Forsta and ENGAGE: Using employee engagement to drive strategic action and business growth
Engaging every employee
The insurer’s employee engagement program covers all 12,000 of its staff across the UK and two offshoring populations in India and South Africa. It was undertaken to support the group’s strategic evolution; having created the original revolution in the sector withthe move to telephone-based insurance, the firm now wanted to create a second, digital revolution, making insurance easier and better value for customers.
Andy Brown, CEO at Engage, explains:
“The employee engagement program represented a huge cultural and technological shift for the organization, and was considered a critical part of ensuring its services could be delivered to customers as easily as possible. The group saw that their people were the key enabler of strategic change.”
ENGAGE developed a comprehensive program, built upon the Forsta’s solution, to gather insight about current engagement levels and the potential drivers of this engagement across the organization and different employee segments. The program centered on a tailored set of questions, deployed via web based employee engagement surveys to every member of staff. These staff spanned head office, regional contact centers, remote underwriting teams, and regionally-based vehicle repair centers.
From the feedback gathered, reporting using Forsta was delivered to two key audiences. The group’s leadership team was given strategic insight and advice on how engagement could be improved with different segments ofthe employee population. This gave the team the framework needed to develop and share a set of firm-wide engagement priorities and drive accountability across the manager population. At a more local level, people managers and team leaders were also provided with engagement priority analysis reflective of their specific employee groups. Initially targeted at just the top 300 managers, within 12 months of launch, the program was providing 1,300 managers with tailored reports about their team’s engagement and how to make improvements.
individual pieces of feedback collected
in full engagement to 73% over 2 years
Broadening the scope
In 2015 and 2016, the program evolved to not only gather feedback, but also to drive action. ENGAGE and Forsta developed a bespoke platform for the insurer to encourage and capture the outputs of effective and ongoing engagement conversations between employees and their managers.
“This is a unique platform, built using thecombined technology expertise of Forsta and our ownexperience of what really drives employee engagement. Itallows managers to log their plans for team development, andfor managers-of-managers to view, track progress and sharesuccesses across all of their teams. Critically, the platform alsodemonstrates to leaders and managers the impact that makingchanges will have on the business, creating a culture ofpro-activity and accountability.Andy Brown, CEO, ENGAGE
In 2017, ENGAGE went live with the sixth wave of measurement. To date, the program has been used to gather and evaluate over 60,000 individual pieces of feedback, which has been used to directly inform critical business decisions and drive performance across the insurance group.
Driving direct action
The insurer’s employee engagement program has driven key areas of action:
- The development of a bespoke platform with Forsta, allowing for ongoing employee engagement. Managers log their plans for team development, and managers-of-managers can view, track progress and share successes across all of their teams. Access to online training is also provided, allowing managers to understand how best to use and action feedback from their teams.
- ENGAGE holds sessions with the Executive Committee after each main wave of the survey to share firm-wide results. This creates buy-in to the survey process and drives action right at the top of the firm. The ExCO always takes the first step increating a team-based action plan before asking all other teams in the business to do the same. This example of rolemodeling has been a key driver of the program’s success.
- ENGAGE has helped the insurer to connect its employee survey data to harder business metrics, such as HR performance and absence metrics, and customer service scores, to assess the ROI being obtained by improving engagement levels. Thishas reinforced the crucial role of employee engagement insupporting the organization’s overall strategy and growth.
Linking engagement to strategic priorities
The tailored and business-centric nature of the engagement program means that the key metrics tracked and reported are directly related to the group’s key strategic priorities. This includes a very tough measure of engagement that differentiates between teams that are really performing and contributing to the firm’s success and teams that need improvement.
To be considered truly engaged, employees must score positively on all six questions in the engagement model – therefore showing a high level of engagement with the firm as an employer, the firm’s current and future customers and the firm’s ambition for the future.
In addition to this, ENGAGE also tracks a measure of talent retention, looking at the engagement and loyalty levels of employees together to ensure the firm is retaining its high performers. While the program delivers a great measure of these key outcome metrics, ENGAGE’s focus with leaders and managers has always been on the critical drivers of these. To this end, the program provides key stakeholders with a range of employee experience KPIs to assess the culture, opportunities, management and leadership of the firm.
Sharing engagement results to drive action
The feedback gathered from the program is shared across the insurer’s organization in a number of ways, all of which aim to ensure individuals and teams can understand the insight obtained and take appropriate action. The leadership team receives graphical representations of strategic analysis with narrative backed up by Forsta dashboards that show trend and segmented results.
A spokesperson for the insurer says: “This information has provided a real education for our leadership team in terms of the impact of measuring engagement and taking action on specific areas for improvement. It has also provided insight into the customer experience provided by our staff, particularly in terms of how they can be empowered to engage with customers and the extent to which they are engaged with the pace of change around our growth. By sharing engagement insight at the most senior level, all departments now have ownership of employee engagement – not just the HR department.”
All team managers also receive bespoke reporting, using a hybrid of surveying and Forsta and delivered as PDFs.
Results have shown that those managers who are regularly having conversations with their team around their survey results and working together to create action plans are also those with higher levels of engagement. The spokesperson continues: “Over multiple surveys, we’ve been able to confirm this for each wave. This shows there is a direct correlation between dialogue, action and improved engagement. By sharing engagement insight at the team leader level, we’ve been able to reinforce manager accountability and also show we are actively listening to employees.”
Operations, too, get detailed information from Forsta, which shows granular, ‘sliced and diced’ engagement insight trends across not only divisions and teams, but a variety of demographic characteristics. This allows the insurer as a whole business to target and track compliance via engagement reporting, and to more clearly map business growth and development based on feedback about operational efficiencies across the business.
The measurable success of engagement
As a result of the program that Engage and Forstahave delivered, the insurer has seen an improvement in engagement levels and employee intention to stay. Over the past two years, full engagement has risen by over 60% over24 months and is now at 73%.
Providing employees with a clear understanding of their role in the business, their impact on delivering service, and their own opportunities to grow and develop has also shown a direct link to lower levels of absenteeism and sickness. This has reduced costs to the businesses, as well as increased employee performance, to the extent that the CEO has recognized the measurable impact of engagement on the bottom line.
Since its inception, the program has also driven total cultural change. It has become so embedded in the business that people ask when the next wave is coming and are actively seeking to participate. At the most senior level, the CEO of the organization cites the employee engagement program as having had a positive impact on the organization structure, culture and competitiveness.
The spokesperson concludes:
“We are incredibly proud of how well the program has embedded into the business. It’s a valued tool that has really made a difference for both leaders and colleagues. Faster reporting has meant that results are more reflective of the current mood which has allowed us to really understand our business ‘in the moment’ and put actions in place which feel timely and relevant. The action planning process ensures that everyone has visibility of results and are acting with their colleagues to improve our workplace for the better.”
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