Most of the companies across the globe have to deal with the enigma of employee engagement. Although they would love to have engaged employees with better productivity, higher commitment, and longer retention, the results that they obtain from their employee engagement activities are not very encouraging. One of the major reasons for this is that most companies’ employee engagement tools and processes do not give the right picture about what is going inside the mind of their employees.
According to a survey by Deloitte, organizations in North America alone spend more than $ 1 billion each year without getting fair results about employee engagement. With time, HR professionals have started to use modern tools and techniques to measure and drive employee engagement.
One such technique is Sentiment Analysis.
What is sentiment analysis?
Sentiment analysis is a technique that assists in evaluating the emotional tone of a person as denoted by a series of words. It is carried out to comprehend opinions, emotions, and attitudes expressed on online platforms in general and social media platforms in particular. Companies like Glassdoor have been quite effective when it comes to tracking and measuring meaningful insights about the feelings of employees with the help of mood tracking, monitoring of different communication channels encompassing social media updates, emails, social network analysis, etc. With the help of these techniques, it is possible for companies to get meaningful insights into what their employees feel about their employer.
How to conduct sentiment analysis of your employees?
It is a tedious task to conduct sentiment analysis, but the benefits of a comprehensive look at the reviews can make you know what your employees feel about you. The process starts with taking a sample of 50 to 100 reviews so that you can get a fair data set to mine the sentiments of your employees. You can source the reviews/comments from as many different sites as you want. Export the rcomments to a spreadsheet and a call to add a source for reference. Evaluate each review and give them a positive, negative or neutral rating by highlighting specific phrases. Give a specific score for each positive, negative and neutral review. Create a list of all highlighted phrases. Once you are done with the process, calculate the positive, negative and neutral rating received.
However, if you want to avoid the manual task explained above and want to get results faster and work with a much larger set of data, then you can use one of the many social media monitoring or sentiment analysis tools. Some of these tools include Hootsuite Insights, Twitter Advanced Search, Brandwatch, Lexalytics, and Rapidminer.
How does sentiment analysis improve employee engagement?
Sentiment analysis gives you an idea of how your employees really feel about you, not what they say about you in appraisal or feedback forms. What employees talk about you in their social circle tends to be more honest and accurate than any direct feedback you could get from them.
This has huge implications for improving employee engagement as seen from the points below:
1. Helps in taking corrective measures when any dissatisfaction is found
It is quite common for employees to share their opinions about the work ethics of the company where they are working either through social media or discussion forums. The problem is that they do not directly approach the management of their company to resolve their concerns. This is where sentiment analysis can help you know and evaluate your employees’ attitude towards you and take the requisite steps to change policies, in case they are dissatisfied with a particular policy with regard to performance, productivity and customer service. With the help of real-time analysis, it is possible to detect problems early on before they become big and unmanageable. This can also include work environment and management practices. When employees see that their concerns are being taken care of, they become more communicative resulting in better engagement in future.
2. Encourages transparency and open communication
In every organization, open and honest communication is the basic requirement for maintaining the integrity and inculcating trustworthiness amongst employees. Sentiment analysis does one part of the job by understanding the opinions of the employees regarding the policies of the organization. But when an organization takes corrective measures in ensuring that their opinions matter it results in transparency and open communication. This can go a long way in improving employee engagement.
3. Gives correct picture about the employee opinions
It is through the current and former employees that people hear about the least desirable companies to work for. With the help of sentiment analysis, you can get a fair idea about the opinions voiced by your employees and also evaluate whether they are based on false perceptions. If an inaccurate opinion is harming the organization’s image, the HR personnel can take corrective measures to correct the wrong impressions in the minds of employees. If the correct information can be published on the right source with the help of the effective feedback from sentiment analysis, it can allow the organization to dismantle the potential misconceptions. It can, thus, take you closer to the employees; and understand their opinions thereby ensuring better employee engagement.
For example; Starbucks carried out sentiment analysis to get the correct picture about the opinions of their employees through employer rating site, Glassdoor. The findings were that employees found pride in working for the company. While Starbucks provides other relevant employee benefits too, including full health benefits for part-time employees and tuition reimbursement for Arizona State University’s online courses, one strong theme found in more than 5000 reviews of Glassdoor was the deep emotional connection felt by employees towards the company’s mission to “inspire and nurture the human spirit-one person one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
Sentiment analysis is slowly, but gradually receiving its due by the recruiting industry. Today, HR and recruiting firms have started to adopt sentiment analysis tools to gather feedback from employees in their natural social habitat rather than restricting themselves to feedback forms. Employee review sites like Glassdoor and CareerBliss have started a new trend that makes an organization to reflect on their organizational culture and take necessary steps to ensure that their employees are totally engaged.
Remember, an organization that has disengaged employees working for them will never grow and last for long. Hence, for the long-term benefit of the organizations, it is important to engage with employees and ensure their satisfaction.
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