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How big data can drive employee engagement

Sarah K. White | Jan. 19, 2016
Big data has reshaped businesses in many ways, and now it's even changing the way HR monitors employee engagement to improve both retention and customer satisfaction.

Echo Global Logistics says the service encourages employees and management to recognize the hard work they do. The company notes that this engagement has been important because the company grew quickly. To avoid any fallout from fast growth, the leaders wanted to retain the sense of community and culture within the organization.

"HighGround, which internally we refer to as Echo Engage, allows employees to recognize their colleagues for doing great work or helping them out. It also allows managers to make sure their employees do actually appreciate the work that they do by making it easy to give quick shout outs for just about anything," says Cheryl Johnson, senior vice president of talent at Echo Global Logistics.

Customer feedback drives training

However, it's not just employees who can go into the system to leave kudos and recognition. Customers also have the opportunity to leave feedback. In turn, says Johnson, that customer feedback helps drive employee training, engagement and allows leaders to find what the business is doing right and areas it might need to improve.

While engagement is great when it's about positive recognition, the software can also unveil weak spots. For companies that can pinpoint the exact cause of unhappiness within a department or office location, it's possible to save money by keeping employees from quitting just to get away from one person. That problem can be addressed on an individual level, saving time, energy and money in the long run.

Ultimately, employee engagement not only affects a company internally, it can seep out and negatively affect business outside of the organization. Sandhir points out that employee engagement is connected to customer satisfaction. If you have happy employees, you'll have happier customers as a result. And getting a watered down picture of employee satisfaction just once a year through performance reviews won't be enough to find problems before they start.

While implementing new technology like engagement software sounds great in theory, companies need to ensure employees actually adopt and use the software. Johnson says the company found success with getting employees on board with HighGround's software by making it as easy to use and accessible as possible for employees. Workers can simply install a mobile app on their phone that Johnson says is as simple as using the mobile Facebook app. It's allowed employees to quickly adopt the system and see the benefits of this type of personal reporting.

While Echo Global Logistics has seen improvements in expected areas such as engagement and establishing a cohesive company culture, the benefits have extended beyond that, says Johnson. She says that two surprising areas where they saw improvement through HighGround included visibility into "hidden talent within our organization," as well as "rich customer feedback."

 

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