Statistics taking into account the impact of remote work on employee happiness say that likely a third of your employees are looking for a different job right now. Plus, around 81% of employees would consider leaving their job for the right offer even if they are not actively looking.
What employees want from a company is rapidly changing, it’s not simply a matter of more pay anymore. 71% of employees under 35 would consider leaving their current job and taking a pay cut if they received an offer from their ideal company or “dream job.” Employers interested in retention need to consider employee ideals and their happiness.
We already know that employee engagement outside of retention impacts productivity and in turn profitability. But, without even speaking to the business specific losses of low productivity, a conservative estimate of the cost to replace an employee is a third of that person’s salary. That’s a sizable hit to your operating budget which if avoided will result in a healthier, stronger, more covetable work environment.
First, I have some bad news, your general annual employee survey isn’t effective. Why? Well for one thing by the time your team administers, takes, reviews, and publishes the information, your survey will be woefully out of date. Even a speedy employee survey takes on average three months to complete. What’s more, if you’re only doing this once a year, you’re missing out on valuable insights the other 260 working days each year.
The factors that contribute to employee engagement are directly in line with metrics you can track to measure employee happiness. Below I’ll discuss some key metrics you should be focusing on as well as methods and services that can help you accurately and efficiently capture employee engagement data.
Some helpful metrics every company can track quarterly without additional cost or investment in third parties are manager score, employee churn rate, and employee mobility.
If you already do annual reviews, why not review up by asking employees to rate or score their experiences with their managers? Not only is this helpful to assessing team dynamics but it will also provide an equitable distribution of power. Alongside this you should have a pulse on the rate of mobility within your company. Are employees making sensible lateral moves that increase cross-team collaboration? At what rate are employees being promoted? Tracking mobility can help you see in real time if your team is stagnant and you can see how you measure up to mobility expectations in your industry.
The same thing goes for your turnover rate. You track customer churn rates, why wouldn’t you do the same for your employees? Keeping tabs on who’s leaving and how fast they exit is a simple way to let you know, year over year, if your engagement and retention tactics are working. Additionally, a short exit interview is highly recommended. Create a concise list of questions and you’re likely to get more frank answers. Our personal favorite is “Would you recommend this company to a friend?”
Employee feedback is crucial but rather than make it a singular time-consuming event, like an annual survey, you can quickly measure how they feel by tracking eNPS. If your work involves customer service you might have felt the burn of NPS or Net Promoter Score. It takes your standard scale of one through ten and makes it more brutal by facing you with the truth that if someone would not enthusiastically recommend your product or services (score 9 or 10) then they’re actually neutral (non-additive) or worse, a detractor. It works the same for employees but the question is, would you recommend this company to a friend looking for employment opportunities? The key to effective eNPS is the frequent cadence of a simple question. Ask this question at random throughout the year or as often as once a month and it’s only a single click employees have to complete.
I love eNPS because of its brutal honesty which is what also caught my eye as new AI employee satisfaction software that’s becoming widely available. The basic premise is this, instead of a written review, employees would be video recorded about their work experience and happiness. Using language and facial recognition technology they can assess the employees genuine enthusiasm for the role and the level of passion and engagement they have with their team. While this may be a costly endeavor for some, it’s better to look at this service as a singular software provider for an HR department. This review format would help measure productivity and effectiveness of management in a way that utilizes sentiment cues that a written review obscures. Plus, interviews are each done in real time, which prevents the review process from dragging out.
One thing to consider while shopping around for this HR tech is the potential bias AI logic may carry and how that could impact analytics you pay for. For example, if the facial expressions or lingual idioms used to score engagement are overwhelmingly from one single demographic, say cis-gendered white men over 35, then you’re essentially holding all employees to a standard set by one group. Asking your software provider about where they glean their AI insights from and if they’re paying attention to racial, language, and gender bias is crucial
A less invasive process that is a step up from basic metrics would be a culture audit led by a third party. A team of HR professionals could point out glaring holes in your employee retention strategies and point out areas of improvement needed to establish a cooperative and exciting company culture. If you’re interested in leading third party employee engagement metric software and analytics here are some of my favorites.