Continuous Dialogue: How Can It Drive Business Performance?

It is crucial for businesses to understand their top engagement focus areas, identify the best interventions, and elevate the employee experience around these.

Continuous Dialogue: How Can It Drive Business Performance?

23 Dec 2018 by  Khalid Youssef

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, observed: “Employee satisfaction is key to customer satisfaction. We are giving the managers of these [government organizations] six months to change the working environment. The government’s most valuable capital is its employees.”
There could have been no more compelling a statement than that of HH Sheikh Mohammed, which underlines the importance of not only building a highly motivating work environment, but also of driving employee engagement as a tool for increased service delivery and customer satisfaction.
His Highness’s observation is equally relevant for the private sector. With efficiency, productivity and customer service—all of which contribute to profitability and long-term value generation—as the backbone of private business, it is important to focus on employee engagement as a key driver of business growth in all sectors.

What do engaged employees bring to business?

Engaged employees have been proven to create positive impact on the bottom line. A study by Aon concluded that a five-point increase in employee engagement results in a three-point incremental growth in revenue; and that companies with top quartile engagement experience achieve a four-point increase in incremental operating margin.
Therefore, it is crucial for businesses to understand their top engagement focus areas, identify the best interventions, and elevate the employee experience around these. The decisive factor is the need for Continuous Dialogue—the process of gathering feedback more broadly and at much more frequent intervals, across every point of the employee lifecycle. Continuous dialogue with employees, stakeholders and external analysts, as well as keeping a mindful eye on emerging trends, will enable organizations to act on what really matters and subsequently, improve business performance, turnover, growth, and innovation.

But, are companies ready to take action?

 Aon’s #getintothedialogue study on the readiness and appetite of organizations to move towards a more continuous dialogue showed that, globally, only one-third of the organizations can be considered ready for Continuous Dialogue. However, even ‘readiness’ itself is not the key; management must be driven to take action. Unfortunately, less than half the respondents surveyed reported any leadership support to the idea of continuous dialogue. There are no clear strategy owners when it comes to launching employee surveys, and in two-thirds of businesses, clarity on taking it forward is lacking.
Significantly, not even one-third feel that their HR department has the capability or capacity to pull it off.

So, what now?

 Our annual engagement survey also revealed that 45% of participating organizations worldwide are either conducting employee measurement more than once a year, or considering doing so. This is a key finding, as it demonstrates a larger proportion of organizations gathering data and insights throughout the year and delivering action as close as possible to the key change events within the organization.
This can only be achieved through continuous dialogue between management and employees and empowers the former to act proactively on these insights to make precise, swift, impactful interventions, and as a result, positively influence employee engagement. After all, at the heart of organizational change are four mission-critical aspects to being future-ready: Listen, Act, Review, Improve.
The writing on the wall is clear: Organizations must focus on placing increased emphasis on the value to be derived from higher levels of employee feedback solicitation, so as to implement the right transformational changes at the right time—and achieve higher employee productivity, lower turnover rates, improved profitability, and superior customer satisfaction.
And the most powerful tool to do this, is to dialogue continuously.

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Khalid Youssef

Khalid Youssef is an Associate Partner for Aon’s Talent, Rewards and Performance Business, leading the Employee Engagement Practice across the Middle East and Africa. Khalid's focus is on assisting organizations to identify the areas they require to develop in order to improve the employee experience.

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Khalid Youssef
Dubai, UAE