Enable your Employee 360 initiative

For a company to be successful it is no longer enough to have great products at attractive prices. There is a need to have a strong workforce of engaged employees, and high-performing teams.

To achieve that, companies must design, implement and run an Employee Experience Program. Establishing it as part of the HR function and initiatives, as well as daily routine.

Any EX Program should have an Employee Feedback Project, which in turn must have a Employee 360 component, where feedback is gathered from an employee’s manager, peers and direct reports.

(Note: Some companies, depending on the circumstances, may also include feedback from external third parties who may work closely with the employee in question – e.g. partners, suppliers).

The Employee 360 feedback provides a holistic view of the employee, and makes everyone comfortable (confidentiality) sharing important feedback, that otherwise may have not been shared.

Running such program, projects and initiatives can be daunting for HR / Talent Management teams. Actually, it may be impossible without technology enabling it, and allowing automation.

The technology should allow companies to:

  1. Create user-friendly and easy-to-use portals for users to provide feedback
  2. Automate process for multi-raters to review and provide employee feedback
  3. Deliver personalised, confidential and detailed reports to employees and managers
  4. Define action plans to manage and track progress, as well as drive improvements
  5. Integrate with HRIS (e.g. Workday, Oracle PeopleSoft, SAP SuccessFactors, Greenhouse)

Qualtrics is one of the leaders when it comes to Employee Engagement software (see G2 Crowd grid) as well as the undisputed leader of Experience Management (see G2 Crowd grid). Below is an example of an automated report, generated on the back of an Employee 360 initiative.

Qualtrics EX 360 Report (Example)

The report shows that when it comes to Communication (top chart) the employee rates himself much higher than peers, direct reports and manager – meaning there is a weakness not being recognised by the employee.

Qualtrics EX 360 Report (Example)

The report then drills-down on the Communication topic, looking at the individual questions of the 360 assessment. It is easy to understand, from the above 3 charts, that the employee’s weakness comes from Active Listening and Understanding, as well as lack of Clear and To-the-point communication.

Qualtrics EX 360 Report (Example)

More than only pointing out the weaknesses and strengths, the automated and personalised report also displays a description and interpretation of the results, providing a list of (pre-defined) actions and steps to follow, in order to improve that particular skill (in this case, taking an “Effective Communications” course on the the company’s LMS platform).

6 instrumental factors for technology projects success

Technology is crucial for the delivery of a good Customer Experience. No doubt all Customer Experience Programs today include a technology enablement, implementation or integration project.

But despite trends around methods like Agile or Scrum (that try and make things more efficient and effective) the success in technology projects is limited – at best people get it done with loads of hassle; often they fail to achieve what they set out to do.

I believe the problem lies on the mix between wrong cultures and the use of legacy approaches to IT projects – where people make big plans from the outset, and then take things in a linear or sequential way (similar to what you would see in Waterfall).

These approaches rely on people making estimations (for timelines and costs) that reach horizons that they cannot see, and are usually far-fetched (as people simply cannot envision the next 3, 4, 5 or 6 months).

The business decides what they want (which is not necessarily what they need or is feasible). To avoid being seen as the party-wreckers IT teams (solution architects, developers, project managers) tend to give the customary nod and optimistic estimates.

What they cannot see (despite falling into that trap hundreds of times!) is that those promises (around timelines and costs for the technology enablement project) become set in stone, and set certain expectations.

It usually doesn’t take long until the project is delayed or stalled, the scope is creeping, and things are going over-budget. But rather than flagging things earlier, there is a tendency to sweep it under the rug.

It’s not until things get to a point of no-return that the project team sees themselves on the cliff-edge, and finally breaks the news – there is no way they will be able to deliver the project on time and budget.

The Business Sponsor needs to make a decision:

  • bury more time and money;
  • deploy incomplete (and potentially buggy) technology platform;
  • bring the whole project to a halt.

None of these options is positive. Actually all of them will have a significant negative impact on:

  • Employee Experience – will feel frustrated and incompetent; will see their time and hard work wasted; will put morale down.
  • Customer Experience – if external customer, will suffer with a broken (or less than optimal) experience; if internal customer, will lose trust in business/IT capabilities.

In a technology-enablement project, there are at least 6 instrumental factors for success:

  1. Pragmatism, when it comes to discuss feasibility and investment appraisals;
  2. Realism, when it comes to set and manage people’s expectations;
  3. Focus, when it comes to design and plan the approach;
  4. Collaboration, when it comes to get things done, and push it forward;
  5. Transparency, when it comes to managing the project, risks and issues;
  6. Courage, when it comes to decision-making.