03 Jun 2016
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Employee engagement the secret to business success

By Catherine Knowles

To find success businesses need to invest in their employees first, according to a new survey by Qualtrics, the private research software company.

According to Qualtrics, employees are the lifeblood the organisation and employee engagement directly affects the bottom line and determines overall company performance and growth.

As such, annual employee engagement surveys are valuable instruments to diagnose pockets of low engagement in an organisation, and identify drivers of engagement from a range of organisational practices, Qualtrics says. However, they are a diagnostic designed for analysis, and have limitations when it comes to taking action, according to the company. 

In order to gain the most traction from their survey programme, organisations must also collect data more regularly and in a more actionable way, the company says.

Bill McMurray, Qualtrics managing director Asia Pacific and Japan, says, “Organisations that only collect employee feedback annually miss valuable opportunities to get ongoing feedback from their staff and dig deeper into issues or departments.

“Pulse surveys, which are short form, regular surveys, are easy to analyse and can be conducted regularly so organisations can take action on employee engagement issues as they arise and see if improvements are taking place.” 

In order for pulse surveys to be successful, Qualtrics recommends organisations consider four key elements. 

  1. Confidentiality is a must: If employees do not trust that surveys are confidential, then this can cause issues with getting honest feedback.  
  2. Share and take action: Organisations must put feedback into the hands of decision-makers and empower them to take ownership of their employee feedback with real-time, role-based reporting dashboards with closed loop action plans. 
  3. Lifecycle feedback: Lifecycle feedback lets organisations identify trends in employee engagement throughout their time with the business, rather than once per year.  
  4. Make it easy: Just as it should be easy for employees to provide feedback, so should it be easy for managers to implement pulse and annual engagement surveys, McMurray says.

He says, "Organisations should be empowered with an employee engagement and pulse platform like Qualtrics, which is easy to use, yet sophisticated. This enables organisations to implement their programmes faster, and be able to see the feedback in real-time. Role-based reporting dashboards are essential, to ensure managers are empowered with the right information to make necessary organisational changes.”  

According to Qualtrics, Bank of Queensland (BOQ) is a good example of an organisation benefiting from the paradigm shift in their employee engagement programmes. BOQ is able to capture and react in real-time to employee feedback and follow up their annual employee engagement survey with pulse surveys. 

Jodie Roach, organisational development consultant and BOQ, says, “Before implementing Qualtrics, BOQ performed an annual employee engagement survey. It took months to create and distribute the survey, then analyse the results. The bank really needed an online platform that would give them control over the process and deliver real-time results.” 

“With Qualtrics, we can now see survey results in real-time using manager-appropriate dashboards. This means managers can see feedback from their teams and can act on that information instantly. The insight enabled by Qualtrics has been one of the factors that has seen BOQ’s employees’ engagement increase significantly over the last few years,” she says.

“BOQ can also conduct pulse surveys in combination with their annual employee engagement surveys. Pulse surveys are shorter surveys designed to get more specific feedback on particular areas or issues, and the results can be compared year-on-year so we can get an accurate measurement of how well we are addressing the issues over time,” says Roach.

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