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7 Considerations When Choosing an Employee Listening Partner

7 Considerations When Choosing an Employee Listening Partner

Choosing the right listening partner is critical to helping your organization realize its true potential and deliver an exceptional employee experience.  Whether your organization is evolving from a do-it-yourself approach or requires expanded capabilities for multi-channel listening and AI-powered insights and analytics, here are seven key factors to consider when selecting your ideal listening partner, as well as specific questions to ask prospective providers. 

1. Trending of Historical Survey Results 

When evaluating a new listening provider, it’s important to consider their ability to support historical trending of results. Leaders and employees alike typically want to know how results have evolved from one listening milestone to the next, especially as it relates to areas where previous action has been taken, or where results closely align with key business or talent priorities. Ensuring the ability to understand where you have made progress or stalled out, even when measurement scales may have changed, allows for continued focus on the EX drivers and actions that matter most, and maintains line of sight to progress made over time.

Suggested Questions to Ask:

  • How do you ensure the comparability of historical data despite changes in survey scale or methodology?
  • Please share your approach for mapping and interpreting historical survey data trends over time when onboarding a new customer.

2. Benchmarking Capabilities 

Aligning to a provider with robust benchmarking capabilities ensures that results can be meaningfully interpreted. Where measurement scales are consistent, strong benchmarking capabilities can minimize disruption and changes to survey content, as legacy survey items can be more easily compared with existing benchmarkable items. 

Consider the ability of a new listening and analytics partner to support external comparisons across key characteristics that define your organization and employees: industry, countries or regions of operation, and sub-populations like union status, job function, tenure, etc. This helps to build context around survey results while taking the nuances of your unique employee population into account. 

While benchmarks are foundational for effective data analysis, they’re only one vehicle for providing external context. Others include a vendor's ability to provide timely insight into the trends that are shaping our modern employee experience. Original research and other evidence-based perspectives, as well as success stories from customers with similar challenges and listening goals, can help leaders understand how their peers are addressing factors like loneliness in the workplace, remote work, or quiet quitting, offering new ideas as well as lessons learned. 

Suggested Questions to Ask:

  • How extensive is your benchmarking database and does it cover all the demographics relevant to our organization such as industry, job function, and geographic location? 
  • Are these benchmarks owned and collected internally, or are your benchmarks licensed from a third party? How often are they updated and/or released?
  • Can you provide examples of how your benchmarking capabilities have provided actionable insights or comparisons for other customers?

3. A Robust, Validated People Insights Methodology

A comprehensive employee listening program should assess all elements of the employee experience and provide clear strategies for responsive action. While employee engagement is predictive of key organizational performance metrics such as reduced turnover, increased customer satisfaction, and higher profitability, it represents just one aspect of an employee's experience with your organization. 

As such, it's critical to partner with a provider that measures engagement but also has a robust, validated model of other key factors in the workplace, connected to the most prevalent business and talent priorities.

Suggested Questions to Ask:

  • Is your listening solution flexible enough to address the unique questions and issues that are most important for our business?
  • Do you have a model that is valid, reliable, and will help us target effective actions to make sustainable changes?

4. Opportunities to Expand and Mature Your Listening Program

Organizations have different maturity levels when it comes to employee listening, so a one-size-fits-all approach is rarely the answer. Some organizations' approach to listening is more traditional or episodic, largely consisting of an annual or bi-annual point-in-time listening event, while others focus on continuous listening across multiple channels.  

maturity curve graph

Regardless of where your organization falls on the continuum, it’s important to have a provider that your organization can grow with — ensuring that they not only meet your immediate needs, but are well suited to support your future listening ambitions, including always-on employee lifecycle surveys (exit, onboarding, candidate experience surveys, etc.), multi-rater feedback, passive listening, and crowdsourcing

As you introduce new channels to your listening strategy, it's increasingly valuable to apply advanced analytics and reporting capabilities to better understand the relationships between listening events, as well as the linkages to other performance or operational metrics important to your business. Leaders also need the ability to create customizable dashboards and reports that track these metrics and isolate specific insights for unique executive or manager populations. 

Connecting the dots can also help answer critical questions about the interconnection between moments that matter in the employee experience and how these moments shape — and even predict — organizational success. For example, if reducing voluntary employee attrition is a key business objective, how can you better predict and proactively address turnover among new hires? What factors at the 60-day mark in an employee’s onboarding are most predictive of their likelihood to stay with the organization long-term? What “warning signs'' should you look for?

In short, a world-class employee listening program should move from highlighting “what already happened” to predicting and driving actions that will yield your most desired results. More than that, any effective listening strategy that is developed and deployed in 2024 should be able to add context to quantitative data points through the use of advanced AI models, specifically when it comes to decoding the sentiment, intent, and emotions hidden in open text comments

Suggested Questions to Ask:

  • How do your listening products enable customers to predict employee turnover, likelihood of success, and other key business outcomes?
  • How does your technology enable a transition from episodic (annual or bi-annual events) to more continuous listening as our organization's needs evolve?

5.  Ability to Act with Speed and Agility 

More evolved employee listening programs greatly shorten the time between data collection and the cascade of results, accelerating the feedback loop by quickly getting insights into the hands of managers and employees. This is critical to building trust and confidence in your listening program, as it lets employees know that their voices have been heard and are being taken seriously.  

While moving with speed and purpose is important, it’s equally important to ensure that your listening strategy — and your listening partner — can be sufficiently nimble. As we learned from the events of the past few years, circumstances that impact the employee experience can present themselves with little to no warning, making it vital that an organization can quickly assess and act on employee perceptions relating to strategic acquisitions or divestitures, return to office initiatives, leadership changes, health and safety issues, geo-political upheaval, and more. Strong self-service capabilities and robust content and item libraries are critical to ensure that organizations can pivot when needed and stay connected to changes and potential risks in their employee experience. 

Suggested Questions to Ask:

  • In situations requiring rapid response, what is the typical turnaround time from data collection to the availability of actionable insights?
  • How does your platform or software solution support quick pivots in listening modality or content to address changes in our business environment, whether internal or external?
  • What resources are provided to managers to ensure timely visibility of survey results and clear action in response to employee feedback?

6. Support for Employees as Agents of Change

Applying listening insights to drive sustainable change is often the greatest challenge of any program, yet arguably the most important. While gathering and analyzing employee feedback is necessary, it will only yield value if action is taken and ownership is established at all levels of the organization. However, an effective action-taking strategy must remove the burden from managers and instead shift the focus to supporting transformation and behavior change by workers at all levels. 

For Perceptyx customers, this is delivered through the use of intelligent nudges that serve personalized, action-oriented recommendations to both managers and their teams in the flow of work via channels like email and MS Teams. Intelligent nudges harness the power of AI to determine which behaviors are most critical to continued progress, and, over time, which drive the greatest engagement and influence across your workforce. This augments the traditional action planning process with an experience that is simpler, more inclusive, and more likely to drive impact.

Suggested Questions to Ask:

  • How are members of our organization — including those beyond senior levels of leadership — provided with relevant, personalized, and actionable recommendations in response to listening data? 
  • How are these recommendations delivered and enabled, without creating additional burdens on workers’ time? 
  • How does your solution measure the impact of these actions over time — both for the individual and across the organization?

7.  Comprehensive Support and Services for the Full Project Lifecycle 

A provider should go beyond simply executing listening events to focus on the real goal of achieving meaningful business outcomes that improve your employee experience. A true partnership should include co-creating a comprehensive insights and action strategy. This strategy should align with your specific business goals and level of listening maturity, and be grounded in research and expertise that comes from working with many of the world’s most successful organizations.  

Creating and implementing a successful employee listening and action strategy is hard work, even for some of the world’s largest and most data-savvy organizations. It’s important to make sure that those tasked with implementing a new listening program have the support they need — from survey scope and program design, to ongoing project management, to training and consulting support that will quickly establish internal leaders as experts and agents of change.. Additionally, working with a provider that has deep subject matter expertise, demonstrated thought leadership, and advanced people analytics capabilities will ensure that your listening program can reach its full potential, delivering world-class outcomes and driving your organization forward.

Suggested Questions to Ask:

  • What does support look like at all phases of our potential relationship, from platform set-up, to program design, to making and measuring organizational change?
  • How do you ensure that internal teams are equipped with the knowledge and skills to leverage your solution/platform to its full potential?

A Proven Model of Listening & Actioning Success

Perceptyx has helped some of the world’s largest and most admired organizations connect people and business data through our comprehensive employee listening platform. To learn more about how we can partner with you, schedule a meeting with a member of our team.

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