Are we there yet?  Is 2017 FINALLY the year to say buh-bye to the annual engagement survey?

Are we there yet? Is 2017 FINALLY the year to say buh-bye to the annual engagement survey?

January 3, 2017 | Rob Catalano

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Companies are still doing annual engagement surveys… Definitely not ideal, but also– we get it.  It’s tough to change things you’ve been doing for a long time. But clearly, what we’ve been doing isn’t working. That’s why we keep hearing every year that almost 70% of employees are disengaged.  Proof-positive our workforce solutions need to change.

When it comes to the annual engagement survey, its time is up.  Many companies are starting to shift their approaches already.

We can’t say it any better than Bersin by Deloitte in their HR Technology Disruptions for 2017 publication. “There is a new understanding in the people management market that feedback and always-on engagement measurement are critical to business success.”

And that’s the key… business success.

Many HR executives lament how difficult it is to purchase new HR technology, or change HR processes, because they have to first ‘sell it to their CFO’ or CEO. At the end of the day, the outputs that organizations want (like high customer satisfaction and profitability) come from the biggest input you can control – the behaviors, retention and engagement of every employee.

This focus on employees is becoming important, and is echoed in Bersin by Deloitte’s report as the second major technology disruption in 2017. They call it “An Explosion in Real-Time Engagement Evaluation.”

Survey says?

We stated earlier that annual engagement surveys aren’t working. In reality it’s not the actual survey itself, but the inability to get continuous insight which sparks the right actions. When organizations frequently tune in to the employee voice, it gives them a pulse on how individuals are feeling.They can collect feedback on where to make an impact.

So, the survey says… ‘act informed’.  Act on data, not desire, and make your engagement practices reflect that structure. The more frequently you evaluate engagement, dig deeper, and have the right conversations, you’ll be empowered and informed to act accordingly.

Insight is King… and Queen

That “always-on engagement measurement” is what offers the insight that makes the difference. Organizations realize that when they can instantly see an issue with a specific department, location, team, type of employee or a specific leader it allows them to dig deeper and ‘deal with smoke before fire.’

This insight needs to be as real-time as the other important metrics companies look at frequently.  Do companies look at revenues or margins annually?  Clearly not.

According to the aforementioned Deloitte report, “People Analytics have now truly arrived.”  Technology  makes the process much easier.

What can I do about it?

We spend a lot of time thinking about this issue and supporting this shift through technology.

By the way, engagement isn’t the only thing  that suffers when you choose an annual process. In a recent Forbes article, 10 Workplace Trends You’ll See in 2017, they also explain how “Annual performance reviews evolve into more continuous reviews” Real-time HR practices are taking off.

Rob Catalano

Rob Catalano

Rob Catalano is WorkTango’s Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer. Rob has spent the last 17 years building HR Technology companies.