The business world knows the value of truly knowing employees and it is agreed that employee engagement is not just any fad, but a tradition that has existed since the early 1990s. However, the process has undergone phenomenal changes.
Today the employee cohort is highly heterogenous, comprising everyone from baby boomers to Gen Z members. Employees of all generations co-exist together on the shop floor with different motivations and ways of expressing their opinions. The biggest challenge that leaders face in terms of whipping out attractive policies and practices directed towards pleasing all (gone are the days when we thought of only the majority) is a lack of thorough knowledge. Apparently, owing to multiple reasons that we will discuss going forward, employees withhold their true feelings about their managers, organizational culture, and senior leadership.
Anonymous annual feedback survey
To overcome this roadblock, business leaders introduced anonymous annual feedback collection. This took away employees’ worries about and retribution from stakeholders such as their bosses and senior leadership if they revealed negative emotions. Although some organizations boast of an open culture based on the free flow of feedback, the reality is that such workplaces are few and far between.Thus, anonymous feedback helps a company’s leadership to identify the broad problem areas with respect to organizational culture and people practices. However, it lacked critical insights required to make fundamental changes.
Pros of anonymous employee feedback surveys
• Everyone is confident in sharing their honest opinions as they are not judged.
• Anonymity increases the participation rate of feedback-based surveys.
However, the disadvantages outnumber the advantages when it comes to anonymous feedback.
Cons of anonymous employee feedback surveys
• Lack of accountability leads to ambiguous and non-contextual feedback from employees.
• Workers’ challenges remain unresolved.
• Collected employee data collected cannot be linked back to the employees.
• No concrete solution to the overall challenges of diminishing employee satisfaction and a high attrition rate.
• Tedious for HR and management to pinpoint pain areas of employees.
Continuous Engagement Software
Continuous engagement software that is backed by contemporary technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) is a full-proof, futuristic solution to the employee engagement problem. With the help of this software, the HR teams can receive continuous feedback from employees and are equipped to settle employees’ issues with their managers.
This tech-enabled survey tool helps to alleviate employees’ worries of retribution, with an underwriting assurance of confidentiality to all employees. However, it presents another predicament—confidentiality versus anonymity.
Anonymous versus confidential
Before we go any deeper into this issue, let us clarify the difference between ‘anonymous’ and ‘confidential’. Essentially, when we talk about anonymous feedback surveys, what we mean is that workers are confident that their identities will not be attached to or associated with their survey responses.
However, any evolved software such as Amara is aware of the identities of the employees but takes steps to protect them from being discovered by others. This means that Amara keeps employees’ information confidential- she does not reveal it to their bosses and other leadership in the organization, however, it will be known to a few members of the HR and that information will be visible to all employees on Amara’s dashboard.
Having said that, Amara also has an anonymous chat option whereby the workers who are not comfortable sharing their identities even with the HR team can conceal their identity. We also see that in the due course, the HR team eventually convinces them to disclose their identities as they resolve their issues.
The power of confidentiality
Interestingly, the dynamic chat-based engagement software allows employees to keep their identities concealed from their direct mangers, manager’s manager and other senior leadership and revealed to a neutral yet influential lot such as members of the HR. With this feature, it is a win-win for both-HR is equipped with critical information about employees’ moods and emotions that cause low satisfaction levels, while the employees get their issues addressed and are hopeful that it will lead to an action plan. Any thoughts of leaving the organization, goes on the backburner after wording out their worry and negative feelings. The power of venting is the biggest healer and that holds true even in the business world.
Selecting the right engagement solution means balancing both needs—anonymity and confidentiality—of employees. Amara is a winner here. If we were to draw a comparison of the annual anonymous feedback survey and continuous engagement software, the result from the former gives an incomplete picture of people problems even from the macro view. But the latter gives both the macro and micro view of people practices, enabling the HR to not only resolve individual issues but also redesign winning practices for future.
Continuous engagement software empowers the HR to play an active role in keeping employees productive, retainable, and content. Research by Qualtrics shows that companies who act well on feedback have twice the engagement score than those that don’t — 80 percent versus 40 percent.
The success of tech-enabled engagement bots such as Amara is thanks to the ability to analyze thousands of data sets in real-time and narrowing down employees’ problems to specific issues that can be addressed by corrective action undertaken by the top brass.
The multi-generational workforce of today, which is dominated by millennials, requires a dynamic tech platform to express its thoughts and anything short of that would mean no participation. Along with that, they expect instant gratification which means that their feedback should be acted upon. With 70 percent workforce comprising millennials by 2022, most organizations have transformed their employee engagement process into a digital one. Have you?