Collecting employee feedback and understanding the employee experience is growing in importance, with over three-quarters (78 percent) of UK HR professionals questioned in research expecting it to become even more important to their organisation within the next three years. However, progress is being held back by competing priorities and a lack of readiness to change how HR teams collect and act on employee insights.
While half of the research respondents currently rely on a traditional annual or biannual employee survey for collecting experience feedback, they are increasingly open to adopting new ways of listening. 79 percent expect to have implemented next-generation tools, such as always-on and continuous listening, within three years. 26 percent already use whistleblowing channels and 19 percent have introduced always-on feedback.
The survey of 150 UK HR professionals was commissioned by Questback, the global leader in enterprise feedback management. It demonstrates that HR teams see a direct correlation between the use of feedback tools and improved understanding of the level of employee experience and engagement in their business. They gave both traditional and next-generation experience tools a score of 91 percent for their usefulness in measuring employee engagement.
HR Professionals view newer experience tools as having even more significant potential to support the business, scoring higher than or equal to traditional approaches in five out of seven key business priorities. These include measuring the impact of business change (scoring 81 percent effectiveness), encouraging employee participation (85 percent) and improving individual and team performance (69 percent).
Despite recognising their value, HR professionals see the challenge of securing budget as the top barrier to adopting newer experience tools, considered a significant issue by 50 percent of respondents. This was followed by new tools not being seen as part of HR’s remit (40 percent) and a lack of readiness to roll them out (33 percent).
“Trying to get budget for next-generation experience technology remains a problem even though these new tools are not more expensive or resource intensive than existing solutions – they can actually bring down costs over time, as well as deliver greater business insight,” explains John Wilkinson, UK General Manager at Questback. “To overcome this, the HR department has to focus on demonstrating the positive commercial impact of these new tools to its internal stakeholders, if it is to develop its strategic role.”
The research also starkly highlighted the resource pressures faced by HR teams, with a wide range of business priorities competing for time and budgets. When asked to name their main focus for the year ahead, the top responses included engagement, attracting and retaining talent, health and safety and coping with Brexit.
“With competition for skills increasing, organisations face a war for talent which relies on embracing the latest HR developments,” says Peter Wilde, Head of Employee Experience, Questback UK. “Our research shows that HR professionals understand the importance of employee experience and recognise that they have to embrace next generation feedback tools to give their organisations an edge. However, they must find ways to overcome challenges that include budget and resource concerns, their own competing priorities and organisational inertia.”
On a positive note the research indicates senior management in many companies is increasingly open to the benefits of introducing new feedback tools; nearly half (46 percent) of the HR professionals questioned believe that any senior leadership resistance to change is either not an issue or can be conquered.