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Is employee sentiment important in the workplace? The short answer is yes, very much. First, however, let’s research why organizations, people analytics, and workforce planning managers should pay attention to it
The most significant factor influencing employee attrition is the feeling that employees don’t have enough professional growth and promotion opportunities or lack sufficient recognition. As a manager, how can you lower the turnover rate?
If you really want to crack that code, take steps to understand your employees’ sentiments, i.e., what your employees think, say, and feel. This process requires data analytics. To gather and understand this data, many leading HR teams turn to employee sentiment analysis using artificial intelligence (AI) tools to analyze the true meaning of employees’ words.
What is employee sentiment analysis?
In short, sentiment analysis is an approach that involves collecting people’s opinions and feedback to capture, quantify, and measure brand perception. Employee sentiment refers to how business leaders run the organization and the attitude of employees towards it.
Employee sentiment analysis can also use natural language processing (NLP) and other AI techniques to automatically analyze employee feedback and other unstructured data to quantify and describe employees’ attitudes toward their organization.
Employee sentiment is the general mood your employee experience in the organization, based on internal and external factors measured by mood analysis.
Previously, HR managers relied on quantitative data placed in spreadsheets from payroll systems to manage the workforce. However, according to people analytics managers, this information turned out to be insufficient.
That’s where employee sentiment analysis comes into play. It allows you to analyze and interpret high-quality HR data from surveys, textual feedback, video talks (video interviews), and other content your workforce shares.
Employee sentiment in relation to continuous listening
Employee sentiment analysis is part of an overall larger employee voice strategy. It can be a key indicator of opportunities for improvement and growth at the management level and across the organization.
An employee voice strategy gives all employees the opportunity to express their views. It involves preventive measures taken by the organization to gather employees’ sentiments on many topics.
Types of content for employee sentiment analysis
While technology does a great job of collecting and analyzing data, you can also provide additional information through personal communication. After all, people can interpret sarcasm, jargon, qualified statements, and complex, ambiguous thoughts better than algorithms. Collect employee sentiment data based on:
- Text from ongoing feedback checks
- Diary notes and comments
- Feedback on entering and exiting
- Probationary period and work reviews
- Policy adherence and interaction
- Updates and comments on achieving goals
- Business feedback requests
- And more.
By identifying moods and visualizing them in real time with analytics that can be easily filtered, HR managers can gain vital information about employees and their managers, including their current perspectives.
Why is employee sentiment analysis important?
You’ve decided to start collecting data. However, it’s still unstructured information. This data comprises text, images, audio, and video. Comments or open-ended responses in a survey are also a form of unstructured text data. Organizations must transform this unstructured quantitative data into structured and qualitative data to analyze it to get information from surveys.
Try to apply algorithms for textual processing information. Once you achieve text analytics, all statistical or machine learning analyzes can extract meaningful information from employee sentiment data.
Content analytics enables organizations to access large amounts of rich data and gain insights quickly.
As the turnover rate increases, annual performance reviews and surveys don’t provide the company with enough information to understand how employees treat the organization they work in.
Employee sentiment analysis provides several essential opportunities:
- Actionable insights reveal if employees are dissatisfied with how the company addresses key issues such as productivity and customer service.
- Encouraging transparency, open communication, and taking corrective actions can convince employees that their opinions matter. This leads to transparency, better communication, and greater employee engagement.
- Providing an accurate picture of employees’ opinions. People learn about the least desirable companies to work for from past and present employees. Analyzing employee sentiment can help organizations assess whether these opinions are based on inaccurate perceptions. If an inaccurate opinion damages the company’s image, HR managers can take steps to create a more favorable impression.
How to measure employee sentiment?
According to Andrew Marritt, CEO of OrganizationView, employee sentiment analysis isn’t enough to determine who is unhappy in your organization. Still, it’s good to look at general trends across a large organization. Such analysis will show what people usually talk about in your company.
There are a few basic best practices every organization should follow when creating and conducting employee sentiment surveys:
- Keep survey questions simple, clear, and relevant to your organization’s engagement goals. Think about your goals when conducting each survey. Ideally, ask the same questions over several months or years to measure progress against specific KPIs.
- Include a few open-ended questions or multiple-choice comments. It’ll give your employees an opportunity to voice them and share their opinion (provide continuous listening).
- Keep surveys anonymous so your employees can speak directly and honestly about workplace issues without fear of reprisal. You can allow respondents to identify themselves if they want a follow-up response.
- Ensure employees have a quiet, private place to answer the questions. If you have an open space office, your employees will 100% need privacy.
Examples of companies that have used employee sentiment analysis
Feedback from employees gives you data you need to solve problems you may not even be aware of while maintaining a healthy and happy work environment. In addition, getting results from all your employees means you can identify issues specific to certain roles, teams, or management groups that are endemic to your organization.
MyHRfuture shared the example of Robobank. During the COVID-19 lockdown, the company used text analytics and employee listening to gather feedback on how employees rated the organization’s response to the crisis and understand how the organization could better support employees. Within 24 hours, feedback turned into ideas and advice for crisis teams to develop new interventions.
Another example is from the British company Nottingham Health Trust. The company found it difficult to achieve high employee engagement rates during surveys. Their challenges included high workforce turnover and low employee satisfaction. Mandatory surveys provided insights but also led to survey fatigue. This feeling worsened when staff saw no action had been taken on previous surveys.
To improve this experience, Nottingham Health Trust is exploring sentiment analysis this year to understand workers’ most significant pain points better so the right actions can be taken.
Google recently used HR analytics to determine whether the tech giant really needed managers and, if so, what personality traits made them the most successful. In a multi-year research initiative called Project Oxygen, Google determined managers are vital to a team. After examining metrics related to productivity, retention, job satisfaction, and quality of management, Google found that eight specific qualities increase a manager’s chances of success. As a result, Project Oxygen changed how Google hires and empowers managers.
Employee sentiment and its analysis are of great importance for the development of your business.
- Feedback from employee surveys gives you data you need to solve problems you may not even be aware of while maintaining a healthy and happy work environment. Getting results from all your employees means you can identify issues specific to certain roles, teams, or management groups that are endemic to your organization.
- Simply surveying employee sentiment analysis isn’t enough. Provide text analytics and continuous listening to get a 360-degree view of the problem you want to solve.
- Encourage transparency and open communication. When a company takes corrective action based on employees’ opinions, it leads to transparency, better communication, and greater employee engagement.
A people analytics platform like Market Intelligence is a quick way to gather and analyze talent market data, locations, job titles, trend areas, must-have skills, and competencies. Schedule a quick call with our expert to discuss Market Intelligence’s possibilities and how it can help you solve your HR challenges.