David Richter Hello everyone. And thank you for joining us for today’s webinar about the benefits of always-on employee engagement and how to move to an always-on engagement strategy. My name is David Richter. I’m the head of marketing at CIPHR, and we’re joined today by David Godden from Thymometrics. For those of you who don’t know CIPHR, we develop SaaS HR and recruitment systems that help organisations to attract, engage, retain, and manage their workforce across the whole employee life cycle. Early this month, we launched new integrations with a number of trusted specialist providers, including Thymometrics, who, by integrating their solutions with CIPHR’s HR system makes CIPHR even more powerful. That’s it for me. So David, do you wanna take it from here?
David Godden Yes, that’s great. Thank you very much indeed, David. As mentioned…thank you very much for that warm welcome and introduction. My name is David Gordon. I head up the sales marketing operations here at Thymometrics. Very privileged to be partners with David and the great team at CIPHR and excited to be working on a number of dual projects together. Just to give a little bit of background to us, Thymometrics was formed in 2013. The primary objective to improve the lives of employees whilst providing managers and HR teams inside and tools to make changes at critical moments in time.
We felt that there had to be a better method of gauging the mood of a workforce and eliciting feedback that reflects the nature of business. And that really, the annual approach to engagement is both outdated, it’s inflexible, and it also takes a single snapshot of business at only one moment in time. So with new technologies now available to us and a workplace that’s much more in tune to working online expecting immediate feedback, we created Thymometrics to fit this model. And so was born the concept of an always-on approach to employee engagement.
Our mantra is driving employee engagement isn’t an annual event so why is the survey? So with that in mind, I’d like to quickly run through the agenda for today’s webinar. I’ll be sharing a reasonable amount of information over the next 35 minutes or so. So please feel to take any notes. But as David mentioned, this is gonna be recorded so you can listen to that at your pleasure. So today, I’m going to be going over the following topics. Firstly, why employee engagement is such a global problem. As I’m sure you’re aware. What is always-on engagement and how does this address some of these issues? I’ll be spending a little time looking at the new employee-centric world we live in, and how this could be affected by your engagement strategy.
I’ll then take you through some real world examples of how we can utilise always-on engagement in your own business. And lastly, I’ll discuss how we can move to an always-on strategy in your own business. There’s some insights from some of our own customers and how they’ve managed to do this successfully. And as David mentioned, at the end of this session, there’ll be time for you to ask any questions you wish So the first issue, the problem of employee engagement. Around the world, employee engagement has become a real problem. According to Gallup, 87% of the global workforce is actively disengaged, which is a horrendous statistic, I’m sure you’d agree.
Low employee engagement has a direct bearing on other human capital problems, including turnover, performance, absenteeism, and ultimately, that all affects profitability of the business. It’s estimated that some 32% of workers aged between 18 and 35 can see themselves leaving their job within a year. That’s extremely bad news for employers who are trying to attract and retain a very strong workforce. So what can employers do? Some question engagement has much to do with performance and profitability of the company. However, when employees are disengaged from the culture and mission of your company, nearly all other aspects of your business can falter.
Millennials who now officially surpass all other generations of workers are very comfortable working with online tools and expect immediacy in all aspects of their work and personal lives. If they can’t get to the support they need in the workplace, they tend to quickly check out. So one study that I just highlighted here done by Lightspeed Research indicates that 51% of millennials are planning to leave their company in the next couple of years, compared 37% of Generation X and 25% of baby boomers. This is quite an alarming statistic.
And I’m sure you know that turnover is a very costly problems, especially with present talent shortages. Consider the cost of recruitment, training, loss of IP, which is potentially a game for your own competitors. And the general upheaval to other team members. Engagement is also directly linked to low performance, poor morale and even problems with the way employees treat their customers. And all of this, as I mentioned, affects the bottom line.
So traditionally, the way to try and learn about how your employees feel has been for you to ask them for their input. This is being handled in a number of ways. Most commonly, what we call the dreaded annual survey. Very few employees or managers, for that matter, enjoy this process of being asked to answer a lot of questions, many of which seem meaningless or irrelevant to them. And they don’t really understand why they’re being asked some of these questions, leading to suspicion and can be perceived as a threat.
Then there are 360, 180 surveys which are used to get gain a broader view of employees from their peers and colleagues. These can be very useful for formulating focus groups, or one to ones to discuss face to face issues that may be highlighted by the survey. Then there are ad hoc surveys, which can be useful for one-off events in the business or activities, for example, during change management campaigns, or when a specific issue needs addressing.
These are all useful methods to gain insight. But they are all discrete one time snapshots with little correlation between them. As a result, they tend to be blind trends, pretty inflexible, lacking kind of agility to act in the moment as it were. And to employees, they’re seen as manager driven activities with unclear benefits to them. Doesn’t really address the what’s in it for me question that gets asked. So traditional survey methods tend to give you little or no warning to employee issues until it’s too late. Therefore, HR can be busy putting out fires instead of proactively and strategically improving engagement.
Today’s workforce demands an employee engagement philosophy that requires an employee-centric approach, which can’t easily be addressed through traditional methods of feedback. Always-on engagement is the next evolution in employee feedback. It’s proactive, predictive, and practical. Just like to quote a good friend of ours, Josh Bersin, who I’m sure many of you have heard of. He’s pretty much the authority on the future of HR technology. We’re a big fan of Josh and pleased to say he’s a big fan of ours. But he says, “Today’s world of work has been disrupted by technology changes in the nature of jobs, and the increasing power of each individual.”
And this message really rings true to our philosophy and speaks to the way employees now expect to be treated. When I first started work, many, many moons ago, I felt that it was a privilege. So I was honoured to have a job.But the market and generational values were very much different back then. Now companies have to work very hard on their own value proposition to entice and keep their employees.
So you may be wondering what employee engagement means. I’ve already mentioned that once-a-year surveys are no longer useful in today’s fast moving and ever changing business climate. Instead now the role of human resources is to continually monitor employees and measure the success of their efforts. Real time employee engagement taps into the daily ups and downs of organization with clear indicators of what’s working well and what needs improvement. The data that always-on employee engagement provides is more accurate, it’s timely, relevant to the direction of the business at that time. Problems can be identified quickly and strategic action can be taken. It empowers human resources and management teams to make timely improvements for employees so they will stay connected the organisation and its goals.
So let’s dig a little deeper into what always-on employee engagement really looks like. I’ll briefly explain what the always-on cycle of employee engagement looks like. And later in this presentation, I’ll show you how Thymometrics speaks to this model. But unlike the traditional survey process, which would happen maybe over weeks, maybe even over months, and to get the final output by which time this the findings may be out of date. With an always-on approach, the process is cyclical and happens all the time. So the survey is built. It’s promoted, instantaneously you’re gathering analysis. You’re gathering information about what people are feeling at any given time.
You can literally on the fly, or strategically, you can start to investigate. You can dig deeper into what people are feeling in different parts of the business about different aspects of their job. You can then start to make action plans. So how best to address each of these concerns? And finally, that’s then fed back into the company and fed back into the survey, making this, as I mentioned, the cyclical process that’s happening all the time to address the ebb and flow of the business.
If you’re accustomed to using traditional employee engagement surveys, you may wonder how you can utilize always-on technology to improve those engagement levels. Well, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each. With a traditional survey, it tends to be once a year or maybe once every two years or maybe once every six months. But it tends to be a lengthy and complex process. It has to be because it’s trying to fit everything into one hit as it were. Therefore because of that complexity you will require third party reliance and input from others. As I mentioned, the output is pretty outdated by the time it’s formulated into action plans. The company’s moved on. And it’s a one way communication tool. It’s really asking employees, what do they think? What do they feel? But there’s really no kind of two-way communication element. It’s a company broadcast method. And ultimately, that leads to the fact that it’s an employer centric process.
With modern surveys, you can run all the time or anytime. It’s a much more simplified process. It has to be. If you’re expecting people to be providing feedback on a more regular basis, it has to be a simplified process that people understand, they get and they can engage with. Therefore, because it’s simplified, it can be self-managed. It doesn’t rely on third parties to manage the process. You’re able to take real time and obviously trend snapshots over periods of time to see how things are getting better or worse, or staying the same. And because we’ve introduced a two-way communication element in this, it’s been used by employees to make their own suggestions, to make their own input into the whole process. And therefore, this is leading to this whole new way of looking at things which is the employee-centric world and something that most companies now really have to embrace.
So shifting to an employee-centric culture, this leads from what I was mentioning earlier on that human resources is returning to a more human employee-centric approach. Why is this happening? Well, as mentioned, it’s a talent-driven market currently, and will be for the foreseeable future. Consider this as part of the shift in thinking, employee engagement must be a leadership responsibility and not just an HR one. People stay with companies that have good management practices, but ultimately, how well you manage employee engagement will dictate how well your company will thrive in the years to come.
So I realise that an employee-centric focus requires a shift in thinking. You may well have this model set up in your business already. But it can have an enormously positive effect on your business if you take this this approach. It improves the corporate brand to attract top talent. It taps into the increasingly transparent world that organisations have to embrace. You just have to look at Glassdoor reviews, for example, left by employees, or how one post to social media can affect your brand in an instant.
This is all part of the new world of work where the individual has to be highly valued. As already described, an always-on approach to engagement speaks to the Facebook messaging, Instagram posting generation by being open, transparent, and in the moment. Just an example of how things are shifting in our own world, more and more of our customers include the output from surveys as part of their regular team meetings to assess not just how projects are progressing, but how mood is shifting in tandem. No longer are these two things seen in isolation.
So I hear you ask, “What does a modern survey look like?” I’m gonna show you a little walk-through of our product. There are other products available. But I’d just like to show you how we address employee engagement. There’s essentially three elements to our product. There’s a survey and a feedback mechanism. Secondly, there’s the analytics reporting and action planning section. Thirdly, there’s a two-way anonymous communication section, which is really a game changer in our opinion.
So a survey, as I mentioned earlier on, that you’d expect employees to be using regularly has to be simple to use, easy to understand, and provide employees with the ability to engage with the company. And of course, at all times, this remains anonymous. So what we’re looking at here is one of our sample surveys. We have down in the centre of the page, you may be able to just read there. we’ve got these several factors. And for each factor or question, we have sliders. We have two sliders for each question. One is satisfaction, which I’m sure you’re all very familiar with. We don’t have any numbers associated with this. We don’t believe that you should have numbers. It’s a mood. It’s a sentiment. It’s not something you can put a finger against.
But in addition to the satisfaction, which is very common on surveys, we also include an importance slider. And we believe that this is something that’s just fundamentally missing from just about every survey that’s out there. It’s one thing to say how satisfied you are about something in your job. But if it’s not important to you, then it doesn’t really matter that much.
So this all of a sudden provides us with a two-dimensional view of people’s feeling about their workplace and their role in it. At the bottom of the page, you may be able to just see that we have a free text area. That can be to gauge specifics about the employee’s roll. It could be asking if there’s one thing you could change about your business, what would it be. But it’s giving the employee really a voice within the business to feed back, to give back, to answer or request information from their managers. And this is a different approach from the kind of broadcast method, which is really the one time survey a year.
Once somebody hits the submit button on that survey, and bear in mind, this can be done on a tablet, on an iPhone. It can be done at any time, anywhere. It’s sitting there out in the cloud. And no installation required. It’s just a process that can be done at any time. Once that information is pushed back into Thymometrics, we go into the second part of our solution, which is the analytics and the real time reporting of the feedback. So I’m not gonna go through all of the reports. But this really is just to give you an example of what we can see. Across the top of that traffic light block in the centre of the page there, we have all of the questions that were answered in the survey. And then down the left hand side, we have the way in which you would like your organisation to be split.
And that can be by in this example, we’ve got geography, we’ve got job function. It could be anything. It could be age band, gender, whatever you wish to push into Thymometrics. And through this really, very top level overview of the business, a CEO could pop into this once a week, as many of our customers do, and see just how the mood of the businesses is at any given time. Although it’s not clear from what you’re looking at here, we can see certainly a vertical red band. Red means that somebody or a group of people have stated that in this example, job security for them is both extremely important and they’re extremely dissatisfied with it. Through all the magic in the background of our system that produces a color coded rectangle in this case.
And so you can start to see right across the board, regardless of geography, regardless of function. You can see that there’s an issue here. There’s a worry. There’s concern about job security. Conversely, green means when somebody slid this little slider to say that they’re extremely satisfied with this part of their job. And it’s extremely important to them. That shows up as green. And we’ve got a green vertical band looking over towards the left of that traffic light blog.
And that’s very interesting. And obviously, that’s given some insights. But it’s kind of static information. What do we do with that? Well, we can dig more deeply. We can take a deeper dive in to identify what the problems are and maybe do something about it. So I can use another one of our reports, called a fine map. And that is gonna then take us into a much deeper dive. As I mentioned, I’m looking here, may not be very clear on the screen there. But we’re looking at job security. In this instance, we’re looking at just a mere group or division, over the past year, how are things looking. Where you can see the pie chart at the bottom of the page is showing that there’s a lot of red people. There’s a lot of people that are quite angry about this. They’re upset or dissatisfied about this particular aspect of their job. They’re worried. They’re concerned about their job security.
And that’s displayed also on the what we call a fine map, a kind of heat map with little dots. You can see on the black graph there. You can see the spread of people’s views on this particular issue. This is all real time information. I could change the date range. I could say, “Okay, so how has it been looking since last week? How has it changed since last month?” I can start to sort of really dig deep, because we are doing this in an always-on, a real world environment. Things are changing on the fly.
Okay. So, again, that’s interesting. So we’ve identified a little bit more deeply about what’s going on. But how do we speak to those people? Well, that takes us on to the third element of Thymometrics, which is a pretty unique element of any product that’s out there is this two-way anonymous communication module. And just to talk through what we’re looking at here, I can make an audience selection. So in this case, I’m gonna make a selection of…we saw the job security seemed to be an issue in this company, so let’s select job security in a mere…over the past six months, and all of the people that are residing in that area, in that zone of what we call danger, or the red zone, which are these people that don’t express that view that it’s extremely important to them and they’re extremely dissatisfied with it.
I can then click on the Find target audience, and our system will go away and find, as you may be able to see, just on the right hand side there, it’s found 115 people. Those 115 people, we don’t know who they are. We just know that these are 115 people who have a similar view about their job security. They’re concerned about their job security. So I can then send a message of comfort to those people, or whatever is the most relevant message. But I can send a message to those people, those 115 people to maybe alleviate their fears. And this just goes a long way to a very different way to speak to your employees based around their feeling, something that’s really not possible through traditional methods.
And it’s not all about doom and gloom. It could be something you’re trying to find in the business. It’s a good news story. So for example, in this example, we’re looking at work life balance in the UK over the past six months. Those people that are showing an increasing level of satisfaction for that particular element of their work. So you can pull those people out and say, “Hey, we understand that work life balance is working for you in the business. Give us some ideas about how it’s working, why it’s working, then we can maybe spread this good message across the rest of the business.” This is really a very unique and different way of dealing with your employees. But it gives employees that voice, that feeling of belonging, and it does make a difference to how they interpret the business.
So now let’s try to look at how maybe you can transition to always-on. Change can sometimes be perceived as difficult. You may be wondering how your organisation can make that transition. But first, let me state, I’m not here to say you must replace the annual survey. It has its place. It has its value. It’s been there for a long time. But what I am saying is that the use of always-on technology gives human resources leaders a greater deal of insight and timely information that can be used to make good decisions at the time at which they will make the greatest impact. It’s a change in the way you may be doing things currently, but it’s not gonna complicate things.
So if you think that it may be too difficult for your business to shift to this kind of new dynamic as it were, I’d just like to quickly share one of our customer success stories. McCann, one of the world’s most respected advertising agencies, they needed to change in order to embrace a more modern way of inspiring its people. They wanted a solution that would help identify the unique needs of its highly creative people. In an industry that’s highly competitive and demanding, that wasn’t going to be easy. So our client, Harriet, head of people at McCann was clear that the company wanted to find a more relevant solution to make sure that the company could continue to stand behind its mission of creating a positive, innovative environment that enables creativity at all times.
So they deployed an employee engagement solution to fit those needs. In the time that McCann have been using our solution, the always-on communication tool has given their employees of voice to express their needs and vote directly on their own initiatives. This has enablde Mccann, amongst other things, to launch new perks that employees requested and actually value. Like, for example, fitness training classes, wellness classes, beauty services, beard trimming sessions. They got barbers coming in on a Friday. And also free breakfast. So it’s coffee, muffins, and so on, from eight o’clock in the morning. And that helps to get people into the business and get things moving. And by the time it comes to nine o’clock, people are being productive.
And so for a relatively small cost, it’s had a major positive effect on the employees, the culture of the business, and the brand of McCann. It shows the company is listening to its workers, which has led to a direct effect on productivity. A full case study is available on our website if you’d like to read. It’s quite an interesting piece.
But let me be first to say, I understand the challenges and concerns of changing to a new way of managing employee engagement. It’s common and understandable to be apprehensive about any new technology. So I thought I’d run through some of the initial concerns that we hear from leaders and HR folks when we’re talking to them about an always-on approach. So, firstly, always-on, “Does that mean I will always be working on this, more work for me?” No. A lot of…the background activities such as reminders, data refreshes, are all automated leaving you to focus on the output of the surveys and any action planning. “Will managers be able to assess their own teams rather than coming through HR?” Absolutely. As mentioned before, employee engagement is not just an HR function, but a business wide management issue.
It’s become a more devolved process whereby managers can own part of this process. We’re seeing this request increasingly coming through the managers within our customers. We get asked, “Who’s in control of the feedback that’s coming back into the company?” Well, you can designate who’s best placed to respond to the various feedback if you wish, or keep it controlled centrally. But some of that feedback may be sensitive, maybe about someone’s manager. So it tends to be somebody within the HR function, or maybe internal communications.
“With such an open anonymous feedback solution, will I discover some terrible hidden issues within the organisation?” Yes, you will. Absolutely. And that’s probably not a bad thing. It’s far better to know about these issues than to bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away. And lastly, we also get asked about the return on investment, “What can I expect by utilising this solution?” Well, it’s widely accepted that happy employees equals greater productivity, higher retention, less absenteeism, and ultimately, profitability, not to mention the better rating from employees that improve the company brand. So if you can just affect a small element of your employees’ wellbeing on a regular basis, you can guarantee this will affect the bottom line positively.
So lastly, I just wanted to run through some of the nuts and bolts. If you’re thinking about making this kind of change, what does it actually look like? What does it mean? How hard is it? How easy is it? How long will it take? So I just put up five of the main elements of making the transition to an always-on solution. All of these items can happen concurrently. So it can happen in a relatively short period of time. But you need these basics in place before launching. The first is to gather your employee data. This will include things such as their name, email address, worker ID, and obviously, the team in which they work. But also other demographics. As I mentioned earlier on, maybe the start date, gender, age band. It’s very interesting to slice the data around those kind of factors as well.
Usually this data resides in your HRIS. And it just so happens that we have an extremely seamless integration with CIPHR. Perhaps so that makes this process extremely quick and easy. Secondly, you need to consider what key factors you’d like to ask your employees and include in the survey and the free text questions. These can obviously change over time. But it’s good to get that worked out up front. You need to decide on how you’d like to segment your organisation. So you can review how different parts of your business are doing. As I mentioned, by job function, location, age band, and gender. These things do change quite dramatically, even in the same group, within the same company, within the same location. Just by age band, things can differ very greatly. And so it’s worth reviewing that and taking appropriate action when needed.
You need to decide on who in the management team or HR team gets access to which part of the platform and provide them with training. And lastly, it’s extremely important to give your employees ample advance warning about what you’re about to launch and why. The benefits to them. The fact that you’d like to hear from them, why they should use it, and to, obviously, emphasise that everything is anonymous at all times. And that’s it. You’re ready to launch at that point. Just after launch, it’s a fascinating time as you start to build a picture of what your staff genuinely think and feel about their workplace and their role.
Usually, there are a few known issues that are highlighted. But almost inevitably, there’ll be a few surprises so you might need to be prepared for that. So in conclusion, I’d just like to recap some of the main points that I’ve been discussing in this presentation. An always-on approach to employee engagement provides you with greater insight to employees’ mood. It provides you with a predictive and proactive model to formulate action plans. It gives your employees a voice. Even introverted team members are given an equal platform to express their feelings. Happy staff improves customer service, productivity, and ultimately, profitability.
You could avert crises through real time insights and by viewing trends over time, something that’s simply not possible through traditional survey means. And you have the agility to act immediately, make any changes, review, optimise and repeat as necessary.
I’d just like to finish with a quote from the late great Stephen Hawking who perhaps said it best when he advised us to learn to adapt to the changes in our world. Human resources, as I’m sure you’re aware, is continually being disrupted by new technology. And therefore, it’s important that we learn to embrace this or unfortunately get left behind. And that’s it. Thank you very much for your time this morning. I’d like to hand back to David at this point, if that’s okay.
David Richter: Thank you very much, David. That was excellent. And we’ve got time for a few questions. A few people have already asked some already. So the first question that’s come through was, “How often should employees be providing feedback?”
David Godden: Right, that’s a very good question. And it really does depend on the business in which you sit. We would suggest and what tends to be the norm across most of our customers is somewhere between, you’d expect people to be updating their survey maybe once every two weeks, three weeks, or maybe a month. Because it’s an always-on solution, that doesn’t mean people need to be using it all the time. You don’t wanna be forcing people to be using the survey, because that then creates false input. But once a month is probably as long as you’d like to go without before hearing from people. We do, actually what’s part of the product, we do include auto reminders.
So if you say, actually, we’d like to make sure that at least people are updating their survey once every month, Thymometrics can take that on your behalf. We send out reminders. We know who the people are that haven’t responded within a certain period of time. We can’t see those people. But we know that people have not responded within a certain period of time. And therefore, we can actually send out a reminder those people and ask them to complete the survey. You know, something along the lines that we really value your input. It takes two minutes to update your survey, click on this link. And they’ll be taken straight to their server where they can update their information. So it does vary. But I would suggest somewhere between two and four weeks is usually the optimum time.
David Richter: Great. You mentioned there about the automated reminder. There’s been a few other people who’ve asked and it is a bit of a culture shift in many organisations moving from either zero employee feedback or an annual survey and moving it to always-on basis. Other than the automated reminders, are there any tips on promoting the benefits of it to the workforce to just get people to engage and take part?
David Godden: Yeah. No, absolutely. And it is a shift. There’s no question of that. And that’s something that as part of the onboarding process and one of the items on that little list I mentioned is the pre-launch is an extremely important period of time but we help our customers with that process. So we get with our customers. We push out promotions within the business to highlight what is it going to look like? What’s gonna happen? Why are we doing this? You know, and promoted as an employee-centric process. It’s something we want to engage you in the whole process in the business. We want to hear your voice. You know, it’s not a case of us just telling you what to do because that doesn’t do anybody any good. You know, we’d like to get your kind of feedback on that.
And as I say, part of that whole process of the onboarding is to get people used to the idea, to understand what it is, what always-on looks like, how you can utilise it to your best advantage, and all of that process is done prelaunch. And then obviously, refreshes every now and again, to make sure people understand why it is that they should be using the always-on approach. But, yeah, good question.
David Richter: Great. And including all of that pre-launch activity then how long would you expect it to take to shift to always-on engagement?
David Godden: Okay, so we have done it in a couple of weeks, which I would not recommend. That was in a bit of a rush. Mainly because of that whole internal promotion element that I just mentioned. You’ve got to get people used to the idea that this is a shift in the way in which the business is doing it and why they’re doing it. And therefore, there has to be a bit of a sort of a preamble to that. As I say, technically speaking, we could do it in a matter of days but we consider that it’s worth spending more time thinking about the kind of data structure that you’re looking at.
So the way in which you’d like your business to be structured and broken down and segmented. What kind of demographic information you’re looking at. As I mentioned, I’m sure…forgive me for saying it again, but we do have this integration the CIPHR, which is fantastic. All that is kind of ‘templated’. So that process is very much simplified. So it’s just a case of deciding on what information you’d like to pass to Thymometrics and that information that is updated on a regular basis as leaders and joiners and movers within the business.
That information has to be updated accordingly. So there’s that element and there’s also the process of thinking about what are the most relevant questions to be asking people. And then obviously, preparing for the information coming back in, as soon as you’ve launched, you’ve got information coming back in almost instantaneously. You launch on the day. You get this big flurry of activity. Everybody’s excited to be using a new product and you need to be prepared for that.
You need to not over promise anything that’s gonna happen within the first minutes of the release. And so you need to manage that process and be somewhat strategic about the way in which things are gonna happen both pre and post the launch date. But as I say, we would suggest allowing probably a few weeks to allow for that whole process. Maybe a month, although a month is quite a long time in this fast moving world. But certainly a few weeks to a month would be a reasonable amount of time you’d expect to be able to launch a well-managed solution.
David Richter: Great. Thank you. You mentioned the communications feature, how do you handle anonymity?
David Godden: Well, very good question. I mean, our whole life at Thymometrics is based around anonymity, even though it’s a difficult word to actually say. It’s the cornerstone. It’s the foundation on which our product is built. We expect our customers to sign an agreement with us to say that all communications will be anonymous and we make those exposed to any employee. We get asked, one of the first questions that tend to come in because we handle all support from our customers’ employees as well.
And people will ask initially, they say, “Can you guarantee? Can you tell me that this is…how can you prove to me this is anonymous?” Before they obviously let rip as it were. So it’s a case of us pointing them to the terms and conditions that we ask our customers to sign. And there is no way. If you look at our product, there’s no way you can find an email address or a name. Unless somebody decides they want to, unless they say, “Actually, do you know what? I’m giving up my anonymity because this is something I need to discuss in a more open forum.” In that case, that may be something that’s more suited to be taken outside of Thymometrics. That’s maybe a meeting with your manager or whatever it may be.
But we stand by our, as I say, our kinda foundation stone, that Thymometrics is an anonymous solution. And people get that. They understand it. Through the use of the product, they realise that actually once they’ve started making these comments or this feedback and they are getting messages back and so on, they recognise immediately or relatively soon that this is an anonymous solution. And the open and honest feedback is obviously reflective of that. So, yeah, it’s, as I say, it’s the cornerstone of what we do and we’re happy to sign off on any of that when it comes to speaking to our customers
David Richter: Super stuff. Thank you. And we’ve had a couple more questions around the culture of organisations. And I suppose perhaps not being ready for the use of always-on feedback and whether there are any types of culture that perhaps is simply they’re just not ready for it and maybe what effort is required to get them in a state where they can start using them.
David Godden: Yeah. No, I mean, that’s a very good question. It’s not been by design, if I’m honest. This kind of employee centric world, it’s just it’s the way that the world has evolved. You know, with millennials now, as I mentioned, sort of taking on the greatest number of people in the workforce now, it’s the way in which these people have been used to working. And so they’re used to working online with online tools with Facebook. They log into their bank account. Everything is done online. They expect immediacy. They expect everything to happen now.
And so companies have traditionally been a bit slow to adapt to that with the best will in the world. Understandably, it is a shift in the way companies have to work. And so and not every business finds that easy. If you’re a high tech, you know, and fast moving business, and so on, it can be more agile in that regard and respond to that in a more speedy fashion. But more traditional businesses may find that as a somewhat more difficult approach. And so there’s kinda halfway measures.
A lot of traditional businesses may be doing an annual survey and finding that’s a good value, they may be doing more ad hoc surveys through the year, which is great but the trouble is with that is it can lead to survey fatigue and people sort of thinking, “Oh, not another survey. Why am I being asked, you know, different questions again?” and so on and so forth. So that could be a very disengaging process. But there are sort of halfway measures.
So there are things like poll surveys, which can be done on a regular basis or an ad hoc basis maybe as well, which can be tied back into the sort of the ebb and flow of the business, which aren’t just seen as discrete one-off surveys. So, yeah, it depends on your business and it depends on how far or how quickly you can turn or move to a sort of employee-centric world. But I think the sort of the overriding feeling is if you could kind of start to include, rather than to broadcast to your employees from on high about the way in which the business needs to be run and what you expected to do and so on, if you start to involve people.
People are very used to giving feedback on Facebook and everything else, why not in the workplace? They should be allowed to give that kind of feedback into the management. Now management can obviously take a view on what that feedback is looking like, how useful it is, and how relevant it is to the business. But at least by giving your employees a voice, you can make that decision and take appropriate action.
David Richter: Yeah, I suppose the key requirement is that the business needs to be in a state where it’s prepared to actually engage back with the employees and take action.
David Godden: That’s it. It goes back to this whole employee-centric world in which we live. You know, with talent shortages as they are, trying to keep hold of your top talent. You know, the dynamic has to change. It’s no longer an employer-driven world, unfortunately. Therefore, you know, employees have to be highly regarded and you need to involve them in the business.
Obviously, some people are not willing or not capable of being part of that process. But by giving people the opportunity, at least offering them the thought that they can provide some kind of feedback on a level playing field with everybody else within the business, it does empower employees and it just kinda bonds the employees to their employers much more so
David Richter: Good stuff. Thank you. Thank you all very much for attending. I hope you found it as useful and interesting as I did. And, David, thank you very much for your excellent presentation.
David Godden: Thank you very much. And thank you everybody for attending. Yeah, thanks very much, David.
David Richter: Thank you. Bye-bye.
David Richter from CIPHR and David Godden from Thymometrics discuss how moving from annual to real-time feedback could improve engagement and performance in your organisation.