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How C.H. Robinson Applies Continuous Listening to Improve the Employee Experience

By Perceptyx - September 13, 2021

Since its inception in 1905, C.H. Robinson has grown exponentially, becoming one of the largest global transportation and third-party logistics companies in the world. Today, the $16.2 billion company, headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn., has more than 300 offices in 39 countries with almost 15,000 employees. 

But it was precisely this scale, combined with an outdated system, that made it difficult to capture and report employee survey results in a timely fashion. That is until C.H. Robinson found Perceptyx.

The Goal: Enable Ongoing Conversations

Prior to partnering with Perceptyx in 2019, C.H. Robinson conducted employee engagement surveys every other year, but it struggled with compiling and sharing results quickly as well as implementing an effective action plan from the collected data. The company needed a better employee listening plan.

“We wanted...a way to understand key moments and get strategic about answering important questions,” said Laura Kunitz, principal organizational effectiveness consultant at C.H. Robinson. “We wanted to gain, over time, the ability to become more predictive about employee behavior and prescriptive in the actions we take.”

Perceptyx provides C.H. Robinson an employee survey and results dashboard that's easier and more relatable for the leaders using it. But most importantly, it provides results much more quickly than its previous system. Additionally, the Perceptyx team also introduced the idea of pulse surveys, or follow-up surveys to the initial census survey. By increasing the survey cadence, C.H. Robinson could better gauge employee engagement and determine if the actions it was taking were resonating with the employees. 

“When we looked at the employees who said their manager had taken time to share the results, they scored significantly higher on every single other item than employees whose managers hadn’t discussed survey results with them—even if the manager hadn’t taken any action on those shared survey results,” Kunitz said.

The findings proved that involving employees in an ongoing conversation and sharing results were key to the employee experience, as well as their workforce's belief in the importance of the feedback process. This became especially important following the COVID-19 pandemic, as the company was determining its back-to-work plan.

“When we started thinking about our return-to-office strategy and how we wanted to come back into a differentiated workplace, we had to think about not only what employees needed to feel comfortable, but also what we needed to give leaders to enable them to lead in this new environment,” said Nikki Tollefson, principal change consultant at C.H. Robinson. “We knew it was critical to get both the employee and leader voices to validate what we were planning and fill in the gaps. Getting targeted feedback gave us the confidence to be thoughtful about giving people what they needed when they needed it.”

The Result: An Improved Global Employee Experience

While deploying the surveys and analyzing the results was key to developing the best employee listening program, Perceptyx also had to take into consideration the global reach of C.H. Robinson and its employees. Therefore, C.H. Robinson needed to segment survey results by division and compare them to each other to ensure it delivered locally what employees wanted.

“As we surveyed each of our divisions, we realized there were a lot of common aspects that were true to all—anchors that we could use across the board, such as the importance of prioritizing employee health and safety above all,” said Lautaro Churuvija, Principal Project Manager at C.H. Robinson. “By drilling into the survey results of each of the divisions, we were able to understand how ready they were to move into the new hybrid model. The Perceptyx tool allowed us to look at different populations and job profiles and assess what they were saying related to our return-to-office plans. We quickly identified that most of our leadership teams—specifically our general managers—were missing the in-person interaction and collaboration that makes our culture so unique. Getting data at the job-profile level opened our eyes to be a lot more thoughtful and intentional when we engage, not just with our leadership team but with our different stakeholders across the board.”

As a result of its partnership with Perceptyx, C.H. Robinson has improved its employee listening program by bringing the employee voice into decision-making and following up on the actions taken, therefore, improving the employee experience.

Read the full case story for more on C.H. Robinson’s employee listening tactics and how it helped devise its post-pandemic return-to-work plan and more.

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