Grace Hannah, Director of People, Communicorp UK
"At CCUK, we have developed a people led culture by giving every person who works with us a voice in the way we run our business, confidence that what they say will be heard and will make a difference to their career experience with us. We do this by measuring their engagement with a detailed survey every six months. Their feedback informs our actions which we deliver on and measure ourselves against in that six monthly cycle in order to achieve a culture which continuously improves the working life experience for everyone.
Achieving consistently high engagement scores over the course of the last three years is a fantastic result by anyone’s measure. When we asked our leadership team what would put daylight between us and our competitors when it came to our listeners, our customers and specifically with our people, they created a mission to achieve a place on the Top 100 Best Companies as one of our people goals.
This led to us taking a leap of faith to move away from our trusted people survey with Culture Amp, our engagement partner since 2016. This was a well-communicated leap of faith with big people goal in mind and the bravery to measure ourselves at just four years old against every other small company taking part in this prestigious award.
The Best Companies team did a great pitch and helped us do our homework in advance by connecting us to another small company who had taken part previously, to share on experience and help us understand the lengthy process involved. The role of project lead in setting up the survey was not to be underestimated. They weren’t kidding but we signed up and began the Best Companies journey.
The comparison and contrast to the simplistic setup and experience of Culture Amp became very apparent at this point. In three ways:
1. The cost per survey to get full access to your employees' data and comments. There is basic level data with no comments, just scores. If you’ve measured engagement before, you know this is like playing dot to dot and stopping at the outline. No colour or detail, which is what you get from specific comments which bring scores, percentages and indicators to life in a survey. I wonder if anyone only opts for the basic data and why they bother?
2. The structure of the survey and the set questions created a totally different experience for our people. The tone, language and leading nature of the questions had a negative impact instead of a positive and inclusive one. Our people are used to providing context to their scores by adding comments to support them. In this survey, there are only two opportunities to comment, right at the end. The concerns I had about this as we set up, became real as many employees came forward and expressed their disappointment at this kind of restriction.
3. With such an open opportunity to provide comments and feedback with Culture Amp previously, people felt a bit silenced and we felt a bit short-changed. The shine of any potential award was already seeming a bit dull. Restricting comments to two single free text questions made it harder as an employer to really understand how people feel and learn from this. We are used to receiving over 700 comments from a headcount of 150 across every category and question. This level of qualitative data enables us to create more specific and effective actions.
The option to comment within the BC survey is in answer to ‘What makes this a great workplace’ and ‘What would make it better?’ Really? Let's try that in review of the Best Companies engagement survey model.
What’s great about it?
The customer service and support team are diligent and helpful. Being able to measure your engagement scores against other companies is interesting (if you pay the extra cost for access to their engagement data, that is). The managerial engagement tool is easy to understand and use in a coaching conversation with managers (if you purchase this as at an extra cost). Achieving a Best Companies award by their standards feels like good recognition of our commitment to our people and culture. If you’re in it to tick the box and win an award, it might be right for you.
What isn’t so great about it?
The setup process is a huge commitment of time for the project lead. It's front heavy unless you opt for the full package including the personalised feedback session from BC team (which is a hefty additional fee).
As an engagement tool, it provides less data to understand your employees experience than other platforms that are available. An option to comment on each question and score given would provide the right level of insight you need to understand the full story.
It would be great if BC provided a realistic cost model for small companies taking part without the pyramid increase to get access to your own data.
The investment of time/ effort of survey set up + cost per survey = disappointing value for money.
At CCUK, we take our culture seriously. So, if your intention of measuring employee engagement is about giving your people a voice and a platform for specific feedback on all aspects of their employment, then this probably isn’t for you. We did a u-turn this year by returning to our normal survey with Culture Amp and it already feels like the best option for us.
If you'd like to know more about our experience using Culture Amp for employee engagement, onboarding, exit and 360 surveys, get in touch with us."