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December 21, 2016

Feedback today is communicated continuously, available publicly, shared instantly in a variety of ways. The rise in popularity of providing feedback voluntarily has compelled organizations to do some serious self-introspection. Organizations are trying to use feedback to interpret whether employees enjoy their work, feel they are making a contribution and valued, consider themselves part of a team and are aligned to achieving the organizations vision what is the employee experiencing in the organization? How can this experience be enhanced? What does it take for the employee to perform better?

Qualitative aspects such as behavioral attributes, brand affinity, engagement levels, transparency, leadership quality, ability to manage stress, team spirit, coaching and mentoring capability, and respect for individual are becoming key parameters for providing feedback to peers and managers. Organizations are now wanting to understand the softer aspects that impact employee performance such as stress levels, colleague behaviors and team motivation. This feedback can be leveraged to enable organizations to manage day to day employee behavior, take timely and necessary actions to make changes to procedures and policies impacting employee experience and take insight based decisions.

Employees too want organizations to listen, to empathize, to enable and empower them to fulfill their day to day activities; simplify things at the workplace and be ever more transparent. Employees are not only providing feedback about their peers but also their managers, departments, leaders, and the organization itself. Increasingly, employees have also been providing feedback on the brand image, financial stability, customer perception, community development, security at work, office ambience, facilities offered (transportation, canteen, crche) and external partnerships for supplementary services (banks, mobile services, medical institutes and pharmacies, insurance, travel & hospitality, retail outlets, recruitment agencies, accountants, housing, automobiles, professional agencies) of the organization.

In this modern era, organizations can digitally reimagine the entire feedback mechanism. Mobile, analytics, and AI solutions provide transformational ways for organizations to collect, interpret, and take action on employee feedback on a real time basis, over a wide portfolio of quantitative and qualitative parameters. Analysis on text inputs, employee sentiments, social and organization networks is enabling organizations to determine key performance indicators such as attrition, productivity and development.

For example, with the advent of video interviewing and online chat-bots, organizations are able to interpret body language, voice modulation and text tone for evaluating behaviors other than the quantitative aspects mentioned in prospective employee resumes. Organizations are driving brand affinity with live streaming video conversations with the leadership team and subject matter experts. Candidates too want to provide feedback about the interview panelists and the engagement through online feedback and opinion polls.

Most of us have endorsed our colleagues, friends and networked relations for their skills on leading career sites. Organizations could similarly capture peer to peer or upward feedback informally for qualitative attribute analysis. Such surveys can be disbursed to target groups or teams or cross functional teams, the project team or an office location using mobile apps and other digital channels. The feedback collected can be analyzed using an analytics tool over a period of time and can be processed by Leadership Development or Successor Identification algorithms to provide recommendations on career development plans, promotions, transfers, learning and of course performance evaluations.

Organizations can use simple How are you today? surveys using virtual assistants (the robots in our digital devices) and emoticons. This simple feedback can help interpret employee behavior and alert managers to take timely actions. For example, based on the data collected, the manager finds out that one of the team member is frequently providing a low score in the survey. It could be because the team member is facing a personal issue, problem at work or not getting along with the team. The manager can have a one on one conversation with the team member to understand the issue and take steps to improve the team members experience and thus enhancing employee engagement.

Most of the digital devices that we use (or now wear!) are loaded with sensors. These sensors can be used to capture patterns that determine health vitality such as breathing, heart beats and pulse rates during different clock times or situations (stressed, relaxed, challenged) at work. Evaluation of such patterns can be used to articulate and recommend a personalized Employee Wellbeing plan. These patterns can further be used to determine the eligibility of employees to perform a particular role or to undertake task.

With technology, by orchestrating data inputs, analysis and intelligence, organizations are able to create an employee inclusive environment, establish a transparent and collaborative work culture, improve existing services and drive leadership development. After all, engaged employees are the key to enhanced performance and delighted customers!

Rahul Mehta is Global Presales Head for CHROMA(TM) , TCS' cloud based talent management platform. A Consultant in cloud based HR Platforms for over 8 years, Rahul has had a proven track record in pre-sales, business development, organization change management and solution design. With a professional IT experience of 16 years, Rahul has held several strategic and management roles in TCS.


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