Pulse Survey: Everything You Wanted To Know [A Complete Guide]

Get the whole picture about Pulse Survey. Learn from what, to how to conduct Employee Pulse Surveys with the right questions and following the best practices.


min read

Leading the culture for your organization, employee engagement must have been a key priority for you, given its impact on the bottom line and other attributes of organizational success. While you may be focusing on augmenting experience, are you paying close attention to measuring engagement score to track and monitor progress as well? Invariably, the focus on employee engagement surveys has also been on the rise. To increase the efficacy of surveys, you must ensure that they are conducted in a way that makes them most efficient, results-driven and impactful. It is here that an employee pulse survey comes into the picture.

Table of contents

What is a pulse survey?

Have you been following the conventional approach to survey largely focused on an annual methodology, collecting responses to all the questions together, once a year? If yes, then, a pulse survey is a radical transformation that you must explore. By definition, a pulse survey is short and frequent. On the one hand, they have fewer questions, preferably under 10, to ensure that stakeholders are able to answer them without any fatigue. Furthermore, you should conduct a pulse survey at regular intervals, and not wait for the year end to gauge stakeholder experience.
Types of pulse survey

A pulse survey is an overarching term and is not limited for use to any one type of target group. You may leverage pulse surveys to gauge the pulse, opinion and satisfaction of all their major stakeholders that directly have a business impact. Invariably, two main stakeholders groups that may be most relevant to you include:.

Employee pulse survey

An employee pulse survey is a short survey with crisp and very limited questions that is shared with the employees on regular intervals. The objective is to gauge employee pulse on a set of parameters over a period of time and measure the performance of engagement efforts. You can use an employee pulse survey to get data-driven insights into the overall employee experience and track whether it is transforming for the better or worse.

Customer pulse survey

A customer pulse survey plays a similar role as the one mentioned above, albeit for customers. This involves tracking customer satisfaction with crisp, to the point questions. Obviously, the frequency of customer pulse surveys may not be as high as the employee ones. You can conduct them more frequently than once a year, to also keep your customers engaged and gauge their relationship with the brand.

Why do a pulse survey?

Resistance to change on anything is natural, and, therefore, your business leaders might question the rationale behind moving to a pulse survey over the long drawn tradition of annual surveys. Undoubtedly, the annual surveys have their set of merits and benefits, providing comprehensive and deep insights into employee pulse. However, in the face of a dynamic and uncertain work environment and market conditions, you may want to experiment with a pulse survey, by the virtue of being short and frequent. Following are some of the top reasons as to why you should leverage a pulse survey.

1. Quick turnaround

Pulse surveys by definition are short and crisp. Not only are the number of questions less, they are also to the point and don’t require a lot of thought. Hence, they take less time to complete and employees are able to respond to a pulse survey much faster than a regular long annual survey which requires greater time and attention.

2. Real time insights

Since pulse surveys are conducted on a frequent basis, they are able to deliver real time insights. This can help you address any issue from the very beginning, rather than waiting for the year to end. Real time insights from an employee pulse survey can empower you to make alterations and changes in the approach to engagement as early as possible and, subsequently, gauge whether they work on not, soon.

3. Higher rate of completion

Owing to the fact that the number of questions are less, the rate of completion for a pulse survey is significantly higher. The reason is simple, it takes less time and effort and prevents survey fatigue from kicking in. When employees don’t have to answer lengthy subjective questions that run into two digits, you are likely to get more responses. 

4. Greater engagement

While the primary objective of an employee pulse survey is to measure engagement, they also gradually become a source of augmenting engagement. As contributing to these surveys becomes a part of one’s routine and employees see that their responses are actually making a difference in real time, their engagement is likely to go up and their commitment will also increase.

5. Display value

Finally, frequent surveys which define pulse surveys, showcase a commitment of the organization towards their employees. More often than not, annual surveys are considered to be a tick in the box and don’t excite employees. However, when surveys are frequent, employees see that you are making an effort to augment their experience, which is a direct display of how you value your employees.

What is the purpose of a pulse survey?

Simply choosing a pulse survey over annual ones based on the reasons why a pulse survey may not be enough for you to create a leadership buy-in. Hence, let’s delve into the purpose of a pulse survey. A very obvious answer is that an employee pulse survey will gauge the engagement quotient and help you capture different aspects of employee experience. However, that’s not all, there are several factors which contribute to the purpose of a pulse survey, including:

1. Monitor progress

The benefit of having shorter and more frequent surveys is to make sure that any challenges are addressed at an early stage itself. A pulse survey makes most sense in this case. It can enable you to gauge the problem, identify and implement a solution and again test the same to track and monitor progress. This means that you no longer have to wait for the year to end to see if your engagement practices worked or not, and then another year to fix the remaining challenges. Real time insights result in real time solutions and real time increase in employee satisfaction.

2. Directed focus

Another purpose of a pulse survey is to have directed focus. Your annual survey is likely to cover every aspect of employee experience and the focus on a few aspects of high importance diminishes. Pulse surveys, on the other hand, can help you work at a micro level and fix one employee experience parameter at a time with a directed focus. This way, you can give equal attention to each aspect of engagement to add to a positive experience.

3. Culture of feedback and communication

Employee surveys can be an effective tool for you to communicate with the employees and gather their feedback. However, when surveys are conducted only once a year, their contribution to facilitating more pronounced feedback and communication is limited. On the other hand, with pulse surveys, you can offer employees an opportunity to share feedback and communicate with the organizational leadership on a regular basis. This will invariably foster a culture of feedback, empowering people to share their voice more frequently.

4. Easier to manage and analyze

Finally, annual surveys are not just difficult to complete from an employee lens, but may be equally difficult for you to manage and analyze too. It is likely to be a tedious task for you to comprehend responses for 1000s of questions and garner insights from them to create impact. However, pulse surveys are easier to manage and analyze as the number of questions and types of responses are limited and uniform. This will help to develop the right insights and deliver impact-driven results.

How to create a pulse survey?

How to create a pulse survey is a natural question that is likely to come to your mind when you are excited about conducting pulse surveys to gauge employee engagement. The secret recipe for creating an effective pulse survey lies in ensuring a fair balance for all the important parameters that make a pulse survey successful. You cannot simply throw in random questions to employees every month without a clear strategy. This will yield no result, leading to wastage of time, effort and resources. Here are some top tips to ensure success with employee pulse surveys:

1. Determine length

Start by identifying the number of questions that should be a part of the pulse survey. Make sure they are on the lower spectrum of the number line, preferably, in a single digit. You may even have just one focused question, as we have seen that can be extremely powerful and impactful.

2. Determine frequency

Based on the number of questions, you can decide how frequently the survey should go out. Invariably, length and frequency are inversely proportional. This means that the lesser the number of questions, the more frequently it can be conducted, without survey fatigue kicking in. For instance, if an organization just has one question, it can even send surveys on a daily basis.

3. Decide cadence

Determining the frequency will also help in deciding the cadence. While an organization might decide that it will send the survey once a week, but also deciding which day of every week it should go is equally important. This invariably creates a recall value for employees, and they expect the survey on that particular day and are prepared to answer. Catching them off guard on any random day will negatively impact the completion rate.   

4. Identify parameters to measure

To create a survey, it is important to identify the parameters that need to be measured. While a long survey might capture all parameters at once, a shorter one like a pulse survey needs to be crisp and direct. Based on the frequency and length, you can pick one theme like satisfaction or wellness or some other and share questions on the same for a particular time frame. 

5. Identify mode of use

Any pulse survey you create must focus on the user experience it is able to deliver. Identify the device your employees most use to answer the survey and make sure the survey is calibrated for a positive experience. This would determine the number of words in each question, the format, etc. More often than not, employees finish surveys on their phones, and, therefore, making them mobile friendly is important. 

Top pulse survey questions for employee engagement

Creating the right pulse survey questions is the key to success. As they are conducted frequently, the questions must be crisp and easy to understand. At the same time, answering them should also be simple. While some questions can be subjective, others should be objective, ratings or very short answers. You can also experiment with a measurement scale of agreement and disagreement. Here are a few pulse survey questions that you can use as a starting point:

  1. How happy and satisfied are you at work?
  2. Do you feel confident about sharing your opinions?
  3. How often are you appreciated for your work?
  4. Do you have a clear understanding of the benefits and incentives offered?
  5. Are you satisfied with the current wellness practices?
  6. Do you have a clear understanding of your role and responsibilities?
  7. Would you recommend others to work here?
  8. How would you rate the learning and development opportunities presented to you?
  9. How much do you trust the organization’s leadership?
  10. What do you think about the work culture?
  11. How open and transparent is the communication at all levels?
  12. Do you face any challenge in communicating with your colleagues and managers?
  13. How often does your manager take interest in your career development?
  14. How often does the leadership seek your feedback?
  15. Are you satisfied with your growth in the company?
  16. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  17. Do you have access to all the resources to unlock your potential?
  18. Do you feel motivated to give in your 100%?
  19. Do you feel like a valued member of the organization?
  20. Do you think you are a perfect fit for your role?

How to conduct a pulse survey successfully: Pulse survey best practices

The success of an employee pulse survey depends not only on the questions framed and the cadence, but on the entire process from start to finish. Unless you follow a robust and comprehensive approach, leveraging the benefits of a pulse survey will be difficult and the purpose of putting in so much effort will be defeated. To make things easier, we have compiled a list of steps that can help you to conduct a pulse survey successfully:

1. Have a clear objective

The first step is to have a very clear objective of what you wish to achieve out of the survey and draft questions accordingly. Since the survey is very directed and niche, each one should have targeted questions that help give an answer to the identified objective. For instance, if the objective is to gauge wellbeing, questions on work life balance, wellness benefits, mindfulness, etc. must be included.

2. Popularize the idea in the organization

It is also very important to get a buy-in across the organization with respect to the pulse survey. On the face of it, a frequent survey might come across as an added burden for employees which they may want to shirk away from. Create awareness about the benefits of the same and how it will in fact reduce the fatigue that sets in when employees have to fill those lengthy annual surveys. Across all levels of the organizations, indicate the rationale and create an acceptance for pulse surveys.

3. Roll out the survey

Once the survey is ready and so is the workforce, roll out the survey. However, especially for the first few times, only sending an email may not be enough. You must encourage your managers to personally communicate the same to their teams and having a small company wide announcement can also be explored. Additionally, send a couple of follow-ups and reminders to get employees in the habit of filling frequent surveys.

4. Remove obstacles

A pulse survey can come with a few obstacles that you should remove beforehand. For instance, managers should encourage their team members to set aside some time for the survey, based on the frequency. This would allow them to focus just on the survey and increase its effectiveness. Similarly, making it calibrated for different devices as well as making it user friendly can remove any experience obstacles.

5. Analyze the responses

Conducting a pulse survey doesn’t end with collecting responses. You must analyze the results and gauge where the performance has been decent and where there is scope for improvement. If many of the team members report poor recognition, it reflects that you need to step up the appreciation efforts to augment motivation. The idea is to study the responses to get actionable insights which can be implemented. Additionally, a plan of action must be created to bridge the identified gaps.

6. Share the results

Being transparent is key to the success of an employee pulse survey. Therefore, you must share the results of the same with all team members. If you feel that sharing results might highlight your weakness, think again. Your employees are already aware of the same and talking about it openly will only lead to improvements. But, you must support the results with a potential course of action to address the challenges and open it for discussion. The idea is to not only understand the problems of employees, but also hear from them on how they would like them to be solved. Having a democratic approach can be beneficial here.

7. Take action

Invariably, when a plan of action is ready, there is no point delaying it. You should go ahead and take action. You might need to invest in new programs or resources, offering greater training and learning opportunities, etc. To ensure that employees’ confidence in pulse surveys and organization’s leadership doesn’t decline, implementing the decided action steps is important.

8. Monitor and alter

Finally, it is important to track and monitor progress based on the action taken. For instance, if you have invested in some tool to augment communication, it is important to again gauge the employee pulse on communication to check whether the needle has moved or not. The idea is to understand the effectiveness of any new practice and make alterations to the approach to achieve the initial goal.

Marching towards effective pulse surveys with SuperBeings

Sustaining pulse surveys overtime can be a tedious task for organizations internally. Fortunately,  a partner like SuperBeings can address all your challenges. It offers a customized solution for pulse surveys with one question a day. It can help you capture maximum responses, offers real time data driven insights to managers, aligned to industry benchmarks and helps track performance over different time periods to gauge progress and achieve maximum effectiveness. The bottom line is that the more frequently you measure engagement, the faster your organization will grow, contributing to an inclusive, positive and forward looking employee experience. 

Suggested reading:

Custom Pulse Surveys to Enhance Employee Experience

How to Choose the Best Employee Pulse Survey Tool in 2022

Like what you read? Now see it in action in your team, book a free demo with our experts today!

Garima Shukla

Marketing, SuperBeings

Hello world! I am Garima and I research and write on everything we are doing to make the world of work a better place at SuperBeings

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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

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.

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)

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