Friday, January 20th 2023

Improving Surveys with Passive Listening

Employee engagement survey

More Work!

What’s the first thing we do when we get a survey? We look to see if there is an indication of how long it will take to complete the survey, or how many questions we need to answer to finish it. While doing a survey, we are usually eyeing the progress bar to see if it is almost finished. For those of us who send out surveys, why do we provide these visual clues to the survey takers? We all realize we are asking for time and effort from people in their busy day and for the most part, they don't really want to take the survey so we want let them know it is almost over. But what if we could change that and turn surveys from a chore to an employee empowerment engine? 

Active Surveys

Since we are rarely all in the same room, same building or even the same country with each other, it is getting harder and harder to use our soft skills of perception to understand the voice of the employee or employee engagement levels. Yearly engagement surveys, 360 surveys and pulse surveys have taken over as the primary ways business leaders get feedback from the workforce. Why do we do surveys? In a world where employees have numerous employment options and employees expect the employee experience to match their high expectations, leaders know that understanding their employees directly leads to higher retention rates, better employee satisfaction and more profitable business outcomes. Surveys are currently the best way to get this feedback.

We also know that surveys have limitations. They are a snapshot in time that represents a feeling at that very moment and that it can change drastically moving forward. We know that the value of the feedback can be diminished by people not feeling comfortable about being truly open and honest with their response. Surveys rely on us knowing what questions to ask in advance and the fallback “Comments” box is not a very systematic way for us to catch things we didn't think to ask. What if we could make surveying better?

Passive Listening

Passive listening is a technology that analyzes without being intrusive. How does Amazon know what you want to buy, Google know what you want to search for, or Facebook know what you want to read about in your feed? They all passively listen to understand you better. Passive listening technology like TruPulse software is available for companies to generate real-time and consistent insights over time. Passive listening can measure employee morale, track trending workplace topics or even understand the cultural health of the organization. Since the technology is always on, companies will never miss a change in employee sentiment. Passive listening combines workplace psychology, automation, AI technology and analytics to bring a whole new people analytics technology to businesses. These solutions de-identify employee identities when generating insights and combine insights into groups to respect individual employee privacy.

Combining Active Surveying with Passive Listening

We can all see a place for both active surveys and passive listening in helping us understand employees, but if we combine them together, can we get even better results? Since passive listening solutions are running all the time, they can uncover changes in morale, trending topics or organizational behavior in realtime. If a passive listening solution measures that employee morale dipped 25% this week, time to run a pulse survey to find out why! If a passive listening solution spots that “Quitting” has become a trending topic in the workplace, an engagement survey can be run to measure the employee experience to spot trouble. If a passive listening solution uncovers a significant drop in morale at the headquarters office, and the top trending topics were “back to school”, “return to work” and “gas prices”, a targeted survey could be launched to this specific group to understand what we can do to make things easier on them.

A Modern Employee Feedback System

Passive listening and active surveying are both great employee feedback tools which if used together, can leverage the strengths of each to understand employees in a better way. Passive listening can work in the background without interrupting workplace activity to spot changes in morale, trending topics or workplace culture. Active surveying can take these insights and use them to survey employees to get very detailed feedback on important workplace issues. Together these solutions form the backbone of a truly modern employee feedback system.

The Employee Pulse
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