Annual employee engagement surveys aren’t always enough. This is how the Adelaide Football Club got a better read on its people.
How long does it take you to distribute, collate and analyse the data from your employee engagement survey? What if I told you that you could do it in 20 seconds?
Like many other organisations, the Adelaide Football Club was challenged to understand what made our people tick. We always had a feeling when something wasn’t right, and we had an inkling when we were on the right track. But we didn’t have a consistent or structured avenue to gather and share feedback.
Our leaders – like many others – were somewhat blindsided by staff’s pain points following annual engagement survey results.
We needed controlled datasets to understand where our people’s highs and lows were occurring, so we introduced a technology platform called Teamgage, which is designed to capture and report both qualitative and quantitative feedback to managers and staff in a matter of seconds.
Opening up the discussion
Through the platform, each week we ask staff to spend 20 seconds anonymously rating their satisfaction rates against a number of factors – such as energy levels, collaboration and authenticity. These are then fed back to their managers in real-time. This gives managers clear data points to bring up in weekly meetings.
It’s not a witch hunt – staff are reporting anonymously – but if we can see that collective energy levels are low, we’re able to look at why that might be. Is it a particularly busy period? Have we just launched a new product that’s causing people to work harder or longer than usual? In other words, we’re able to assess if staff sentiment is reflective of normal busy periods or if it’s out of the ordinary.
By comparing the data from busy periods, weekly, monthly and year-on-year, we’re able to plan more strategically. If we’re launching simultaneously, the new season, new promotions and membership products, we can adjust accordingly so we’re not overextending our employees.
The platform also encourages important conversations between staff. If someone has rated collaboration levels as low, and they can see that they’re not alone in this thinking, they might be more inclined to speak up during their team meetings. It’s giving a voice to employees who might not have had one before.
Since launching in March 2017 to now, staff interaction with the platform has risen from 75 to 90 per cent. I attribute this to the fact that we’ve made it part of our weekly routine. It’s on team meeting, executive and departmental agendas. We’ve embedded it in our club’s DNA.
Executive buy-in is often an issue when pitching HR tech implementation. For a lot of non-HR executives, a platform like this could easily be dismissed as an unnecessary cost. To overcome this, I suggest reframing your pitch. Instead of asking “Would you like a platform that will help to improve our communication?”, you should ask “Would you like to know, on a weekly basis, how your team is feeling about six defined metrics of our choosing?”
Bring leaders to a point where they have a thirst for the information that the system could drive for them and then go from there.
Another factor that was integral to the platform’s success is that it’s easy to use. That’s key when you’re introducing something new into your workplace. Think about platforms like Netflix, Uber and Amazon – you’re only ever a few clicks away from using the service. Keep it simple, keep it vanilla and don’t overcomplicate it, or your employees won’t engage with it.
It’s important to remember that this technology isn’t the overall solution. It exists to complement existing strategies that you have around people. For us, it invited more people in our organisation to join the conversation, and that’s invaluable.
Chris Wood FCPHR is the General Manager People,Performance and Culture of the Adelaide Football Club.
This article originally appeared in the December/January 2019 edition of HRM magazine.
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