Written by Sneh Kadakia
“At Sky, we know we’re only as good as the motivation, commitment, and development of the people who work for us. They are critical to our success.”
— Paul Boyle, Director of HR Strategy, Insight, and Planning at Sky
People data enriches business strategy
What are the key metrics that help you measure the success and growth of your business? The list probably contains some combination of financial, customer, and operational measures. Many leaders today make the mistake of overlooking their front-line, employee input as a vital source of company insight. And for too many leaders who are making the effort to listen, the data they get is often disconnected from — even seen as irrelevant to — business success. The world’s best companies involve employees in the solutions that impact them and make it easy for leaders to see the link between business and people success.
When people data and business results are disconnected, companies end up deploying strategies, changes, and decisions based on a partial understanding of the problem or gap they are trying to solve. This wastes time, energy, and resources. At the end of it all, many leaders remain uninformed about root causes and lack confidence to effect meaningful change.
If you’re one of these leaders or companies, chances are you’re trying hard to figure out what’s lacking in order to move the needle forward on growth and strategy. Here’s the missing link: The real and valuable insight comes from connecting company metrics to HR data and employee input so seamlessly that leaders can see their company as a completed puzzle instead of a pile of pieces.
Inclusion is not just a diversity issue
Why wouldn’t you use direct, front-line employee experiences and perspectives about your business? Your people have first-hand knowledge about what’s working, what’s not working, and suggestions on how to address whatever it may be. And they may be keeping all of this to themselves depending on your current company culture and previous use of employee feedback. Or worse, their feedback is left unacknowledged or inactioned.
“Feedback is a gift. When we withhold it, we are doing disservice to that person because we’re stopping them from reaching their full potential. Bring it on, because it can only help us.”
Inclusion of feedback from your employees is a business priority — not just an HR priority. Our data confirms that employees who feel involved, valued, and heard are more likely to stay with the company, delight customers, and even avoid injuries. We also consistently come across leaders who don’t necessarily believe these connections until the insights and analytics proves them to be true. That’s the power of connecting data — you accept and eventually expect business outcomes to be linked to your employee experience.
Reaping the benefits of employee input
So what’s stopping you from gathering timely information from employees at all levels, teams and functions across your business? One reason may be your company’s hesitance to gather and use employee input, and the second reason may be your employee’s willingness to share their input.
Inciting the change from the top down is key for adoption of people data and employee input. Here are some tips on where to start:
- Have an open conversation with your executive team. How many of the key decisions that impact the business do they believe will be driven by the front-line? How are they currently using front-line input to improve the business?
- Create or update your employee pulse program. When collecting formal input through a pulse, make sure the questions relate to your business metrics. For example, you will want to ask your employees about empowerment when customer satisfaction is the key performance indicator. At Glint, we also find self-ratings of engagement and purpose to be consistent drivers of retention, performance, customer satisfaction, and safety.
- Change the mindset leaders have about people data. Data is a great way to start a conversation with your company, teams and individuals. The ultimate goal is to have better and more frequent conversations about how we can all be happier and more successful.
- Encourage leaders to acknowledge and encourage all input. Openly explain why some ideas are being implemented and others are not. Pay attention to the actions of leaders, because how they use people data will set the tone for the rest of the organization.
- Use design thinking with front-line teams to address and action feedback. This increases the speed and quality of your solutions and innovations. Further, it empowers issues to be resolved at the heart of the matter.
And how do you get your employees to open up? The two most important factors linked to getting high quality inputs from employees — especially honest, prescriptive feedback and suggestions — are to provide: 1) a safe, approachable environment where feedback is valued and appreciated, and 2) a tangible, visible set of feedback-based actions across, up and down the organization.
“Glint isn’t just a tool, it’s an integral part of the way the we make decisions that impact our company. Glint allows us to create a dialogue with and about our people that I increasingly hear in leadership meetings, and in the hallways every day.”
About the Author
Sneh Kadakia is an OD Science Consultant at Glint. Sneh has dedicated her growing career to leading meaningful people-centric initiatives that drive business and talent strategies forward. Prior to Glint, Sneh held many influential internal HR roles across all specializations at Namely and Nielsen. Most notably, she has global organizational development experience from working in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and across Latin America. Sneh has a Master’s in I/O Psychology from New York University. Find her on LinkedIn.