Employee Engagement Survey, Questions & All You Need To Know

Explore the A-Z of employee engagement survey with reasons, strategic process and validated questions to augment employee experience.

7

min read

As we have talked about it before, employee engagement defines the level of commitment of the workforce to the organization and ultimately translates to performance and impact. You must already be aware of the many reasons that make employee engagement a top priority, including, higher productivity, reduced absenteeism, inclusive culture, customer satisfaction, etc. 

While the focus is turning towards increasing employee experience with greater engagement, you might still be struggling about the best way to measure the engagement quotient. Here, an employee engagement survey with the right questions can help you ramp up the efforts in the right direction.

Table of Contents

What is an employee engagement survey?

An employee engagement survey seeks to gauge the pulse and opinion of the workforce to determine their dedication and commitment to the organization. You can get a quantitative and qualitative analysis of employee perspectives and level of belongingness to the workplace. Measuring some key drivers of engagement can help you understand the degree of engagement or disengagement among employees, which has a direct impact on the organizational bottom line. The following sections will uncover all important aspects of an employee engagement survey, highlighting its importance, important attributes, top employee engagement survey questions and best ways to get started. 

Why is employee engagement survey important?

On the face of it, conducting an employee engagement survey is to gauge deep insights on the engagement landscape in an organization. However, there are several other factors that contribute to answering why employee engagement surveys are important. 

1. Employee Voice

One of the top reasons for having an employee engagement survey is to give your employees a voice and encourage them to share their perspectives. It enables team members to share their feedback on what is working for them and what needs improvement. Additionally, it is a source of empowerment for employees who feel their opinion also matters to the organization.

2. Employer Branding

Employee engagement quotient is very important if you are competing for the top talent in the market. Naturally, the best minds and resources tend to choose organizations that have a greater regard for their employees and focus on creating a positive experience. Gauging and showcasing employee engagement can, thus, help you in two ways. Firstly, it can help you to map your engagement performance with industry benchmarks and get an understanding of where you stand. Secondly, it can enable you to attract the best talent with a reputation for being the employer of choice.

3. Tracking Performance

Finally, an employee engagement survey enables you  to map the performance of the engagement efforts at regular intervals. Like any other KPI or key performance indicator, employee engagement surveys help track whether or not the investments, practices and initiatives are bearing fruit. This is important to formulate a robust employee engagement strategy and ensure smooth implementation. 

What does an employee engagement survey measure?

Like any other survey, the efficacy of an employee engagement survey lies in the relevance and strength of its questions. Before we jump onto what employee engagement survey questions should you put in your survey, you must understand what an employee engagement survey should measure. Naturally, an employee engagement survey must measure different attributes of engagement which promote a pleasant experience for employees. Here are the top factors that you must take into account while putting together the questions to gauge engagement.

1. Motivation

Any employee engagement survey should be able to measure how motivated an employee is about their work and the workplace as a whole. When employees are highly engaged, their level of motivation to forge meaningful relationships with all stakeholders as well as give in their 100% is on the higher side. According to a research by Gallup, employees work 20% better when motivated. At the same time, motivated employees are 87% less likely to resign, says a study by Inc Magazine. Thus, measuring motivation as an offshoot of engagement is important to attract, nurture and retain the best talent. 

2. Belongingness

The next parameter that an engagement survey ought to measure revolves around belongingness. By definition, belongingness is a feeling of safety and security which comes from a high level of engagement when a person feels accepted as a part of an inclusive culture as its own. According to a study, high belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. Thus, you must be able to gauge whether employees feel they belong there or not with your employee engagement survey. 

3. Value

Employee engagement survey questions should also be crafted in a way so as to gauge whether employees are able to perceive the value they create for the organization or not. Each employee adds unique value and contributes to the overall success of the organization. An engaged workforce is one which is time and again reminded of the value it is creating and recognized and appreciated for the same. Your survey must explicitly highlight whether or not employees are aware about the value they create. 

4. Satisfaction

Finally, an employee engagement survey must intend to capture the overall satisfaction of employees. You must take into account their happiness, wellbeing, etc. running across all aspects of their experience. Measuring this is very important because a satisfied employee seldom looks out for other opportunities, reducing attrition. Research shows that when there is employee satisfaction, employee productivity increases by 40% which in turn increases the customer satisfaction by 18% and there is a drop in employee turnover by 14%.

How to conduct an employee engagement survey?

Contrary to popular belief, conducting an employee engagement survey is not simply collecting questions over the internet and emailing them to employees. While many organizations implement this approach, however, the success rate of such a process is feeble. To ensure impact, you must follow a well thought through and strategic approach. 

1. Set the goal

The first step to conducting an employee engagement survey effectively is to set a goal i.e. what do you wish to achieve out of it. If you caught yourself saying, Obviously, we want to measure engagement levels, you are not wrong, but there is still a long way to go. Setting a goal must start with understanding where you currently stand on different engagement parameters. Next, it is important to identify the one that is on top priority and take that as a goal to be achieved after the whole exercise. The goals will largely depend on your current landscape and the biggest obstacle you seek to address. Some of the common goals could look like:

  • Understanding employee engagement across different verticals and creating a uniform experience
  • Facilitating better avenues for collaboration and communication
  • Boosting motivation, satisfaction and retention
  • Identifying reasons contributing to an unpleasant work culture

2. Decide the employee engagement survey type

Once you have a goal set, the next step is to decide on the employee engagement survey type that you align best with. There are several parameters which can help you create the right survey, including:

a. Frequency

Surveys can be conducted on an annual, biannual, quarterly, monthly or even daily basis. How often you want to gauge employee pulse generally determines the ideal frequency. While annual surveys were the norm for a long time, organizations are now moving towards more frequent ones. The latter approach can help you with regular updates on the progress of engagement quotient and room to implement corrective measures on the go, rather than wait for the year end.

b. Length

The next decision must be on the length of the survey in terms of the number of questions. More often than not, length will depend on the frequency of the survey. Generally, the greater the frequency, the lesser the number of questions. Most organizations today are moving towards adopting pulse surveys which are short and conducted at regular intervals. Some are even experimenting with one question daily kind of measurement which are proving to be extremely effective and are delivering great insights.

c. Anonymity

Surveys can either be anonymous or might require a proof of identity. Both types have their own merits and demerits. Anonymous surveys encourage employees to share their honest opinion without the fear of any backlash. Surveys that require identity can help organizations go deep into the responses and pinpoint exact problems. Deeping on the employee's expectations and organizational needs, you can make the right decision.

d. Type of questions

Finally, what type of questions you want to make a part of the survey is an important decision. Open-ended survey questions are important for a qualitative purpose. At the same time, ratings and other objective questions give a foundation for comparison and quantitative analysis. Having a fair mix of both as well as aligning which parameters of engagement to measure in which form is important.

3. Formulate the employee engagement survey questions

Once the decision on employee engagement survey type has been reached, the next step is to actually formulate the questions. Make sure that the employee engagement survey questions align with the format and type decided above. At the same time, each question should be a step towards achieving the goal the survey had set out to achieve. It is important to identify key parameters of engagement that the survey intends to measure and all questions should be categorized under the same for a seamless experience. Questions shouldn’t be too long and must be easy to comprehend. Any question that takes more than a few seconds to read and understand will seldom yield any fruitful responses.

4. Roll of the survey

With the questions in place, your employee engagement survey is ready to go. However, to ensure that employees actually take time out to fill the survey, there needs to be some incentives and conscious push from the management and leadership. To promote the completion rate of the survey, encourage employees to block some time specifically to fill the same. Instead of expecting them to complete this in between all other tasks (as an added burden), give them some time just for this purpose when they can put their mind to it properly. Finally, it would be good to keep some incentives for those who finish the survey in a given time.

5. Action the feedback

Conducting an employee engagement survey doesn’t end with collecting the responses. It goes beyond to actually create an impact. Once the responses are received, it is important to analyze them to understand the gaps and challenges and navigate a plan of action to bridge the same. At the same time, it is extremely important to share the results, even the gaps with the employees and share the course of action to work on the areas of improvement. It might also be a good idea to crowdsource some solutions and gauge employee opinion and voice on how these problems can be addressed. This will enable collective decision making and action. It will also encourage employees to further participate in such surveys in the future as they realize their voice is making a difference.

Validated employee engagement survey questions 

If you are clear on the rationale and process for employee engagement surveys, you should move to understanding the validated employee engagement survey questions that must be considered. It is best to club questions together under specific categories to make them easier to comprehend. Additionally, clubbing questions is important from an analysis perspective as well.

1. Employee engagement index

  • On a scale of 1-5 how happy are you at work?
  • Do you feel motivated every morning to come to work?
  • Do you feel proud to be a part of this organization?
  • How likely are you to recommend our organization to your friends?
  • How would you rate your overall experience working at the company?

2. Communication

  • Are you comfortable in sharing your ideas and perspectives with others in the company?
  • Do you feel your ideas are given due importance and are listened to?
  • Are the expectations and goals of the project/ task you are working on communicated clearly?
  • Do you get a chance to give feedback to your coworkers and managers?
  • Are you able to confidently communicate with your coworkers and managers?

3. Work culture

  • Do you believe that the company has an inclusive work culture?
  • Would you agree that the work environment is positive?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the work-life balance?
  • Are you stressed about the deadlines and targets very often?
  • How frequently do you work over the weekends or on holidays?
  • Would you agree that the company culture is transparent?
  • Do you feel that there is mutual respect at all levels in the company?

4. Wellbeing

  • Would you agree that the company cares about your physical and mental wellbeing?
  • Are you satisfied with the health and wellness policies offered by the company?
  • Do you think the company has sufficient wellness events and activities?
  • Do you think the company values the wellbeing of its employees over the bottom line?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how easy is it to get a day off when you are not feeling well?

5. Compensation and benefits

  • Does the company offer competitive pay compared to others in the industry?
  • Excluding the salary, are you satisfied with the other perks and benefits offered by the company?
  • Are you clear on the compensation and benefits policy offered by the company?
  • What are some other benefits that you think should be added to the current structure?

6. Recognition

  • Do you receive enough and frequent recognition at work?
  • Are you satisfied with the way you are appreciated for your performance?
  • Do you believe that you are fairly recognized for your contribution to the team?
  • Do you feel valued to be a part of the company?
  • Do you receive some appreciation on specific milestones like work anniversary, birthday, etc.?
  • When was the last time you received recognition for your work?

7. Opportunities for development

  • Do you believe that there are enough opportunities for your personal and professional development?
  • Would you agree that your team takes real interest in your career growth?
  • Do you see enough opportunities to grow and thrive professionally as a part of the company?
  • How often do you connect with your manager to discuss your career plans?
  • Have you been able to leverage any development opportunities provided by the company?
  • What are some development programs that you would like to see in the next few years?

8. Management team

  • Does your manager clearly set the expectations and the way to achieve the same?
  • Does your manager make an effort to facilitate your career growth?
  • Does your manager take your feedback seriously?
  • Are you satisfied with the feedback you receive from your manager?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how well does your manager guide you to achieve success?

9. Retention

  • Do you see yourself as a part of this company 10 years from now?
  • If given a chance, would you join this company again?
  • Do you believe you will be able to unlock your full potential here?
  • How often do you consider looking out for other opportunities?

Employee engagement survey: Next Steps

To effectively curate, conduct and act on employee engagement surveys, you must take a proactive approach. It is ideal to partner with platforms like SuperBeings which offer services to gauge employee pulse and make sense out of the responses captured. On a mission to unlock the potential of all super beings at work, this platform provides pulse surveys, curated for individual organizational needs. Based on the insights collected from the responses as well as industry benchmarks, you can leverage data-backed action steps to improve employee engagement and create a positive experience.

Suggested reading:

Complete guide to employee pulse surveys

How to choose the best pulse survey tools

Take your employee experience to new heights with our customizable employee engagement module. Book a free demo today!

Dhanashree Jadhav

Community, SuperBeings

Hi! I am Dhanashree. I'm currently building a super community for talent management folks to gain knowledge and share experiences at SuperBeings

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Performance
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x
min read

How to strategically align compensation and performance management?

The right compensation management practices and policies can make or break your employee experience. Of course, there is merit in linking compensation and performance to drive organizational success, it can lead to several questions and implementation problems as well. 

Read on to get all your compensation management related questions answered.

Why is fair compensation important?

Let’s start with the very basic question of why fair compensation is important and the merits it brings along. It is no surprise that if you are paid more and are compensated according to your efforts, you are likely to give in your 100% and stay with an organization longer. However, there are other factors that support fair compensation:

  • Reduce the risk of turnover: 50% employees are more likely to leave if they believe they are paid below market
  • Retain high-potential performers: High-potential talent brings 91% more value to an organization
  • Increase job satisfaction: Compensation/pay and benefits are 2 of the top 3 drivers of job satisfaction 

Thus, fair compensation as a part of compensation linked performance management has the potential to facilitate better employee outcomes such as engagement, experience and performance. 

Should compensation be tied to performance reviews?

To make compensation fair and inclusive in all aspects, it needs to have a clear foundation. Most organizations have relied on performance reviews as a way of reflecting on performance as a means of compensation decisions. However, there are several competing views both for and against tying compensation to performance reviews. 

Benefits of tying compensation and performance reviews

  • Compensation can act as a great motivator for employees to perform well, which can be reflected in their performance reviews
  • Enable employees to get a clear understanding of what rewards or recognition they get with an increasing level of performance
  • Give employees the opportunity to see the direct value of their performance in tangible ways
  • At an organizational level, it helps to align inputs (compensation) with outputs (performance), enabling efficient resource allocation
  • Ensure that compensation hikes and appraisals are seen as transparent and not arbitrary

Pitfalls of tying compensation and performance reviews

  • It focuses on only those aspects of performance which are under review and not the overall and subtler forms of organizational contribution for employees
  • Performance linked compensation system leads to employees giving themselves  more lenient ratings during self reflection during 360 performance review. Thus, driving the focus away from self reflection as a development practice
  • Biased peer review can also prevent fair compensation, especially when the departmental budgets are limited
  • Sometimes, it creates a blame oriented workplace culture and discourages collaborative problem resolution

Clearly, there are both sides to the story.

The most favorable outcome will be to keep performance as one of the parameters for compensation, but not the sole foundation.

Additionally, as one of the best practices, performance reviews can be conducted on a regular basis, where some are only developmental in nature and others can be tied to compensation management. 

5 compensation best practices today

As discussed, focusing only on performance reviews for compensation management needs a relook. Working with growing organizations, we have curated a list of the top five performance and compensation management practices you can leverage:

1. Keep up with market trends

Ensure that your compensation structure aligns with the market trends so your employees don’t feel underpaid and leave.

  • Conduct a dipstick survey to understand appropriate pay scales
  • Keep your pay structures updated based on market corrections
  • Leverage custom employee pulse surveys to regularly to check their perception on compensation according to market trends

2. Be clear about relationship between performance and compensation

Provide complete transparency and clarity to your employees on what constitutes high levels of performance and what it will take to earn a raise or appraisal.

  • Highlight specific job competencies that link compensation and performance management
  • Don’t rely completely on performance reviews as a means to determine compensation, let them be developmental in nature
  • Gauge performance against pre defined competencies over time

3. Have well defined criteria

Have specific, well defined and measurable criteria for the compensation strategy to ensure that there is complete transparency. 

  • Develop or choose metrics which are easy to comprehend
  • Try to quantify the value for each criteria, including years of experience, education, etc.
  • Account for difference in compensation based on skills, performance levels, among others

4. Communicate benefits effectively

Salary in hand or the pay check your employees receive is accompanied by a range of benefits that are a part of the compensation structure and cost to the company, but are often overlooked by employees. Make sure they are widely communicated.

  • Create a list of all benefits offered to employees and communicate to them via different ways, email, discussion sessions, etc.
  • Be vocal about the value these benefits are able to add over and above their monetary value
  • Illustrate how these benefits also act as tax saving options at times, leading to a more efficient compensation structure

5. Have a standard pay range

Ensure that there is a base pay range for every role and profile with variable additions based on candidate competencies.

  • Have clear guidelines and pay range for each position to set the right expectations
  • Illustrate the competencies/parameters based on which deviation from standard pay range will be acceptable
  • Have a well defined strategy to evolve the pay range and support employee transition from one range to another

How to ensure distributive justice?

The idea of fair compensation and linking compensation and performance management, leads to a very interesting concept of distributive justice. On a broad level, distributive justice essentially focuses on ensuring that the compensation received by employees is fair and equitable and is based on objective and rational grounds which are uniform for all. Here are a few ways to ensure distributive justice:

  • Be transparent about the criteria for compensation and what constitutes as parameters for raise
  • Ensure that measuring of performance/ other criteria for performance is bias free and doesn’t fall prey to halo, horns or recency effect
Measure potential and market value of the employee in addition to experience and expertise to ensure distributive justice for high potential employees 
  • Be fair in your compensation and appraisal assessment

Pay transparency: Merits and demerits

Another interesting component of compensation and performance management that you must acquaint yourself with is pay transparency. Essentially pay transparency refers to how openly or freely employees within an organization can discuss their compensation with others. 

This is not only limited to the check they take home but other perks and benefits they are entitled to. Invariably, many platforms today also enable individuals to anonymously share their salaries online and get insights from others doing the same. However, there are diverse views on when it comes to pay transparency for an organization. 

Merits of pay transparency

Those who advocate for pay transparency believe that it can enable large scale impact for the organization across performance management.

  • Meet employee expectations, build greater trust and augment engagement and overall experience
  • Attract the best talent by showcasing competitive compensation at market standards
  • Reduce chances of biases in salary negotiations and increments
  • Ensure fair compensation and distributive justice among employees
  • Greater employee motivation leading to better organizational outcomes
  • Fewer negotiations allowing employees to focus on adding value to their work

Demerits of pay transparency

However, there is a flip side to pay transparency too with some common pitfalls that need to be addressed proactively.

  • Risk of resentment and conflict if pay scale is not uniform and balanced
  • May lead to comparison of pay scales among peers in the organization with possible backfire
  • Requires strategic planning and meticulous implementation
  • May lead to high levels of turnover in case employees feel they are paid less than what they deserve, in comparison to others
  • Employees might have privacy concerns about their salary being shared with others

How to guide managers to have better compensation conversations?

In the last section of this article, we will focus on how managers play an integral role in compensation and performance management and the best practices to guide managers to have effective compensation conversations with their team members.

Almost 58% organizations do not train managers on pay communications 

This startling statistic clearly highlights how despite the apparent importance of compensation management, the focus on ensuring a seamless process is rather limited. However, organizations today can play a leading role in enabling their managers to have better pay communication and conversations by following these tips:

  • Create a communication toolkit with all the resources including compensation structure, criteria, performance linkage, etc. and share it with all the managers 
  • Conduct regular surveys to gauge employee pulse and data from employees on their compensation and share insights with managers to help create a conversation flow
  • Leverage tools for NLP led sentiment analysis of open ended responses and share guided 1:1 conversation templates for effective compensation conversations
  • Encourage managers to keep compensation conversations and performance reviews as separate
  • Give proper context, especially during an appraisal or raise, with both internal and external factors that led to the compensation decision
  • Communicate the value and importance of the employee to the organization, don’t rely on numbers and monetary increase do all the talking
  • Prepare for the conversation and be prepared for response, be an active listener and patiently address grievances, if any

Final Thoughts

It is quite evident that compensation and performance management are intrinsically interlinked and if leveraged well, compensation has great potential to not only drive performance, but also facilitate engagement, retention and much more.

However, to ensure the same, you need to have a very structured, transparent and fair compensation strategy and policy. Furthermore, you must, don’t forget to invest in training your managers to bridge any gaps and constantly gauge and address employee pulse — to ensure fair compensation for all.

Suggested Reading

10 tips for managers to effectively conduct performance reviews

How often should you conduct performance reviews?

How to use competency framework as a talent management strategy

Performance
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x
min read

How to Use Competency Framework for Talent Development

Talent development is critical for growing organizations which see the workforce as their biggest asset. Focus on developing their talent stack not only leads to a pleasant employee experience, it also augments the overall performance and productivity for an organization. 

While you may come across many ways to facilitate talent development, leveraging the competency framework can help you move the needle very quickly. 

Let's see how.

5 Stages in talent development

Before moving directly to how you can implement the competency framework, let’s quickly understand the 5 stages of talent development.

1. Planning

The first stage involves planning for your talent needs based on your organizational priorities and creating the position profile based on the skills, attitudes and other competencies. 

2. Identifying

Based on the position profile, you need to start attracting talent for the position. You can do so by spreading the word in the right networks, through job portal platforms, etc. The objective is to ensure that you are reaching out to the right network. You can also explore the right candidate for the position internally to considerably save hiring and training costs. 

3. Onboarding

Once you have identified the right person, the next stage of talent development is extending the offer to the person after a thorough background check as well as a competency and expectation match. It also requires creating personalized onboarding plans for the first 30-60-90 days of the candidate’s journey within the organization. Read our guide to employee onboarding to learn more about onboarding do’s and don’ts.

4. Developing

The main focus of talent development starts with providing the right development and learning opportunities to your workforce. This can involve upskilling for both technical and soft skills, leadership building or any development intervention based on the need of the role and position. 

Read: How to create employee development plan based on performance history

5. Retaining

Finally, talent development involves undertaking initiatives to retain your talent. While learning opportunities are important, facilitating engagement, wellness, motivation, etc. all contribute to employee retention. 

What is the competency framework?

If you are wondering how the competency framework aligns with talent development, you need to start by decoding what the framework actually stands for. 

Put simply, a competency framework is a set of behaviors, skills, abilities and attributes that an organization considers imperative for creating a high performance culture. 

The competency framework can be implemented at all stages of the talent development or the employee lifecycle within an organization. The idea is to ensure that certain core competencies are kept at the heart of the decision making that in any way impact the workforce. 

Importance of talent development for employee retention

Competency framework based talent development is very important for employee retention. Talent development practices when undertaken effectively have the potential to encourage team members to stay with the organization for long and at the same time become ambassadors to help attract high quality peers. 

Here are the top reasons why competency framework based talent development matters:

  • Recruit the right person for the right job
  • Provide the right learning and development opportunities
  • Be an active participant in professional growth for employees
  • Train and develop employees for professional obstacles
  • Enable employees to navigate through challenges with mentoring support
  • Enable employees to see a clear career growth path within the organization

Implementing the competency framework: Process, steps and ownership

Now that we have covered the basics of talent development and competency framework, let’s understand how leveraging the latter to advance the former can create a far reaching impact for organizations. 

Step I: Create a competency framework

The first step is to create a competency framework which involves identifying the key competencies which will be instrumental in guiding all decisions around talent development. Depending on the nature of your organization, there can be categories within the competency framework that you seek to focus on. Your competency framework should focus on behaviors, skills and attributes which are critical for performance and overall success. The following steps can help you create a competency framework for talent development:

1. Identify key competencies

  • Establish core competencies that are required to be possessed by everyone in the organization, for instance, teamwork or collaboration
  • Highlight the functional competencies that are required for specific roles and positions, for instance, situational awareness and the ability to think on one’s feet for those in business development roles
  • Identify competencies that align with your core values and are non negotiable, for instance, if your core value revolves around innovation and experimentation, a key competency will be a risk taking attitude

2. Determine behaviors and attributes

  • Define the key parameters for each identified competency i.e. what are the factors that collectively contribute to presence or absence of that competency
  • Establish metrics to judge the level of competency alignment across the workforce and identify the gaps

3. Link to organizational goals

  • Create a business statement of how the competencies can advance overarching organizational goals
  • Focus on the value add they bring along for organizational success
The responsibility of creating the competency framework is collective. It starts with involving the executive leadership to ensure alignment with the vision, people managers to ensure they are ideal for the culture you are trying to build and functional managers to ensure inclusion of right competencies for each role and position. Furthermore, involving those on the ground can be fruitful as they have the best idea of what competencies are critical and others which are good to have. 

Step II: Align the competency framework with recruitment

Once the competency framework for talent development is ready, the next step is to align it with your recruitment process to ensure precise and effective hiring. There are a few steps along the way:

  • Mention the keywords from the competency framework in your position profile or job description
  • Specifically identify 5-7 key competencies for each role important for high level of performance
  • Identify behaviors for each competency to look out for during the selection process
  • Leverage psychometric assessments customized with your competency framework to test your candidates
  • Conduct competency based interviews and assignments for a comprehensive view
  • If there is a significant competency match, identify gaps if any for competency based development later
  • Document results to align performance management for selected candidates
The onus of implementing the competency framework during selection lies primarily with the HR team and recruiters who assess the candidates with different tests and assessments. Team managers and leaders also play a role in assessing functional competencies and fit. 

Step III: Facilitate competency based performance management and development opportunities

Irrespective of whether an employee is onboarded before or after you have implemented the competency framework for recruitment, you need to ensure competency based performance management and development opportunities. 

Performance management

  • Align OKRs and goals with competencies; focus on behaviors that can help drive the key results. For instance if a key result is expand to 5 new markets, a key competency can be adaptability
  • Conduct competency based 360 feedback review; encourage your managers to review performance not just on outcomes but presence or absence of competencies that made the outcomes possible
  • Encourage competency based self reflection for employees to assess their performance based on the competency framework
  • Identify development areas based on competency needs for particular roles as well as the next career path in the trajectory
  • Reward competency based performance and outcomes
  • Measure competencies on an ongoing basis and compare results with recruitment analysis

Talent development interventions

  • Define competency gaps for each position and identify talent development interventions to bridge the same. For instance, if communication is a key competency for a sales role, learning can be oriented towards better communication skills
  • Align developmental interventions with competency based OKRs
  • Identify learning objectives for each role and position and determine how they connect with the competency framework

From a talent development perspective, the focus of the competency framework should equally be on developing employees for their next or subsequent role based on the specific competencies for the same. 

The onus of aligning performance and development with the competency framework lies with team managers as they are best able to determine the performance gaps. Furthermore, employees with their managers can identify competency gaps for better performance and focus on the right learning and development interventions to bridge the same. 

Step IV: Leverage competency framework for succession planning

Finally, the competency framework must also impact the subsequent rungs of talent development where an employee moves up the ladder from one position to the next. Based on the organizational matrix and competencies for each level, you need to identify key attributes that differentiate one level from another and ensure the same is communicated to your employees. 

You should:

  • Help you employees create a career development plan based on your competency framework to help them understand which competencies will enable them to grow
  • Make succession planning a key organizational priority and focus on talent development from that lens

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, it is quite evident that the competency framework can inform and advance every stage of talent development for fast growing organizations. If you implement such a framework across the employee lifecycle, you will significantly reduce your chances of a wrong hire and will be able to nurture a workforce that aligns on the vision, goals and overall organizational culture. 

A clear competency based talent development approach can help you achieve high levels of performance which is observable and measurable.

OKRs
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x
min read

Should Your Business Invest in OKR Software? See the ROI

While most people managers are able to create a business case for setting OKRs as well as for the adoption of an OKR software by leveraging industry benchmarks and best practices, there is a need to explicitly decode the return on investment of using an OKR tool as well.

Unless they are able to clearly illustrate how the return achieved using a goal management software is greater than the investment, it becomes difficult to sustain the adoption and get long-term leadership buy-in. 

Continue reading to strengthen your business case on the same.

What’s the ROI of Goal Management using OKRs?

Let’s quickly understand how the OKR framework is integral for an organization, especially high growth companies. Most fast growing organizations have competing priorities they need to focus on with limited resources at hand. 

Therefore, simply setting goals by adopting a top-down approach without supporting parameters can lead to confusion and incompetence. OKRs help drive away this ambiguity by linking measurable key results for each objective and facilitating a collaborative approach to achieving goals.  

Here are the top three benefits of implementing OKRs in an effective manner:

1. Better focus and more clarity

OKRs enable employees and leadership to have a very clear focus on what needs to be accomplished and what work is out of scope. The idea is to have complete clarity on — 

  • what each goal or objective means, 
  • its purpose for the overall success of the organization, and
  • what achieving it will look like. 

The last part is extremely important as it helps create a sharp focus and set priorities straight. 

93% of employees don’t really understand what their organization is trying to accomplish in order to align with their own work.

This illustrates that there is a big absence of clarity and focus amongst employees when it comes to what needs to be accomplished, which stands in the way of creating a high performance culture. Therefore, OKRs can help reduce such uncertainty and ambiguity, making it easy for the workforce to concentrate on what matters. 

2. Strategic alignment

Taking cue from the first point, the second benefit or purpose of implementing OKRs foris a need for clarity of expectations and overall team and organizational alignment. In case of fast growing organizations, there is an overlapping of roles and responsibilities and a lack of clarity on expectations from each employee. This leads to lower than average outcomes, productivity and revenue growth and data backs the same. 

97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. Whereas, companies that regularly exceeded revenue goals were 2.3X more likely to report high levels of alignment.

By ensuring organization-wide goal visibility, OKRs help teams to decode what is expected out of each team member and their respective contribution towards achievement of the shared goals. Thus, increasing alignment and collaboration. 

3. Greater engagement

Finally, setting and implementing OKRs is often a collaborative process. Employees get involved in and participate during the entire OKR process and feel engaged in the same. This greater involvement and participation leads to deeper levels of engagement and ownership of key results which drive impact. 

OKRs also enable employees to also gauge their performance and measure their progress in an effective manner. This motivates them to get more involved in achieving the common weekly, quarterly and annual goals. This higher level of engagement directly impacts key organizational parameters such as retention, productivity, profitability, etc. 

How does an OKR software make a difference? 

The business case for OKRs is very clear. However, for companies that are scaling up, with limited bandwidth and competing priorities, often setting OKRs itself gets left behind due to other business priorities.

If an organization focuses on a manual approach to the OKR system, there are several steps which require a lot of time and effort including setting and writing, implementing, tracking, grading, evaluating and modifying OKRs.

Fortunately, today there are OKR tools in the market, which can help automate all of these aspects to help simplify the OKR journey. The right goal management software can help you maximize the realization of the return on investment for your OKRs. Following are the top five ways in which an OKR software makes a measurable difference on the bottomline — 

1. It allows you to document goals

First, an OKR tool can help organizations document or record the OKRs in a way that is visible and accessible to all. There is supporting evidence to show that what gets documented has a higher chance of being achieved, as what is out of sight is often out of mind. 

Individuals are 42% more likely to achieve goals when they are physically recorded.

Therefore, the OKR tool can enable organizations to clearly define the business and team OKRs in a written manner which can be reflected on, seen again and again to create instant recall for employees. 

2. It drives accountability and alignment

OKR tools are great for creating alignment and accountability. On the alignment front, the OKR software can help achieve high levels of strategic alignment on what is the responsibility of each team member across organizations towards the key business goal achievement. 

Highly aligned companies grow revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable than their misaligned counterparts.

The dashboard of a good OKR software can help you constantly gauge the level of goal achievement, ensure that team members are aligned on different phases as well as keep a track of when their responsibility is due. It creates high levels of transparency. 

Moreover, greater alignment leads to high levels of accountability. Generally, since there is a lack of alignment on responsibilities, there is an accompanying lack of ownership and accountability, and most employees shirk away from taking accountability. 

84% of the workforce describes itself as “trying but failing” or “avoiding” accountability, even when employees know what to fix.

A goal management software like SuperBeings allows you to integrate OKRs with regular meetings and check-ins to keep track of progress. Thus, driving a culture of accountability.

3. It enables real-time OKR progress and goal tracking

It is very common for companies to set OKRs and then evaluate them only at the end of the quarter/year. There is a lack of mid-term tracking which makes it difficult to gauge whether the progress is aligned with the key results or not. 

40% of people that write down goals don’t check whether they’ve achieved them. Moreover, only 5.9% of companies communicate goals daily. 

An OKR software can help you address this concern by facilitating day-to-day OKR progress tracking. A daily dashboard and history of 1:1 and team check-ins on OKRs, can help organizations track developments over time. 

ROI of OKR software
SuperBeings OKR dashboard helps you get a quick overview on all primary goals

It can also help identify and resolve any performance issues that stand in the way of goal achievement preemptively. At the same time, even if organizations are tracking and monitoring OKR progress, doing so with a manual process is inefficient. An OKR tool can automate most of these processes to enable HR and people managers to spend more time on driving results. 

4. An effective software offers OKR training for success

Another major concern that organizations face when it comes to OKRs is being prepared and ready for the same. Many line managers and others struggle with writing effective OKRs. Many organizations believe setting OKRs once is enough. However, that is far from the truth. 

Research says, companies that set performance goals quarterly can generate 31% more returns than those reassessing annually.

Using an OKR software can help eliminate all these challenges. 

  • First, the right tool will offer OKR coaching and onboarding support to train managers to write OKRs which are effective and result oriented.
  • Second, it can help reflect on OKRs at regular intervals to realign on them and adjust according to changing market conditions. 
  • Third, the OKR tool can help managers have meaningful 1:1 conversations with team members to link OKR with performance and facilitate high levels of goal achievement. This is a direct return on investment which can create value across the organizational verticals.  

5. It facilitates greater collaboration

Finally, an OKR software can promote high levels of collaboration for goal achievement. For many organizations, the inability to collaborate leads to low levels of results, diminishing the ROI for OKRs.

86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.

Using a good OKR software makes collaboration seamless by aligning cross-functional projects and tracking cumulative progress. Invariably, an increase in degree of collaboration is a direct ROI of an OKR tool which can create far reaching impact.

How to calculate the ROI of an OKR software?

In this final section of the article, we will talk about the key parameters that can help you gauge the ROI of an OKR software. While the above mentioned are primary impact areas, most of them have a qualitative aspect to them. 

Gauging the ROI requires backing of data points from employee experience and business results, which the following parameters can help explain.

1. Level of transparency

Organizations should start by gauging whether or not transparency and alignment on goals has increased. This can be measured using employee pulse surveys to understand their opinion on how well they have visibility of goals and clarity on what they need to work towards. Therefore, the first ROI parameter for an OKR software is to identify the increase in level of transparency to ensure everyone is working in the same direction and there are no gaps or overlap in efforts. 

2. Degree and time period of goal achievement

The main purpose of an OKR tool is to facilitate the effective and efficient achievement of the goals set by an organization. Thus, the next parameter to measure ROI should revolve around the degree and time period of goal achievement. 

You can start by comparing the degree of goal achievement by leveraging OKR grading to see if there is a significant improvement in percentage terms as compared to pre-OKR tool period. Second, it is important to gauge whether or not the goals/key results have been achieved in a shorter period of time or not. Since the OKR platform facilitates better alignment, collaboration, tracking, etc., it can help organizations achieve or realize the goals faster. 

3. Reduced administrative overheads

Third, there are several administrative overheads that accompany the setting and implementation of goals/OKRs. These include tracking, grading, etc. for managers and providing inputs on the part of employees. The ROI of an OKR software can be gauged by mapping whether or not these overheads come down. 

  • For the managers, ROI can be calculated in terms of time saved which can be invested in other value add tasks. 
  • For employees, the ROI comes in the form of reduced time and effort spent in juggling between platforms to work on goals and projects. The right tool will provide organizations with integrations across top productivity tools like Slack, Jira, etc. which reduce administrative overheads for all organizational stakeholders. 

4. Increased revenue

The next parameter for ROI calculation is to measure the change or increase in revenue after the adoption of an OKR software. Since an OKR tool seeks to enable organizations to achieve their goals faster, cost effectively and to a greater extent, there should be an increase in the revenue realized. 

According to Larry Page, co-founder, Google claims that “OKRs have helped lead us to 10X growth, many times over.” 

5. Better employee experience

Finally, gauging the value of employee parameters like retention/turnover, productivity, engagement, etc, can cumulatively be leveraged to capture the ROI of an OKR tool. There are several ways to gauge these workforce parameters, along with factors like eNPS, etc. which have a direct business impact. Calculating them can help measure the ROI of the OKR tool for an organization. 

Final Thoughts

It is evident that adoption of an intelligent OKR software is not only good to have, but integral for organizational success. Using the right tool has a direct business impact which can be measured in numbers using the ROI parameters mentioned in this article. 

There are both qualitative and quantitative aspects to measuring the ROI and a balanced approach to both can empower organizations to align individual performance with business goals.

If you are considering implementing the right OKR software in your business, try out SuperBeings free 21 day trial. Book today. (No credit card or commitment required)

Suggested Reading

How to find the best OKR tool

Master OKRs in 10 days: Free OKR email course

References

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2019/10/06/why-accountability-is-vital-to-your-company/?sh=4297f3cb6580

https://www.salesforce.com/in/work/?sfdc-redirect=219

https://www.minsilo.com/resources/strategic-alignment/why-is-alignment-important

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/13/self-made-millionaire-how-to-increase-your-odds-of-success-by-42-percent-marie-forleo.html#:~:text=The%20results%20were%20clear%3A%20Participants,down%20on%20a%20daily%20basis

https://lsaglobal.com/insights/proprietary-methodology/lsa-3x-organizational-alignment-model/#:~:text=Based%20upon%20research%20of%20410,Effectively%20leading%208.71%2Dto%2D1

http://www.cedma-europe.org/newsletter%20articles/Clomedia/Want%20Results%20-%20Fix%20Accountability%20(Feb%2015).pdf

https://www.asuresoftware.com/

https://fierceinc.com/employees-cite-lack-of-collaboration-for-workplace-failures/#:~:text=Key%20survey%20finds%20include%3A,will%20impact%20bottom%20line%20results.

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