The What, Where, How, and Why of Omnichannel Feedback

Written by Explorance.

Employee on the computer, manager holding data

At the basic level, omnichannel feedback allows organizations to collect feedback from employees through multiple channels and touchpoints to gain a comprehensive and holistic understanding of their organizational experiences. This approach recognizes that employees interact with their workplace in various ways and at different times, and it aims to capture their feedback through the most convenient and meaningful channels. The goal is to create a seamless and integrated feedback process that allows employees to provide input and share their opinions across different communication channels.

Understanding Omnichannel Feedback

According to research by Gartner, there are three realms of feedback to explore: direct, indirect, and inferred.

  1. Direct Feedback: What employees tell you when you ask, gathered through formal listening channels.

Involves employees expressing their sentiments, experiences, and suggestions through various channels explicitly designed for feedback collection. This could be anything from employee engagement surveys, exit surveys, face-to-face meetings, focus groups, etc. Direct feedback allows employees to provide their input in a structured manner, enabling organizations to gather valuable insights and make informed decisions based on predetermined questions and the responses employees provide.

  1. Indirect Feedback: Unsolicited and informal feedback given through discussion boards, rating sites, and social channels.

Refers to the information, opinions, or insights your employees share without being explicitly solicited. Unlike direct feedback, which is provided through designated channels, indirect feedback arises organically from sources external to formal feedback mechanisms such as social media platforms, online reviews on websites like Glassdoor, informal discussions among colleagues, and comments on company communication channels. Indirect feedback offers organizations an opportunity to gain unfiltered perspectives and understand the sentiments and experiences of employees outside of structured feedback initiatives.

  1. Inferred Feedback: Demographic, behavioural, and environmental metadata to unlock more context and provide depth.

This type of feedback includes data collected throughout an employee’s journey across various organizational touchpoints. Examples of inferred data include information from HRIS. It involves analyzing contextual information, patterns, and cues to draw conclusions about the underlying feedback or sentiments that might not be explicitly expressed.

Here are some examples of how inferred feedback can be applied to employee experience:

  • Employee Engagement: Inferred feedback might involve analyzing data such as employee participation in company events, the level of enthusiasm in team meetings, or trends in employee turnover. If participation is low, enthusiasm is lacking, and turnover is high, an organization might infer that there are employee engagement and satisfaction issues.
  • Workload and Stress: By examining patterns in absenteeism, sick leave, or overtime hours, organizations can infer whether employees are experiencing high levels of stress or burnout. A significant increase in these patterns may indicate a problem with workload or workplace stress.
  • Team Dynamics: Inferred feedback can be used to assess team dynamics and collaboration. For instance, declining communication and collaboration on digital platforms or increased team conflict might suggest team cohesion and dynamics challenges.

Benefits of Omnichannel Feedback

To gain a meaningful understanding of the employee experience and how to enhance it, it’s crucial for these three different types of feedback to complement each other. While direct feedback allows employees to express their thoughts and concerns openly, indirect feedback reveals hidden insights through behavioural indicators. Inferred feedback connects these dots, offering a deeper understanding by analyzing patterns and trends derived from all feedback sources. Here are some of the benefits of having an omnichannel approach to employee feedback:

  • Holistic View: By gathering feedback from multiple channels, organizations gain a more holistic and comprehensive view of the Voice of the Employee. This broader perspective allows for a deeper understanding of employee experiences, needs, and sentiments across various touchpoints.
  • Diverse Insights: Each feedback channel provides unique insights and perspectives. Omnichannel feedback enables organizations to capture employees’ diverse opinions, ideas, and suggestions. This diversity of insights helps identify patterns, emerging trends, and potential areas for improvement.
  • Enhanced Objectivity: Omnichannel feedback encourages a more objective approach to feedback gathering. Organizations can use data from various channels to identify and rectify any inherent biases in survey questions, ensuring that the feedback collected is as impartial and accurate as possible.
  • Increased Participation: Embracing multiple feedback channels encourages greater employee participation. Employees may feel more comfortable expressing their opinions through channels that suit their preferences or provide confidentiality. This leads to higher engagement and a richer pool of feedback.
  • Avoiding Survey Fatigue: It’s a good idea to have a regular schedule of surveys to make your employees feel heard. This also allows you to compare data from different periods of time or quarters. However, survey fatigue can be a real issue.

One of the main benefits of an omnichannel employee feedback strategy is that it allows you to reduce the number of surveys you send by getting your data from other sources. This means you can send surveys only when they are the absolute best data-gathering medium and avoid survey fatigue.

  • Employee-Centric Approach: Omnichannel feedback emphasizes an employee-centric approach. It demonstrates that organizations value and prioritize the Voice of their Employees, fostering a culture of openness, transparency, and trust.

Omnichannel Feedback and AI-Powered Comment Analysis

The connection between omnichannel feedback and comment analysis (also known as text analytics) lies in the ability to harness the power of unstructured text data. As omnichannel feedback, derived from various external and internal sources, offers valuable insights into employee experiences, comment analysis systematically examines text comments, such as those found in open-ended survey responses, emails, or social media interactions.

This process utilizes Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning techniques to understand sentiment, identify trends, and categorize comments based on themes or topics. An AI-powered comment analysis tool like Explorance MLY takes it a step further with its specialized model trained on real employee comments and HR context. A recommendation model goes beyond categories to determine when a comment is a formative forward-looking recommendation – what to start, stop, or continue doing.

Together, omnichannel feedback and comment analysis enable organizations to effectively leverage the wealth of information available through multiple internal and external sources.

  1. Data Collection and Unstructured Text: Comment analysis is pivotal in processing and analyzing this unstructured text, making it more actionable.
  2. Insight Generation and Customization: Text analytics transforms unstructured text data into structured insights, helping organizations uncover trends, sentiment, and emerging issues.
  3. Real-Time Analysis and Actionable Insights: Omnichannel feedback and AI-powered comment analysis form a powerful combination for extracting value from diverse feedback channels. Organizations can operate in real-time and respond promptly to feedback, address concerns, and make data-driven decisions to enhance the employee experience.

The Feedback Analytics Approach

Omnichannel feedback, in combination with AI-powered comment analysis, becomes a powerful tool to enhance the employee experience. This multifaceted feedback strategy ensures that organizations receive a comprehensive view of the employee journey, capturing both direct and indirect insights. Furthermore, integrating text analytics and inferred feedback amplifies the power of omnichannel feedback, enabling organizations to uncover hidden patterns, trends, and emerging issues. This holistic approach empowers organizations to respond promptly, make data-driven decisions, and continually enhance the workplace environment.

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