How to Measure Employee Sentiment and Why It Matters
With the Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates, it’s likely we’re headed for a recession in the coming year, and many businesses will turn to cost-saving measures like hiring freezes and even layoffs. Since it’s unlikely that new talent will be coming in the door, engaging and retaining top performers becomes even more important.
Employees have unique perspectives from their role on the front lines, interacting with clients, customers, and working cross-functionally day-to-day. If you want to retain your best employees and improve culture overall, it's important to proactively gauge employee sentiment and promote engagement.
But, employees often shy away from sharing unfiltered feedback. This can happen for many reasons—from fear of retribution, to simply a lack of belief that their feedback will be heard and considered.
HR teams can overcome this by collecting data from a variety of sources. Here are 5 ways your team can get a more complete picture of how employees are truly feeling toward your company.
Employee engagement surveys
While employee engagement surveys can’t always giveHR teams all the information they need related to employee sentiment, they are an essential tool and a key aspect of measuring employee sentiment.
Engagement surveys give HR and People Ops teams an opportunity to cover a wide range of topics including company culture, job satisfaction, opinion of management, and opportunities for growth and development.
There are a few different ways to conduct engagement surveys. You can set up a Google Form to collect information, but it’s harder to spot trends over time, store responses, or drill down into feedback by department or manager. Using a dedicated tool to measure employee engagement, like Eden’s Employee Engagement Surveys, helps streamline the process of sending surveys and collecting and tracking responses, and enables HR and People Ops teams to analyze data and spot trends over time.
And, using an employee engagement tool means you can customize the level of anonymity, which means you’ll get more valuable, honest feedback. For example, Eden’s Employee Engagement Survey tool allows for both anonymous responses (in which no employee data is collected), as well as confidential responses, which include details like department and manager.
The most important part of running employee engagement surveys? Actually taking action with the results. If employees feel like the survey is a check-the-box activity on the part of HR, they’ll be unlikely to take part in the future—and they’ll be less inclined to be detailed and candid. Requesting feedback and not taking action is always a quick way to tank morale, so be sure to conduct engagement surveys and make changes based on feedback.
Glassdoor reviews provide insight into what former and current employees think about an organization. This information can shed light on everything from the employee experiences with management to their opinion on compensation packages and more.
Since Glassdoor prompts reviewers to answer pre-set questions, as well as allows for open responses, HR teams can gather a mix of standardized insights and one-off feedback and opinions.
In addition to learning about what former and current workers have to say about the company, Glassdoor reviews also offer a window into what prospective employees or competitors are reading about the organization. It’s a good idea for HR to set up alerts when a new review is posted so they can keep up to date on what’s being said about the company on Glassdoor.
The employee net promoter score (eNPS) is a measure of employee satisfaction and loyalty.
eNPS asks employees to rate their likelihood of recommending the company to family and friends as a good place to work on a scale from 1-10. Employees who give a score of 0-6 are considered detractors, those who give a 7 or 8 are considered passive, and those who give a 9 or 10 are your promoters. To calculate eNPS, simply subtract the number of detractors from promoters.
eNPS is a quick and easy way to understand how employees are feeling toward the company and can be used to gauge employee satisfaction. Conducting regular eNPS surveys is a useful approach to help HR better understand how initiatives are landing when the company is making changes, entering uncertain economic times, or implementing new processes.
Rate of adoption
The rate of adoption measures how much of the workforce uses or adopts a new technology, process, or tool.
Rates of adoption can be a useful way to gauge what employees think about new processes as they indicate how helpful or efficient employees deem the change to be. Low adoption rates signal that employees don’t find a change useful, and give the company information that it needs to re-adjust course, or perhaps introduce a different process or tool.
For example, initiating a company-wide move to a project management tool and then seeing low adoption might indicate that some orgs don’t see value in the tool. Maybe the tool is clunky to use or creates friction as the org has to make their processes fit into a specific workflow that doesn’t match their own.
Monitoring workforce adoption rates supports a company in understanding how well employees are accepting changes or engaging with new tools and processes, and identify any potential issues that may need to be addressed.
Anonymous Q&A boxes at all hands meetings
While theoretically anyone can ask a question at an all hands meeting, many shy away from doing so. It can be intimidating to ask tough questions of leadership, especially in a public forum, and often the same employees speak up again and again.
An anonymous question box (physical or virtual) empowers employees with anonymity to ask frank questions that they may feel uncomfortable asking with their name and face attached. The questions employees ask can be a powerful indicator of how employees feel about the organization.
While these should remain anonymous, HR can keep track of the questions to look for trends over time.
For example, if employees are regularly asking questions about company goals and direction for the coming quarter—topics leadership believes to be common knowledge—that’s a good indicator that it’s time to evaluate and improve the way that leadership communicates to the company at large.
Ultimately, there isn’t one single, perfect way to gauge how employees feel about your company. But, taken together, these strategies can help HR and People Ops teams create a more holistic view of employee satisfaction and experience. If your goal is to create a people-centered company with strong culture and employee retention, it’s critical to keep a pulse on how employees feel about their workplace, and regularly make adjustments based on their feedback. Building a great company culture is a key tool in supporting employee retention and fostering high employee engagement across the organization and starts with listening to what employees have to say.