What’s New in Employee Engagement?
When Fond started in 2012, it offered a corporate discount program to help companies enhance employee engagement. Now, it provides a robust lineup of products that its co-founder said were developed in response to the evolving expectations workers have—which, he says, are continuing to change rapidly.
The San Francisco-based company provides solutions in three areas: rewards, perks and research. In the latter category, Fond’s EngagementIQ is a free tool designed to set companies down the path toward better employee engagement.
Taro Fukuyama, Fond co-founder and CEO, says companies are increasingly moving toward “pulse surveys” that provide quick and frequent feedback about employee attitudes—and can inform the approach a company should take toward engaging with employees.
“If you wait for annual statistics, it’s often too late to fix the issues you have,” Fukuyama says. “Many companies have been using an annual survey that might be 40 pages, with five people consulting, who then spend two months creating it, two months collecting data, two months analyzing. By that time, you may have a different employee audience.”
Fukuyama says recent workplace stats show that the average employee starts looking for a new job roughly every two years, and even one-and-a-half years in some American cities—numbers that he says motivated him to co-found Fond.
“No one is hoping to leave their company after that amount of time, but that’s the reality because only 30 percent of employees are engaged with their company,” he says.
Like the benefits of immediate survey data, Fuakuyama says, Fond has found that employee engagement can grow when companies take more real-time action. The company’s recognition products are designed to allow managers to highlight top performers, celebrate milestones and applaud those who demonstrate company values, among other options.
The more frequent and more personalized the recognition, Fukuyama says, the better. That approach is especially relevant for millennials in the workplace.
“Millennials are used to popping open Instagram, snapping a picture and seeing it get likes five seconds later,” he says. “That’s what they expect in the workplace. If they do a good job, they want to be recognized for it in the next few hours; you can’t wait for an annual or quarterly review to give them praise.”
In the same vein, Fond is developing a new “social feed” that can track and share recognition in an effort to promote transparency and teamwork.
The shared platform, Fukuyama adds, can also give HR important data for coaching leaders.
“HR leaders can see who is and isn’t being recognized or doing the recognizing,” he says. “They can say to a leader, ‘Hey, I see you haven’t recognized anyone in three months. Is there anything going on that we can do to help you be a better leader in this company?’ ”
In keeping with the trend toward remote and contingent work, Fukuyama says, the company will make sure the social feed is able to be integrated into a variety of systems so workers can see the data, no matter where they’re working from.
HR leaders seeking to make the case to the C-suite about the need for more formalized employee-engagement tools should, among other reasons, highlight the role employee satisfaction can play in retention and recruitment.
“The employee experience is not private information anymore,” he says, citing the growth of employer-review sites like Glassdoor. “If a candidate is looking at two tech companies of the same size and with the same revenue, and one has 4.5 stars and the other has 2.5 stars, it’s obvious which one they’ll apply to first. What’s happening in your workforce isn’t something you can hide anymore.”