The employee research market is flooded with technology and innovation, primarily exploiting techniques used in consumer and market research by repurposing them to measure employee experiences in what is being touted as non-traditional (not an annual survey). Some feel pressure to be at the forefront of this perceived innovation to keep ahead of industry trends; however, the reality of implementing more frequent listening is not as simple as it may seem.
‘Realtime’, ‘Pulse’, ‘Ongoing’, ‘Always on’ are just some of the term’s beings used to get organisations to think differently about their internal listening mechanisms, but in some cases causes organisations to feel pressure to keep up with the latest trends. These types of listening deliver in the moment insights and we, at Harris Interactive, are strong advocates of that as it’s part of our digital strategy, but organisations must be ready for it. And herein lies the challenge.
Frequent listening provides a host of benefits including:
But to mobilise and deliver on more frequent listening, there are lots of considerations. Here are the main ones:
Over the years we have seen organisations dip their toes into the water of more frequent listening to varying degrees of success; however, they ultimately retain and rely on their annual survey for ‘catch all’ feedback allowing them to take a pause and draw a line in the sand. Always on and frequent listening is more akin to a steady jog without rest periods to reset. Examples of organisations trialling more frequent listening are provided below:
Pulse and frequent listening has merit, especially when it’s targeted to explore specific aspects of the employee experience, such as H&S or a comms audit. It acts as a symbiote of the annual survey to help further define action and dig deeper but it doesn’t replace the annual survey, which provides time to see the impact and the benefit of initiatives and make sure they are prioritised and seen through, before setting too many hares running and too many initiatives up – otherwise focus, purpose and benefit are lost. Big surveys clearly have a place, but so do shorter, sharper and speedier ones too. Ultimately, all employee research needs to be well thought out with a clear purpose, and not exclusively thought of as an annual survey OR more frequent surveys. It’s about defining the right approach for your organisation, with your own purpose in mind delivered through the resources you have available. Agencies like Harris Interactive have the technological capabilities to deliver slow and fast – but it’s ultimately about delivering what’s going to keep you ahead of what’s next, whatever that looks like!
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