- Start by measuring employee productivity. Measuring productivity remains a valuable way to gauge employee engagement and satisfaction, but outcomes-based approaches to productivity are proving to be most effective in remote work environments.
- Dig into the indicators of employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction should be measured at a fairly granular level and through well-designed surveys that prioritize the employee experience. Employee net promoter score is a useful metric that is often overlooked by employers
- Don’t forget about the customers. Measuring and acting on customer feedback can bring a wide range of benefits to your internal operations and reveal issues that are affecting employee engagement. A robust customer experience process that eliminates cross-team silos is a must.
As organizations shifted to remote work in 2020, it was clear that seismic changes were on the horizon. Today, businesses are fine-tuning their long-term hybrid and remote work solutions, raising new challenges as the future of work is already a reality for many.
Chief among these challenges is tracking, measuring, and fostering employee engagement and satisfaction in new environments when workers are away from the office most or all of the time.
Studying workforce engagement is nothing new. Businesses have long relied on it as a way to gauge internal health, improve retention and pinpoint problem areas. But remote work has added a new layer of complexity to workforce analytics. Even as organizations use the same foundational metrics, they must be thought about in new ways.
Three types of metrics — productivity, employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction — should be top of mind when considering the bigger picture of your organization’s internal health.
Productivity is often a more complicated metric to track than it might appear at first glance. It varies greatly between business models and roles within a business. Your own organization has likely developed a unique or updated approach to measuring productivity in remote settings, but it’s always worth taking a fresh look to make sure it’s delivering maximum value to the business and employees.
Within “productivity,” work time and overtime are foundational metrics to track. Measuring work time ensures accountability, and overtime can help flag burnout, a problem that’s become more conspicuous than ever in remote settings.
You’re probably already tracking basic work time and overtime data, but are you actively using it to inform your understanding of employee satisfaction and engagement? As employees and managers work in completely different places, this connection between productivity/time metrics and satisfaction has taken on greater significance. For example:
- Employees clocking less time than expected might be disengaged, dissatisfied or going through other issues that are impacting performance and should be discussed.
- In the case of consistent overtime, employees’ desires to meet goals might be harming their relationship with the business, especially if their efforts aren’t recognized.
It’s now largely understood that outcomes-based approaches to managing productivity are more effective at driving employee satisfaction and engagement in remote settings than focusing solely on quantitative targets.
In other words, is the work getting done?
If employees find ways to get more done at a high quality and in less time, measuring their productivity and performance against a set-in-stone timesheet target will likely do little to boost job satisfaction.
In practice, these kinds of updated approaches to fostering engagement rely on open lines of communication, cultures that emphasize outcomes over simple productivity numbers alone and effective technology.
For example, complement productivity data with direct feedback and communicative relationships between remote employees and managers. Employees should be empowered and encouraged to proactively tell managers about slowdowns they’re encountering so that they can be addressed in real-time.
Additionally, your technology — like project management systems and analytics platforms — should also make it easy to collect the information you need. If your tools aren’t working for you, customize or replace them.
Employee Satisfaction Metrics
Employee satisfaction is another far-reaching and often complicated metric to track, but it’s an integral part of the broader concept of engagement. Understanding how satisfied your employees are with their jobs is essential for building stronger relationships strategically rather than with a scattershot approach.
A regular employee survey process will help accomplish this goal. Send surveys to employees weekly, monthly, or quarterly, and use dedicated software that can automate the process and crunch the numbers for you.
As you conduct surveys, remember that many factors contribute to overall employee satisfaction. The shift to remote and often more flexible work has also amplified the relative importance of some elements of job satisfaction, particularly work-life balance, mental health and schedule flexibility.
McKinsey calls out these individual factors that impact satisfaction and that have risen to the forefront:
- Job security
- Financial stability
- Work-life balance
- Fair treatment
Physical and mental health
Use your employee surveys to touch on and collect feedback about these elements separately. Otherwise, important insights could be hidden under topline numbers. For instance, if you only collect generalized satisfaction data and see poor overall satisfaction, you’ll have no clue where the specific improvements are that you could make. Alternately, great performance in one area could obfuscate poor performance that could be addressed in another.
Measuring Employee Net Promoter Scores (eNPS)
Another important metric relating to job satisfaction that we recommend actively measuring is your employee net promoter score (eNPS).
Net promoter scores are the reigning stars of customer experience analytics these days and for good reason. They tell you a lot about customer satisfaction, and strategically improving them can translate directly to improved business health and competitive advantage.
But how can the idea of net promoter scores help you drive internal improvements for employees? In some ways, how likely your employees are to recommend your business to job seekers is an ultimate measure of job satisfaction.
Ask for this feedback as part of your rolling survey program. Ideally, you will want to collect this data quarterly since this gives you enough time to implement changes that can have an impact. Ask for quantitative scores and qualitative feedback, such as “Why did you choose that score?” or “What factors do you feel contribute most to your score?”
Employee Survey Best Practices
An effective survey process will give you both quantity and quality — enough feedback and enough nuance to generate actionable, targeted next steps. To get these results, your surveys will need to be designed to both collect the right types of data and provide a quick experience for employees:
- As mentioned above, collecting both quantitative and qualitative feedback in your employee surveys will best serve your business. Dedicated software that includes sentiment analysis features will simplify the process of analyzing qualitative feedback.
- Prioritize the employee experience in your surveys. They should never be a hassle to complete. Keep them short and easy and remember that there’s no need to ask for everything all at once if you send them in a regular cadence.
- Try asking for a general satisfaction rating in each survey, plus rotating questions relating to one or two of the elements discussed above, such as eNPS and work-life balance.
Designing your surveys with these best practices in mind will help ensure that you both have enough data to work with and that your insights will be targeted. In turn, you can uncover specific practices that are helping or harming overall satisfaction, and a picture of how they’re related should begin to emerge over time. From here, dig into trends and ask for more targeted feedback as needed.
Ensure anonymity with your employee surveys to maximize participation but be sure to collect enough contextual information to make valuable connections. For instance, the employee’s department, manager, or even age/demographic information.
For example, PeopleMetrics found that 51% of employees were satisfied with their employers’ initial responses to the pandemic, but specific pain points varied by generational cohort. Having this information would give you an added level of precision when communicating and addressing issues to improve engagement.
Being able to correlate anonymized feedback trends to departments, teams, or cohorts helps you understand and act on issues quickly through asking for more feedback, intervening with managers, improving communication, and more.
Customer Satisfaction Metrics
Round out your analysis of employee engagement by focusing on customer satisfaction. Of course, how satisfied your customers are and how likely they are to recommend your company are not direct measurements of the employee experience. However, these metrics can go a long way to connect the dots between employee satisfaction and engagement, customer outcomes and business health.
How? Understanding customer satisfaction can help drive a range of both external and internal improvements for your business by:
- Revealing problem areas where poor service is having serious customer-facing negative impacts. These problems could be driven by poor individual performance or broader employee engagement issues, both of which should be addressed.
- Uncovering disconnects and issues in your workflows or between specific teams. Digging into team-specific customer feedback helps you identify process improvements that will also improve the employee experience.
- Fostering a more engaging, customer-centric, and outcome-centric culture. Flagging customer issues in real-time, giving employees what they need to take action, and reducing internal silos can all create a remote work environment that feels dynamic and engaging.
- Improving your employee recognition efforts. Direct positive feedback for employees from customers should always be recognized. Collecting and using this feedback shows employees that you pay attention and value their contributions.
To start seeing these benefits, implement a voice of customer program or revisit your current customer feedback process, especially if it hasn’t been updated since the shift to remote work. Use customer satisfaction or customer experience (CX) software to facilitate customer surveys and compile analytics.
Then, ensure that this information is actively used for internal purposes, not just broader or outward-facing business strategy, by giving the right people the data and feedback they need to implement changes or recognize employees.
Actively mapping your customer journey will give the organization a better understanding of the touchpoints between customers and employees, as well as how those touchpoints impact outcomes. Thoughtful and consistently updated journey maps provide a fuller context for understanding the connections between customer feedback and the employee experience.
The bottom line is that everyone can and should benefit from your customer satisfaction data — employees who engage directly with customers, managers, HR, leadership and more.
Editor’s Note: Additional Content
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