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Employee EngagementDecember 2, 2021

How intelligent employee surveys can improve your people decisions

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Over the past decade or so, a significant shift has taken place in how companies work with employee engagement. From no surveys to yearly surveys, via pulse surveys, to intelligent employee engagement surveys based on adaptive algorithms and machine learning.

Having tools in place to gather employee feedback has gone from a nice-to-have to an absolute must. And in many cases, a formal channel for feedback and whistleblowing is mandated by law. During this time, a lot has happened on the technical side of employee engagement surveys. And today, we've come a long way. 

Let's have a look at the evolution of employee engagement surveys, and what the most modern solutions entail today. 

The evolution of employee engagement surveys

Over the past decade, the landscape of employee engagement surveys and employee feedback tools has changed drastically. The employee experience has become a much more important focus for leaders and organisations, and today, employee feedback is a core component of almost every HR leader’s people strategy. This also means that the needs and demands for quality data have evolved, as illustrated in the chart below.

Intelligent employee engagement surveys evolution

From yearly surveys… 

The first type of survey that evolved was the annual survey. Those were employee surveys that companies would send out yearly. The questions would sometimes consist of up to a hundred questions, and they were often not in a digital format. Collecting the answers was time-consuming, and analysing the responses was an extensive task. Often, months would pass between HR performing the survey and being ready to act on the results. And with the quick-paced nature of today's workplaces, that would often mean the answers and results were already outdated by then. pulse surveys...

Over time, yearly surveys have increasingly been replaced by more agile methods for gathering feedback that requires a lot less manual administration. Enter the pulse surveys, where companies can send out ad-hoc or regular employee engagement surveys more frequently. Digital pulse surveys allow a more agile and data-driven way of working and yield results and insights of much higher quality than their yearly counterparts. 

However, standard pulse surveys do come with some challenges and flaws, which is why forward-thinking technology providers didn't stop there. By sending out the same questions repeatedly, pulse surveys can induce survey fatigue that gradually reduces the participation rate. Especially since one of the most essential factors in keeping the workforce engaged is showing that their feedback actually leads to tangible action. 

Pulse surveys for employees are definitely a step in the right direction. But only asking your employees the same questions, over and over again, without a structured way of communicating around and acting on the feedback, can actually backfire.

That's why the next generation of employee engagement surveys work in a somewhat different way. 

…to survey intelligence powered by machine learning and adaptive algorithms

Instead of sending out the same fixed question battery every time, we can leverage adaptive algorithms and machine learning to create a more dynamic survey sequence. This means that your employees will not receive the same questions again and again. Instead, the questions they receive will depend on their answers in the last survey. This allows the system to spot negative trends and alert managers and HR quickly that there is an issue. 

For example, let's say the results indicate that an employee is experiencing stress symptoms. Then the next time this employee receives their survey, it will entail follow-up questions to check if this is still the case – and if things are getting better or worse. This is a valuable tool for quickly locating potential risks and allows organisations, managers, and employees to work proactively to improve the situation. 

The whole point is to alert all stakeholders that an area needs attention quickly – before minor issues turn into big problems. But it doesn't stop there. The next step is to connect those insights to action plans. 

Related reading: The drivers of employee engagement – and how to measure them

Connecting insights to actions, and actions to outcomes

Gathering feedback is essential, but it's only when organisations take action on the results that they start reaping the rewards. This, however, can be quite a challenge, both for HR, managers, and employees. 

The Eletive platform is built to support communication and a proactive approach at all levels of the organisation. In the tool, both the employees and managers receive in-app advice on what they can do in different scenarios to improve their experience. And in the insights panel, the suggested actions feature provides hands-on support in tangible checklist items to help move things in the right direction. The suggested actions can also be turned into goals (connected to the different engagement drivers) so that it becomes possible to check them off over time – and track the relation between actions and outcomes. 

With Eletive, you get access to all the tools you need to measure and increase employee engagement: employee engagement surveys, advice and suggested actions, action plans, one-on-one meetings, 360 surveys, and much more. Get in touch with our team of experts to learn how your organisation could benefit from a modern employee engagement tool!

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