Category: Employee Insight

Beyond Annual Surveys

Beyond Annual Surveys

Problems with annual surveys

Beyond Annual SurveysAnnual employee surveys are notorious for having incredibly low response rates, averaging around 50%. Plus, with the way most companies operate, it takes months simply to generate reports and analyze the data. “Core committees” are formed to go over the analysis, pin it down to the top actionable areas, and then make presentations to senior management on the changes to be implemented across the organization, which takes another few months. By the time this is all said and done, it’s time to start planning for the next year’s survey.

When we were conceptualising the HappiAtWork Analytics platform, two of the key critical factors we took into consideration was firstly, how fast can we get the data to the leaders. And secondly, how can we make the user interface as simple, intuitive & visually appealing as possible. On our Talent Magnet  platform, the data updates in real time, and we’ve done our best to make it as easy to understand as possible.

Annual engagement surveys are at the core of every HR department, but this needs to change. Is once a year not way too long of a timeframe to get any really accurate data? As leaders, we need to be collecting feedback from our employees way more often. We want our employees to be engaged, so why not measure and improve engagement  on an ongoing basis ? Should we not be using shorter employee  pulse surveys instead.

Overcoming survey fatigue

So what about the so called “Survey Fatigue” – A common heard concern? Employees will get tired of taking too many surveys. However, it’s worth digging into why this fatigue occurs. A good survey will take less than 5 minutes. So how is this causing fatigue? The number one cause of Survey Fatigue? The survey isn’t acted on. Giving feedback isn’t just a time commitment, it’s an intellectual and emotional one. If you give feedback and it’s not seen to be acted upon, it’s not that you’ve wasted 10 minutes – it’s that you’ve been ignored.

Survey and then get feedback to your employees as soon as possible. Identify the engagement drivers and pulse frequently. The days of waiting months to process survey results is over. When you survey more often you’re looking at the trend and the change over time. What’s happened in the last few months? Not only is this easier to process, it’s easier to action  and it’s more timely. The actions taken are more relevant to the organization and the employees. The regular cycles  create a tight bond in the employees’ mind – They’ve given feedback and they’ve seen action on the back of it.

The power is back in your hands. People are now much more willing and energised in their contributions when they know it’ll have an impact.

The Game Changer

The Game Changer

Recognition = EngagementAre we really serious about recognition or is it all a pompous sham ? Ask managers if they consider it important to recognize individuals and their efforts, and there is a very high probability that you will get all positive responses. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover the truth, and who really is walking the talk. One makes recognition a priority when she has the time to think about it. For the second, recognizing his team members means getting Paneer Pizzas and Choco Lava Cakes ordered for lunch once (or twice – if some rupees are left in the budget) a quarter. The third is pretty consistent in giving out rewards. Hmmm, a little too consistent, in fact. The “humdrum and so very typical” language in his “Well Done” emails and the inevitable 500 Rupee gift certificate are kind of a running joke among his team members – a more of a “Whose turn is it next” game that gets played out every week.

Recognition to strengthen your team’s performance can’t be arbitrary and aimless, neither can it be generic. So what characterizes effective recognition?

Effective recognition is tailored

Recognition that could apply to anyone doesn’t leave anybody feeling recognized. What’s meaningful to one employee can vary significantly when it comes to another. Someone might really value face time with the CEO or an internal transfer to a high visibility project as recognition for his efforts. Whereas someone else might get a kick out of a directive to take a day off, courtesy of the company.

Awards should be such that they stand for something. Something unique. Something meaningful. Something that can’t be bought at a store.

How good is CASH when it comes to the above? It is the easiest award to dole out. Cash awards, tend NOT to be as worthwhile as Thank You’s unless they are quite substantial (say above 10000 Rupees). Instead of using the money to buy something memorable, most people just use it to pay bills and quickly forget about its significance. Cash is unlikely to make an employee feel appreciated as effectively as an award item.

Effective recognition is thoughtful

Dispensing rewards equally without regard to the extent of the employee’s effort or the magnitude of the employee’s achievement is surely not helping anybody’s cause. Someone whose two-month-long project unearthed an opportunity to save 50 Lac annually receiving the same reward as someone coming over the weekend to get a critical integration working is, hmmm…..a slap in the face.

An act of recognition does not have to be expensive to be memorable, neither does it have to be time consuming. Recognition is also not something that can comes only in packaged award programs? Managers who earn the most trust from their people do so with many simple but powerful actions – whether it be sending a a sincere hand-written thank-you note, or taking a moment in the weekly staff meeting to highlight their actions.

Awards are earned. Awards should be cherished. They need to appeal to the employees’ higher needs, increasing the aspirational, and in turn motivational value. They are a symbol of achievement, serving as a constant reminder, a source of encouragement to all employees.

The most sought after awards have bragging rights attached. And they always will.

Creating a Culture of Insight

Creating a culture of insight

Creating a culture of insightTalent Analytics is one of the biggest trends in today’s HR. The need to understand your employees and what drives  their performance is critical for companies to be  successful.  With the term Talent Analytics, you are  focused on not only ensuring that you are capturing  accurate and timely data across the entire HR function but  more about how you use this data to gain insight into  your strategy and deliver actionable insights to those  executing it.


Understand today: Analytics has the potential to give us a comprehensive and complete snap-shot of where your strategy stands today.   It helps you understand what you do well and just as important do poorly.  And thereby take action to improve today.

Improve for tomorrow: Start seeing the picture of the future so you can begin planning for important trends you see in the data.

Go as deep as we need: If you are really using analytics correctly, we don’t learn just one or two insights from the data but 100’s of insights into different scenarios and circumstances.

Test assumptions: Not every initiative or strategy you employ will work. However, it’s only through having data and analytics that you can quickly determine the success or failure of new initiatives. Understanding this early helps you make the best use of your resources.


To fully unleash the value from their data, organizations need to evolve to an analytics-driven culture — a culture that trusts and uses its data and analytics insights to drive strategic decision making, has transparency in its decisions, puts analytics in the hands of its end users, and encourages a curious mindset.

Once you have the data captured, you need to find a way to make it readily available and consumable.  Finally, big data is just a bunch of numbers and data points until you begin to analyze it and make it useful to make decisions. However, the only way to do this successfully is having the data on a platform that easily enables you full access in an intuitive and easy to use interface.

It’s important that the correct people have access and can slice and dice the data to get real insights.  And the key here is that whatever solutions we have, shouldn’t expect your team members to be data scientists to get value out of.  It should be intuitive enough, so intelligent team members, senior leadership and others can have access to truly leverage this data to do their jobs better.

Data, like any resource, exists only as potential unless it can be tapped. Organizations that can best capture the value in their data and use it in decision making will be the ones that thrive. With the explosion of data, a growing number of organizations are seeking to take full advantage of analytics to drive decision making. They are poised to take analytics to an even higher level by using the new wealth of data to predict what will happen in the future.

Data in itself is not an advantage, although it is a nice first step. It is about making the data consumable and actionable, therein lies the uniqueness and the value.

Every Word Counts

Every Word Counts


Data Driven HR AnalyticsWhen you survey the most frequent users of analytics in the corporate world, not surprisingly you find that HR ranks at the bottom. At a time when big data is becoming a mainstream strategy in many business functions, HR is playing catch-up. How often have you heard HR leaders uttering the now commonly used phrases – “From my own personal experience”, “I believe”, “I feel” or “Right off the top of my head ”.

Is it not time to move over from “the overall attrition percentage last year” dialogue to revealing “why each of the high performing individuals stay” and “what might cause them to leave” and “which retention initiatives have offered the highest value and impact” ?

Data can identify the hidden causes of problems. Trends and data provide you with an opportunity to stop guessing about the future and instead make informed decisions, more accurate decisions about what is likely to happen in the future. Numbers and data are the most effective way to influence and the best thing about data is “it is hard for anybody to contest it”.

HR is evolving into a data driven function, with the focus shifting from simply reporting data to enabling the business to make informed talent decisions, predict employee performance, and conduct advanced workforce planning.

It is time to move to the future where statistical correlations & segmentation, roll ups & drill downs, trend lines & heat maps, keyword clouds & word trees, big and small data will forever replace the “I think” and “I believe” answers in HR decision making.

Critical questions such as what drives performance, retention and people can now be  understood statistically and answered with data, not just opinion or experience. Companies that successfully leverage analytics and big data will be better positioned to outperform their peers in executing their talent strategies.

Talent Magnet is designed to help you understand the breadth of factors that drive behaviour in your workplace and provide you an objective understanding of people who make your organization strong.

We make the data accessible enough, to be the backbone of a conversation. Meetings can now become more engaging as people explore data together rather than slog through a set of slides and take down action items for follow-up later.

Every word coming from an employee counts. That’s why Talent Magnet is designed to listen to every word from every employee. Using sophisticated analytics, Talent Magnet provides insights to help you, as leaders, confidently know the “hows” and “whys” of what happened, taking you from thinking you know the answer to knowing you know the answer.

Why is the annual employee engagement survey a waste of time and money?

Money WastedIf you’re a business leader or entrepreneur, you know how important employee engagement can be. Engaged and motivated workers tend to be more productive and provide better customer service, which in turn benefits your business. If you ask someone how to evaluate your employees’ engagement, they would likely recommend an annual engagement survey. Unfortunately, that would be a waste of your time and money – and here’s why:


Employee engagement surveys are usually designed to serve as a measurement tool, rather than a diagnostic tool. Most organizations won’t ask open-ended questions, or would fail to analyze them adequately. The standardised tests, on the other hand, provide limited and often vague conclusions about your employee engagement.

Infrequent feedback

The employee engagement surveys are conducted usually in a period of 12-18 months. Think about it: do you think that getting your customers’ feedback once in 12 months would be of any help? It’s the same with employee engagement surveys. A good solution could be to have focused pulse surveys for smaller groups periodically.

Unreliable data

The annual engagement survey won’t encompass your employees’ activity throughout the whole year. Recent events and impressions tend to have greater impact on the survey scores, which skews the data and can’t provide adequate information. Moreover, some managers might try to skew the results by rewarding their employees in the month before the evaluation.

Time gap 

Finally, there is usually a gap between the time the data is collected, and the time it’s analyzed, reported and the proper course of action has been selected. You can’t know for sure whether the results you’ve just obtained are still relevant. Moreover, since the whole process takes months to complete, your employees would start wondering whether their voices have been heard at all.

As you can see, the annual employee survey is more of a waste of time and money, than an efficient way to evaluate your employees’ engagement. The large time gap between the survey and the analysis of results, plus the infrequent feedback and unsuitable format make it an inefficient and unreliable way to obtain such data.