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How to Create Data-Driven Impact with Employee Listening

How to Create Data-Driven Impact with Employee Listening

Creating data-driven impact through employee listening involves more than just choosing the right survey questions, listening methods, timing, and workforce population — although those factors all help ensure that leaders get the information they need to move the organization forward. Designing a data-driven employee listening program starts even before you begin collecting feedback: with clearly defining the business issue you want to address. 

When organizations design their listening strategies with specific business or talent priorities in mind, they significantly increase their ability to capture targeted feedback that can steer the company toward its strategic goals. Data-driven listening programs also create the opportunity for greater business agility and a culture of continuous improvement, as the collected data can be applied to problems as or before they emerge. 

To get the most value from your employee listening program, it's crucial to master both the art and science of translating employee feedback into actionable change. Here are the essential steps to leverage your employee listening program for maximum impact.

  1. Define your business problem: Pinpoint the specific business challenges you want to address. Set specific goals, outcomes, and KPIs that align with your organization's larger business and talent objectives. By aligning your listening efforts with these critical priorities, your strategy becomes a powerful tool for addressing urgent organizational needs. In The State of Employee Listening 2024, HR leaders cited employee engagement; diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB); future vision; customer orientation; and growth and development as top focus areas for listening.

  2. Identify the right audience and listening channel to reach that audience: Decide whether you need insights from all employees or just specific groups, and determine the most effective data collection method — be it a larger point-in-time engagement survey, a more targeted pulse survey, a lifecycle survey (onboarding, exit, etc.), or even crowdsourcing. Consider integrating other non-survey data that could enrich your understanding and provide a more comprehensive view, such as employee comments on external sites like Glassdoor.

  3. Conduct the listening event: Carefully design your event to ensure the data collected is relevant to your business problem and can effectively inform decision-making. Listening experts like Perceptyx’s deep bench of Workforce Transformation consultants can bring insight via benchmarks, research, and best practices to help ensure you are designing a well-rounded and psychometrically sound survey.

  4. Apply advanced analytics to speed time to insight: The large volume of survey data available can overwhelm your ability to deduce answers to your business problem. Direct your attention to analyzing survey areas where actionable steps can be clearly defined. Use advanced demographic filters to break down the dataset and use AI models to convert qualitative data (like text comments) into quantitative data to better inform your analysis.

  5. Plan for effective follow-up actions: A major challenge identified by 41% of HR leaders in The State of Employee Listening 2024 is the effective translation of employee feedback into concrete actions. To overcome this, solutions like Perceptyx's Activate can be invaluable. Activate employs AI-Assisted Action Planning to facilitate the creation and implementation of tailored action plans. These prioritized actions, delivered directly to managers based on real-time data and insights from employee listening events, simplifies the actioning process, allows for clear accountability, and ensures that strategic actions are followed through to completion rather than being forgotten.

  6. Evaluate the impact: The true effectiveness of a listening strategy is measured by the tangible outcomes of the actions taken. By leveraging Activate’s Intelligent Nudge capabilities — timely, relevant behavioral prompts that are delivered to employees in their daily workflow via apps like email, Microsoft Teams, and Slack — organizations can reinforce the behaviors needed to manifest change and monitor the effectiveness of these recommended actions over time. Research supports the efficacy of our Intelligent Nudges; they are meticulously crafted based on Nobel-prize-winning behavioral science and are proven to foster sustainable change across the organization. Our research has shown that such Intelligent Nudges are over twice as effective as traditional training methods in instigating lasting behavioral change, with recipients reporting a noticeable impact in their professional conduct and engagement​.

To establish tangible impact through your employee listening program, focus on setting direct and indirect outcomes that are already a priority for your organization — this ensures that executive leadership is engaged and committed to the program’s success. Choose metrics that can be measured directly by looking at specific listening events—such as the immediate effects of actions taken at the individual level — and other outcomes that may be more indirect, like measuring organizational safety by examining the cost of worker’s compensation claims.  Advanced analytics can highlight the areas where intervention is most needed and likely to be effective.

Integrating Feedback with Business Priorities

The key to establishing a data-driven employee listening program is bridging the gap between employee feedback and strategic business priorities. As your strategy matures, organizations will want to synthesize data from various sources to conduct the kind of deep qualitative and quantitative analyses that can address more advanced executive concerns. According to The State of Employee Listening 2024, organizations with evolved listening strategies (Stage 4 maturity) connect employee feedback with broader business outcomes at a much higher rate compared to organizations with low maturity (Stage 1). 76% of Stage 4 organizations link employee listening data to other business results, versus just 7% of Stage 1 organizations. 

Demonstrating the Value of Employee Listening 

The final, and some might argue, most critical step is ensuring that employees can clearly connect the dots between the feedback and ideas provided, and the actions the company has taken in response. By illustrating the direct link between employee feedback and the specific actions they spurred, you help build a culture of trust and continuous improvement. Employees see firsthand how their feedback leads to real organizational change, encouraging their participation in future listening initiatives. 

To further communicate the program’s impact, take time to revisit your initial goals, desired outcomes, and KPIs. Highlight achievements such as improved employee retention rates, performance metrics, or any other direct or indirect outcomes. Use various channels like company-wide meetings, internal newsletters, or digital communication platforms to share these results. This ensures that everyone, from top executives to entry-level employees, understands the benefits of their input and the organization’s responsiveness. 

As your organization continues to refine its employee listening strategy, keep the focus on aligning these programs with broader business objectives and ensuring that the data collected leads to meaningful and measurable outcomes. In doing so, you create a resilient listening framework that not only addresses immediate business needs but also positions your organization for long-term strategic success.

Drive Data-Driven Change with Perceptyx 

The hallmark of a successful listening strategy is its ability to inspire action throughout the organization, but most companies aren’t currently activating employees at all levels. Read The State of Employee Listening 2024 to learn proven strategies for evolving your listening and action program to realize better ROI and schedule a meeting with a member of our team to learn how Perceptyx can support your organization. 

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