crisis that, according to a recent Deloitte study, has led to 77% of employees experiencing burnout at their current workplace. 91% say an unmanageable level of stress diminishes work quality.

Alexa James, CEO of NAMI Chicago, delivered an eye-opening keynote on how AI-powered feedback can cultivate authentic wellness cultures as they go beyond traditional wellness practices that, until recently, many organizations have mostly taken for granted.

In conversation with attendees, James highlighted the importance of committing to a healthy work-life balance, prioritizing mental and physical health. “To feel well, the basic human need is to be seen and heard—really heard,” she added. “While it’s possible to feel well while working in a dysfunctional organization, you can also feel dysfunctional in a healthy organization.”

Creating personalized tools and resources to support the individual, understanding organization-wide sentiments related to workplace wellness and providing confidential mental health support are among the actions James highlighted as pathways forward.

7. Innovative Methods and Mindsets are Required to Build a Braver Future

Building a solid feedback process is often best done by examining other successful cultures and how the process is rooted in their organizations. 

Yuu Kusuda, a Japanese HR leader, offered fascinating insights into how his culture gathers and analyzes feedback. While several aspects he shared may seem challenging to apply in a North American business context, Newashi culture practices could and should be adapted. 

Newashi roughly translates to “laying the groundwork”; in this context, it refers to the informal process Japanese employees go through of gathering feedback before an official 360 evaluation to foresee the results and adjust before the review.

This process is fundamental to Japanese culture. Kusuda warned the audience that this practice can often turn toxic to influence survey results, while still reiterating that Newashi is essential to work life in Japan and rooted in all employees’ shared respect for each other. 

Ultimately, this facet of Japanese companies shows the importance and results of a well-defined feedback culture. Leaders who adopt and develop this mindset within their organization can quickly build a fruitful work culture.

Building Towards An Even Bigger Explorance World in 2025

The 2024 edition of Explorance World was a resounding success, with attendees from around the world enjoying a unique learning, networking, and product demo opportunity in Montreal. Recognized experts delivered engaging keynote presentations and in-depth sessions throughout the week, establishing the event as one no higher education or business leader should miss.

The good news: Explorance World is returning with more can’t-miss content and surprises in 2025.

Register now on the event webpage to receive updates regarding next year’s event and on-demand content from the most recent edition

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