Employee engagement has been an HR topic for decades. We’ve been measuring engagement with long surveys, debriefing executive teams with elaborate presentations, and analyzing data along different dimensions — all with the intent to move the needle on increasing employee engagement, which in turn makes customers happier and creates better outcomes.
But tracking engagement numbers in itself does not help solve problems. Today, it is more important than ever to understand what’s behind these numbers, identify the issues people are facing, and take quick action to address them.
As the world crashed around us in March 2020, everything changed. Most companies had to quickly deal with new business models, transformed products and services, remote work, employee and customer safety, children at home, care requirements for sick family members, job security concerns, and changes in job roles. Organizations had to step up quickly to learn what challenges their employees were facing, digest the information, and take action -- and then do it all over again a week or two later. So, leaders turned to listening at speed and digesting and acting rapidly. In doing so, many saw a significant increase in employee engagement. For example, Deutsche Telekom experienced an increase in employee engagement of 11 points, a massive accomplishment in an organization with more than 210,000 employees. Why? Because people felt they had a voice, felt heard, and saw action.
Recent research into the business impact of pandemic-related organizational responses found that listening to the workforce when making return-to-work plans had an outsized impact on business and people outcomes. In fact, this practice was one of the ten most impactful, exceeding practices such as attestations, remote work programs, or the use of pandemic data to govern workforce strategies. Without listening to employees, any program will fall flat because it will not hit the mark. Read more in our pandemic response study.
About This Report
1. The Changing World of Employee Experience
2. Modeling Customer Experience: A Listening Framework
3. Listening at Scale: Key to a Successful Listening Strategy
4. Considerations for Employee Experience Technology
Josh Bersin is an internationally recognized analyst, educator, and thought leader focusing on the global talent market and the challenges impacting business workforces around the world. He studies the world of work, HR and leadership practices, and the broad talent technology market.