Do you struggle to get valuable employee insights from across your organisation? Or do you find yourself listening to the same voices time after time? Getting good employee insights may feel like a difficult task, but there’s good news for communicators.
One of the more unusual creations by Douglas Adams in his novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was the Total Perspective Vortex – a cunning device that extrapolated the entire universe from a small piece of fairy cake. It allowed you to see the vast infinity of existence, and your place in it, from every perspective, all at the same time.
I’ve often wondered if a simple device that allowed an Internal Communications team to instantly see and understand employee insights and perspectives from across an organisation would be a useful thing. When we shape engagement strategies or campaigns, being able to quickly view your work through the eyes of others is incredibly powerful and can help you shape and guide important messages or asks so they land most effectively.
Tools for fresh employee insights
Thankfully, we’re in an age when gaining fresh employee insights is getting easier and easier. Here are a few tools I find useful:
Internal Social Media
Services such as Slack, Yammer, Teams and Workplace can provide a huge amount of information about employee experience, opinions and day-to-day reality. Regularly checking in with internal social networks can help give insight into the views of employees across your organisation.
While the annual employee survey is increasingly under challenge, regular pulse checks or other services are becoming common ways of quickly getting the views and opinions of colleagues. Want to know what employees think about an issue? A quick poll will give you valuable insight.
Town Halls and events
Any opportunity to hear the questions your employees want to ask (not just the ones you want answered!) is a great way to find out what’s on their minds. Often the Internal Communications team is busy enough organising and running the event, so make sure someone is tasked with listening to the employees as much as prepping the CEO.
Getting away from your desk
With pressing project deadlines, calls from senior stakeholders and the constant demand for content, actually getting up and walking around or visiting other sites can quickly become the thing that gets pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list.
Make it a priority to spend time in other teams, locations or at least eating lunch in a different part of the office. There’s rarely a substitute for just observing people around the business and talking to colleagues at all levels.
Whether you have an Internal Communications Champions group or you prefer to cultivate a less formal network of eyes and ears, having boots on the ground can be a valuable asset. Foster good relationships with trusted voices in other locations and teams. And it always pays to make friends with the reception team and exec or personal assistants if you want to know what people really think!
Making sense of employee insights and perspectives
There is, however, a danger in seeking many perspectives. As Douglas Adams narrates, the Total Perspective Vortex has the unfortunate side-effect of turning your brain to mush (unless you happen to be Zaphod Beeblebrox, but few of us are).
In our data-rich age, working out what’s useful versus what’s noise can be a difficult challenge. It can also be hard to identify and filter out bias or incorrect assumptions among employees. Sometimes, you need to step outside the organisation entirely and look back in with an external viewpoint. Perhaps seek advice and guidance from others to process and assess the perspectives you’ve gained to help make sense of what you’re seeing and hearing.
If you’d like help to get a sense of perspective (without frying your brain), why not get in touch and see how we can help you connect with the views of employees from across your organisation.