How WorkTango Solves The Annual Employee Engagement Survey Facade
I’ve long been a visceral opponent of the annual employee engagement survey. Much can change in 12 months. More importantly, much can be changed when it comes to this archaic practice.
WorkTango is an example of a service that disrupts the employee engagement landscape, enabling companies to give their employees a voice and collect authentic feedback for any purpose.
Beyond employee engagement measurement, organizations use the platform to measure and provide feedback across the entire employee lifecycle. Using data science and natural language understanding, actionable insights from employee feedback can be served in real-time to HR, executives, or every people leader in the organization.
The results are quicker insight and action, better people decisions, and a more aligned and engaged workforce. This is what the annual employee engagement survey cannot provide.
Feedback like this has become increasingly more important in today’s modern workplace, with organizations wanting to understand employee sentiment around remote/hybrid work, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, as well as psychological health and safety, for example.
In sum, why I like about WorkTango the most is that its aim is “to project and protect the voice of employees in organizations.” How can you not like such a declaration of purpose?
I recently sat down with the company’s co-founder and Chief Engagement Officer, Rob Catalano, to discuss the product and a host of other questions. Here is part one of that conversation:
Dan: I hate the annual employee engagement survey. Tell me what sets WorkTango apart from that practice?
Rob: WorkTango helps organizations solve the shortfall of the annual employee engagement survey in three key ways:
Frequency – many organizations are now eliminating this practice or supplementing it with more frequency in understanding employee sentiment. Measuring engagement annually simply doesn’t support the ability to be agile in improving the employee experience, which is critical in our modern workplace. We provide our customers with the flexibility to engage with their employees at whatever frequency that works for them. If 2020 taught us anything, employee feedback was critical to navigate through remote work and organizational change. It shouldn’t cost more to check in with employees, and our platform offers organizations that flexibility.
Speed of Valuable Insight – the typical outdated process of conducting a survey and waiting three months for data from a vendor (or manually calculating it yourself) removes the time and focus on the most important outcome from these insights – acting based on the data. Our platform offers the ability to see insights in real-time, sliced any way you want it, and served to every leader in your company if that is preferred. The ability to see real-time insights, trends and hotspots supports the focus on the right actions.
Inspiring Action – WorkTango platform doesn’t just host the insights. It offers recommendations of where to act. At a corporate level, predictive analytics will help HR teams or Executives know what actions will yield the biggest impact. But a one-sized solution doesn’t cut it. Rather than organizations relying on HR, WorkTango supports leaders by offering recommended learning and actions based on the unique feedback for each individual leader while also offering the ability to track actions to build accountability.
Dan: WorkTango states it’s a people-first technology, combining cutting-edge people analytics, AI, and natural language processing technology. What does that mean in English, and how does it benefit the customer or user?
Rob: Conducting a survey to measure employee engagement or understand employee sentiment and then act on that feedback to see impact has traditionally been a drawn-out and painful process. It’s likely the reason why companies conduct them only once a year.
Technology is simply making it better, faster and cheaper – which is a rare trifecta that our customers are finding tremendous value in.
In English, people-first technology means it “just works.” Simple and inclusive ways for employees to offer feedback on any device, or even if they don’t have access to an e-mail address or smartphone.
From a People Analytics perspective, our technology is leveraging data science and predictive modelling to share what actions will have the most impact. We know that organizations can’t improve every element of their employee experience, but data can support what to prioritize. This real-time influence is very valuable to businesses.
Other AI and algorithms support smarter ways to support action. Recommending the right actions to leaders based on the feedback they’ve received and leveraging data of what’s worked for other leaders make our recommendations much more specific and impactful, including highlighting hotspots or trends to improve focus.
And it isn’t all about numbers. Gone are the days of the spreadsheet with thousands of employee comments. Natural Language Processing reads employee comments and, in real-time, offers customers the ability to see sentiment patterns, themes and even respond to comments with complete confidentiality to dig into employee feedback.
Dan: What has surprised you with the way clients use WorkTango, and why?
Rob: My surprises have been pleasant ones. When initially building WorkTango, our focus and philosophy was to remove barriers for companies to understand sentiment of employees and serve that data in real-time to unlimited leaders in an organization. In other words, ensuring HR didn’t have to be a filter to that insight and spend time dispersing it out throughout the organization, but offering that insight to the people that arguably have the biggest influence on engagement and performance of employees: leaders.
This practice is happening much more than I had anticipated. In the past few years, we have customers leveraging the platform for dozens of reasons and getting critical insights to support growth and agility. But what’s more surprising is how our customers are giving access to tens, hundreds or thousands of leaders to see this insight.
There has always been sensitivity of who should see data from an employee survey perspective, and it’s great to see companies shifting from traditional approaches. We have global organizations offering insights to, for example, in retail, every store owner to be accountable for the engagement of their store.
Part Two of my interview with Rob Catalano will publish on June 9, 2021.
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