Engine Talks/July

Listen without prejudice. Why employees hold the key to successful transformation.

With ‘Freedom Day’ just around the corner marking the possibility of returning to a way of life we’ve almost become unaccustomed to over the past 16 months, it’s safe to say our perspectives have significantly changed, both within our personal lives and our working lives.

The ‘new normal’ of hybrid working

Returning to the office is top of the agenda for most organisations, but for many, things won’t bounce back to the way they were before the pandemic. Instead, there’ll be a ‘new normal’ which will likely vary from workplace to workplace. This itself represents a significant period of change for many organisations and will require adaptability and agility to ensure success. How exactly can businesses address this? To deliver a positive and sustained impact, leaders need to focus on creating the right conditions from the outset:

Alignment throughout the business. It’s about ensuring that everyone (not just senior management) who works in the organisation has a precise understanding of the destination and the route-map to a single vision; is empowered to make an active contribution; and is equipped with the tools and skills necessary to make change stick and resonate.

Clarity and conviction in terms of what is said and what is done. Leaders need to communicate early and often; they must also be rigorously consistent – as well as inspiring – in terms of their actions and behaviours.

An open culture, characterised by honesty, transparency, and forthrightness.

But how do you put your employees at the heart of your return-to-work strategy and still meet all your other obligations as an organisation? How do you have a genuine discussion with an entire company when you have a dispersed, remote workforce? And what does remote/hybrid working really look like when offices are fully open again?

With our poll revealing that only 17% of people rate their organisation’s current ability to capture employee’s opinions and ideas as very good, and three quarters of people revealing that surveys are their organisation’s channel for capturing employee’s opinions and ideas – our experts shared our innovative Digital Hives tool as an alternative way to capture employee feedback and spoke with our client, Santander, about their experience of using it to gain insight from employees to help shape their future ways of working strategy.

So, what is Digital Hives?

When involving colleagues, it is important that we realise that everyone’s cognitive thinking and language differs. What Digital Hives allow you to do, and does very well, is to use different question types and data gathering functionalities to gather a variety of perceptions from colleagues. It allows you to use an array of question formats to cater to different types of thinkers; such as drop downs and ratings, visuals including image uploads or video clips, drag and drops and open-ended creative writing, to name but a few.

Online platforms, such as Digital Hives, provide the opportunity to potentially reach more people in an interesting and engaging manner. It goes beyond a simple string of closed questions within a survey; in addition to various tasks and activities, the platform also supports discussion boards where participants can engage with each other by adding comments, liking comments, and building on each other's ideas and suggestions.

How have our clients used Digital Hives?

Including your colleagues when developing strategies, especially one that will significantly impact them, creates a culture of collaboration, a culture of listening and ensures their buy-in with the strategy right from the start. This was a challenge Engine Transformation helped Santander to overcome through their ‘Idea-thon’. We used our Digital Hives platform to engage with colleagues throughout Santander. Colleagues were invited to respond to a number of different tasks built specifically around Santander’s cultural enablers and suggest ideas for future ways of working in a collaborative manner. This generated a wealth of data which then fed into helping them shape and build their future ways of working strategy.

You can watch the full conversation below or by clicking here, including the experience of Santander’s Senior HR Manager, Theresa Winter, with using Engine’s Digital Hives platform and how it has impacted their employee listening and ways of working strategy in a way that their usual employee survey wouldn’t have been able to.

If you’d like to know more about Digital Hives, email transformation@enginegroup.com.