How can an engaging employee experience drive your competitive advantage? At Hycom, we ask this question on a regular basis. Why? Because we strongly believe that skilled people are our company’s greatest asset – one that we cannot afford to take for granted — and we want to help our clients understand the value of their own teams. To develop a happy and loyal workforce, we needed to understand how employees are feeling and how best to support them. To get there, the we launched an Employee Listening program that incorporates surveys to gain deep insight into employee sentiments and pain points during the COVID-19 crisis. Armed with this knowledge, we were able to take targeted action to improve employee experience, with the goal of keeping our people committed, engaged and in high spirits.
In a knowledge economy like ours, a great employee experience is business critical. Qualtrics enables us to listen to employees, understand what they need, and do everything we can to support them.
As a services company, we rely on the skills and experience of our consultants, designers, and programmers to develop solutions for clients, and these skills are highly sought-after. Qualified programmers, for example, are in high demand on the labor market. Retaining the talent we have is crucial—losing employees means the loss of knowledge and the ability to deliver. Our existing programmers understand our codebase and how to work with it; if we hire someone new, it takes weeks or months for them to get up to speed and become productive.
To retain our skilled and experienced employees, we have to take good care of them. A great employee experience is therefore business critical. To provide a positive working environment and keep our people happy, we need to listen to them. We need to understand their needs, expectations, and pain points.
To better understand how our people feel, we built an Employee Listening Program with Qualtrics EmployeeXM.
We were about to launch the Employee Listening Program when the COVID-19 pandemic hit—bringing with it a new work reality. Due to lockdown measures, all employees had to work remotely and we needed to find ways to stay connected even when we were apart.
That’s when we decided to incorporate Qualtrics’ free Remote Work Pulse into the Employee Listening Program, enabling us to check in with employees on a daily basis. We were able to move extremely fast and went from the initial idea to implementing the first changes based on employee feedback in just five days.
In addition to the daily pulse surveys during the COVID-19 crisis, the Employee Listening Program conducts other regular surveys to gauge how employees are feeling. The insight into employee sentiments and pain points that we gain from these surveys enables us to take targeted action to improve the employee experience.
For example, the very first remote pulse survey revealed that employees wanted COVID-19-related board communications to have a more personal tone and address their concerns about business disruption and job security. We instantly changed the communications to be more friendly and informal, and set up a company-wide video chat session with the CEO each week. In the results of our next survey, we saw that employee satisfaction with board communications increased to 98% almost immediately.
Based on employee feedback, we also relaxed our remote work policies and introduced flexible schedules for employees with children to relieve pressure and reduce stress levels. As a result, 96% of employees agree that that Hycom gives them the flexibility to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
In addition, we are using the Qualtrics survey results to determine which variables drive positive employee attitudes in key areas such as job satisfaction and willingness to stay at Hycom. A better understanding of people’s emotions makes it easier for us to pinpoint the issues that really motivate employees and understand how best to respond.
Initial pulse survey results showed that 87% of employees approved of board communications on COVID-19. Feedback revealed that employees wanted a more personal tone. We made changes based on this learning and follow-up survey results indicated that 98% of employees were happy with the new style—an increase of 11 percentage points.
Therefore, we also asked people if they were experiencing any barriers in remote working. 34% of employees were unhappy with their workspace set-up and 17% had problems with their internet connection. Based on this feedback, we ran an in-depth webinar with a remote work expert to help people adapt to working from home. We also provided more than 50 employees with mobile hotspot routers, extra monitors, desks and office chairs. Follow-up survey results showed that the number of employees who agreed with the statement “there are no barriers to working remotely” went from 27% to 41%.
In executing this initiative, we relied on experience management solutions from SAP and the Remote Work Pulse solution from Qualtrics, which is owned by SAP and is the leader in employee experience and creator of the Experience Management (XM) category.
Employee Benefits Optimizer – a tool enabling benefits teams to understand what its employees want most, and what will deliver the greatest ROI
Employee Engagement – a baseline metric from which organizations can build more elaborate listening strategies
Employee Lifecycle – feedback mechanisms at every point in the lifecycle, from onboarding to exit
Remote Work Pulse – a daily barometer of employee sentiment, launched in response to the Covid-19 crisis
The Employee Listening Program is a key pillar of our organizational transformation. We are working to replace the traditional hierarchical organizational structure by redefining the role of the manager, shifting the focus towards giving employees the tools and support they need to feel trusted and valued, and perform at their best. We aim to be in a constant dialogue with employees. By taking employee feedback on board, we can build a better working environment and give our people the support they need to do their jobs well and be happy at work.
Like all organizations, we had to adapt fast to the new world of 100% remote working during the COVID-19 crisis. We are proud of the fact that we were able to stay connected to employees and respond very rapidly to their needs. Insights from the Qualtrics Remote Work Pulse solution enabled us to take immediate action to resolve pressing pain points and help our people adjust to remote working, keeping them reassured, motivated and, crucially, happy at Hycom.
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