Launching a Voice of the Employee Program to Increase Retention
Written by Explorance.
With a deepening labor crisis, it’s no secret to any HR department that the best strategy now is to ensure you can keep your current employees. Additionally, unhappy employees who decide to stay can still negatively impact your organization’s overall productivity.
A recent study estimated that disengaged employees cost companies up to $550B every year. It’s easy to assume that your employees don’t fall in this category, but with a figure this large, it’s safe to say most companies have a few of them in their workforce.
An increasingly common solution touted as an answer to this issue is the Voice of the Employee (VoE). These programs can be daunting if they are not properly planned, but the results have been lifesavers for several companies.
This article will provide you with actionable VoE tips and best practices, so you can launch your own without a hitch.
Collecting voice of the employee data
While varied question types are important, and multiple choice is the easiest to analyze, open-ended questions are critical to a voice of the employee program. They allow for the most data gathering while preventing potential biases in questions by allowing employees to voice their opinions fully.
Additionally, they can be useful tools to detect any type of change in mood by running sentiment analysis software on the results of the same question asked a few months apart.
Feedback gathering platform
Voice of the Employee programs rely heavily on large quantities of data from a variety of sources, both internal and external. A common pitfall of these campaigns comes from HR departments thinking they can be done manually.
A robust platform like Explorance Blue, which supports your most important feedback processes (engagement surveys, 360 reviews, etc.) is absolutely necessary for voice of the employee programs, both to scale the data gathering and also to obtain the most accurate analysis. While this might be an investment, it is essential to these programs’ success.
A proper voice of the employee program is a daunting task with several moving parts. HR and other departments must be fully united on the program to facilitate the data gathering and especially to execute meaningful changes based on the data.
The best and simplest way to achieve this is to get executive buy-in at the highest level to show all managers and employees that this is a company priority that everyone should take seriously. This has the added benefit of also showing employees that management truly cares enough to make their voices a major metric.
Analyzing employee voice data
While data gathering in itself is a powerful way to show your employees you truly care about their thoughts and feelings, the true purpose is to act on the trends you discover in the data. This can only be done via a robust data analysis plan; here are a few important aspects to keep in mind.
Reading and analyzing everything your employees write about your organization is unrealistic. With internal and external data spanning various sites from different sources (Glassdoor comments vs survey answers, for example), it is crucial to rely on cutting-edge technology to save time and get the most accurate data analysis possible.
Machine learning comment analysis – Like Explorance BlueML – is a powerful tool for detecting trends and categorizing your open-ended feedback into actionable insights. Additionally, by design, machine learning models get more and more accurate with the more data you feed into them. The regular nature of voice of the employee programs makes them perfect candidates for machine learning applications.
Once you’ve gathered your data, the next critical step is to categorize it into different buckets that will allow you to identify trends. Common buckets are data source, department within the company, role type, seniority and age range.
These categories will allow you to evaluate the response needed to the trend identified. For example, you’ll want to react differently if a particular age group is voicing concerns; certain negative comments from external platforms can be filtered out if they are unconstructive.
This can be as simple as positive vs negative, but a proper machine learning platform like Explorance BlueML can also allow you to identify specific topics linked to the sentiment and the reasons behind it, with recommendations for the next steps. Obviously, you’d want to react differently to a negative comment if it was because of bad management versus employee overwhelm.
Acting on your Voice of the Employee program
Once you’ve gathered data and analyzed it, it’s time to go back to the executive team you originally got buy-in from to present your proposed changes. Again, it’s crucial to present a united front to show that the voice of the employee is a company-wide priority.
Here are three aspects to keep in mind to ensure your program has the desired impact:
One of the most powerful things you can do with the results of a VoE program is to share them openly with your employees, no matter the results. Even if the trends and opinions lean to the negative, share them and own up to the required changes.
Ensure to make this a fully branded experience, taking time to produce easily understandable graphics and content surrounding the results. This will make it more easily digested by employees while also showing your commitment to the program.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is critical to present your employees with a list of changes with a strict timeline linked to the results of your voice of the employee program. The way you react to the data you gather will be the true metric your employees keep in mind at the end of the day.
Regular feedback schedule
One of the most important aspects of a voice of the employee program is having a regular data-gathering schedule. Not only will this allow you to remain agile and assess if the changes you’ve made are working, but it’s also another powerful show of the importance of your VoEprogram.
Voice of the Employee is a crucial metric
There are no two ways about it: the best investment any company can make is in employee retention. However, this abstract concept is hard to grasp and can change across industries and countries.
This is why voice of the employee has become a crucial metric for companies looking to improve their employee productivity while keeping them satisfied. These programs have become far more than simple surveys, and their value is felt around the world.
Remember that you’re not alone in this; a voice of the employee program is a team effort that must be backed with technology. They are the most impactful and rewarding challenges an HR department can undertake when properly executed.
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