When financial technology provider FIS began its HR transformation program three years ago, it pinpointed employee engagement as a key area for change.
In particular, it wanted to try and close the gap between the way people interacted outside of work using social media and what was going on internally. As Isabel Naidoo, head of people strategy and analytics at FIS, explains:
We looked across companies and saw this really different picture: we saw slow technology and complex processes in companies. In many instances, we saw HR organizations asking people to give feedback on things, to contribute and to speak up - but people weren’t engaging.
So, we embarked on digital transformation which had three components around it: driving self-service, enabling dialogue and using data. And that formed the basis of what we’re doing.
FIS has grown rapidly both organically and through acquisition, most recently taking over e-payments giant, Worldpay, in 2019. The growth meant it needed a global answer to the people engagement question, but also a solution that was flexible enough to allow local differences and customizations across its base of 57,000 employees in 50 or so countries. Naidoo says:
Whether you’re growing organically or through acquisition, in both modes you have to have this ongoing dialogue and for us we wanted a mechanism that would enable us to listen to our employees regularly.
But rather than just listen, FIS wanted to be able to react quickly to the things employees were talking about. To do that effectively, it identified middle managers as the people who needed these tools rather than HR or senior executives. Naidoo points out:
I do think global approaches to engagement have got a role to play, but it’s really the manager who can drive that level of engagement and create that customized response. Engagement does need to be customized, because it means so many different things to different people.
Its global search led to the door of employee engagement firm, Glint. Naidoo says:
Glint is very focused at the team level which is where we want the dialogue to happen, not up in the global stratosphere.
Glint's tech replaced a homegrown tool, which although it did a pretty good job, didn’t offer the breadth of analytics FIS was looking for. At the same time, the company created a workforce planning and analytics function and partnered with Visier, a cloud-based analytics firm. Visier combines data from Glint, Workday and other HR data to provide a fuller picture of people data across the firm, says Naidoo:
For me, it’s a golden triangle of Workday, Visier and Glint, which we use to drive our digital transformation. We’re starting to design things we’re relying more and more on data analysis. So more and more we’re turning to data from different sources to design processes that are much more relevant to people.
On top of the company-wide yearly survey, the company also runs quick, local pulse surveys:
It gives feedback instantly. You can close a survey at 11.59am on a Friday and you can access the results at 12. You’ve got managers who’ve been given this self-service and as part of this philosophy we are trying to drive is that they can instantly action and engage in dialogue with their teams. And another great thing about it is it takes you straight to actions you can take based on your results.
HR projects are not always met with enthusiasm by employees, but the fact that Glint gives immediate access to results as well as practical suggestions for action means people have been happy to join in and participation rates are over 90%. According to Naidoo:
The old age of HR begging people to fill in surveys is dead and when you have a tool like Glint, which gives you immediate access to results, there’s a huge incentive for you to want to get it right - that’s been a shift we’ve seen. We didn’t actually have a problem of people signing up - people were grateful for the opportunity to be able to engage in dialogue.
When managers and leaders receive results of a survey, there are action plans linked to it which are very specific to their team, linking directly to training or learning resources. If a manager scores low on strategy, for example, then it will have ideas on how to bring strategy into their everyday conversations or suggest training.
And the findings have begun to make a difference with results showing that engaged employees tend to stay with the company. People who had been through the leadership program not only stayed with FIS longer, while employees who worked for someone who’d been through the program were twice as likely to stay with the company. Naidoo says:
We found that employees who receive regular feedback were 35% more likely to stay with FIS, so that’s a compelling business case for driving dialogue. It was that ripple effect of engagement and retention that we were starting to see and that was really a compelling way to look at whether it was worth making the investment.
Naidoo feels that the focus on managers is key to driving engagement in the company. The question now is deciding what to do next:
We would like to continue driving engagement into the hands of managers. I do think that’s the right place for it and we also need to make sure it’s what we do, rather than it being an add-on. The challenge for me is where do we go next, because there’s so much we could do.