A modern management principle is ‘What gets measured gets managed.’ Taking a cue from it, most organizations have measured employee engagement to enable action planning in their pursuit of becoming a Great Place to Work. Historically, this measurement was done once a year (or even once in 2 years).
As the enterprise sphere moved towards continuous changes and dynamic environments, there was a need felt to understand employees’ perceptions more often. In the earlier process, by the time feedback was collated and presented for action planning, it was already old data with limited insights and impact. It led to the conversation and efforts around continuous listening. As technology evolved, it became easier to measure employee perception almost continuously. Many organizations have experimented with continuous listening and have found that there are some benefits and pitfalls with the approach.
While continuous listening helps organizations to have more recent data about employee perceptions and preferences, there is a debate around survey fatigue leading to low-quality of survey data. There is also an ethical debate on passive listening methods like implants and email tracking.
Taking the above concerns into consideration, we developed a strategy of ‘Intelligent Listening’ at PepsiCo. Our approach has three main pillars –
• Predicting business outcome
By leveraging big data analytics, we were able to ascertain a set of items that can predict employee performance and employee attrition. It has enabled us to define fewer questions that can provide us with a holistic view of employee perceptions (without the need for lengthy surveys).
• Humanizing the listening moments
We are leveraging technology to look beyond surveys. We are leveraging AI & chatbots for personalized interaction with our employees in natural language at the moment that matters to each one of them. The chatbot interacts with the employee and asks questions replicating a human interaction. It enables richer data and insights.
• Collective listening
Involving employees in idea generation or taking their inputs early on, creates buy-in and engagement. Therefore, we crowd-source ideas on specific topics through online focus group discussion platforms. We are also leveraging data from social media feeds (public data) to have a 360-degree assessment of employee perception.
The approach is providing us with a holistic view of employee perceptions and feedback. While this enables intelligent listening, we are working on to further leverage this into an intelligent action planning framework too. We aspire to provide a dashboard for each manager with insights from the listening tools and recommendations of actions he/she should take for furthering the engagement in his/ her team. The recommended actions will be based on our extensive database of steps we have taken in the past and their impact.
The overall programme thereby will enable business leaders to drive actions that make a direct impact of business outcome with ownership and accountability.