Employee Success Survey: How do "Rock Star" Organizations Foster Employee Success?

A recent study highlighted by the Harvard Business Review showed that “Companies who invest in employee experience are 4 times more profitable than those that don’t.” But what are the factors that differentiate the companies that focus on employee success and employee experience, and those that don’t? Often, it appears, a number of things.

Beginning in May 2017, we surveyed 130 organizations and asked them how their organization communicates, finds and supports talent, and drives employee success. In this Employee Success Survey, we set out to define the factors that show a focus on employee experience. Seven key questions in the survey relate specifically to core elements shown to drive employee and organizational success. These are the elements that make up the Structural Employee Success Quotient (ESQ). We expect to learn and optimize this score over time, with your input, and as we continue to gather information from successful organizations around the country.

Our survey was made up of 18 total questions, with 7 of them used to calculate the ESQ and other questions including free form responses and company and respondent demographics.

ESQ Responses and Scoring Methodology:

The Employee Success Quotient consists of the following seven questions and scoring logic.

  1. How Well Does your Organization communicate? (Scale 1- 5): ESQ impact: +25.
    Average rating was 3.04 on a 5-point scale, so most respondents believe their organization has lots of room to improve internal communications.
  2. What tools are used for internal communication? (Multi-select) ESQ impact: +31.
    The big winner here was email.
    95% reported using email as the primary channel for their internal/corporate communications, while 57% reported town hall meetings, and just 36% reported using Slack.
  3. How well does your organization capitalize on the unique skills and capabilities of its employees? (Scale 1-5): ESQ impact: +25. This consistently was identified as a challenge area for respondents. The average rating was 2.96 on a 5-point scale, so capitalizing on internal talent potential is a challenge for most organizations surveyed.
  4. What approaches / tools are used to expose employees skills and connect them to opportunities and teams where skills can be used best? (mark all that apply). ESQ impact: +7.  Nearly all respondents (94%) rely on word-of-mouth to find and identify skills. 23% report using an internal resume database, and smaller percentages try to rely on their HRIS tools or Slack to find employee skills.
  5. Does your company make decisions around hiring, key teams, and promotions using data, manager judgement, or both? ESQ for use of data: +5.  Only 7% of respondents say they use a ‘very data-driven approach’ to drive hiring and promotions. However, almost 90% say they use data or a combinations of data and manager judgement to make personnel decisions.
  6. How easy is it to find out who reports to whom, what a team member's job is, and what skills they have to offer? (Scale 1-5): ESQ impact: +25.  Average rating was 3.08 on a 5 point scale for ability to find out who reports to whom, what a team member's job is, and what skills they have to offer.
  7. How would you describe your experience connecting with team members?
    ESQ impact: +15.   14% said they struggle to find the internal knowledge and help they need, while only 28% said they can easily find who has the skills and knowledge needed.

ESQ Response Distribution

What are the factors that differentiate the companies that focus on employee experience? And how well are organizations driving employee success?

We calculated an ESQ score for each respondent, then grouped the scores into four categories. Each category is based on how the respondent rated their organization’s habits, policies, and tools. The relative ESQ score then shows how an organization appears to be relative to internal habits, policies, procedures and attitudes that drive employee experience and success. For the 130 individuals surveyed, we showed a range of ESQ scores from 25 to 115. The highest possible score is 133, and the average was an ESQ of 67. Below is our ESQ distribution for all the companies in our survey, ranging from beginners to employee success rock stars. 

Beginning (scores 20-50):

20% of responses fell into this category. Beginning organizations report that their organizations are not very evolved yet relative to company communications, tools to support connections, and the ability to locate talent and capitalize on the unique skill set of their team.

Growing (scores 51-80):

Organizations with ESQ scores in this range, are within the average range for all organizations. 54% of responses fell into this ESQ range, the largest segment. Some show movement and evolution in how they communicate, track talent, and support employee success. Also, they’re beginning to use electronic tools to support a connected, healthy organizational culture.

Succeeding (scores 81-100):

These organizations are already doing a lot right when it comes to developing culture and fostering employee success, including company communications and the evolution of and number of tools they use to communicate and locate skills in their organizations. Some still struggle with internal clarity of roles, silos across the org chart, and how to find the people they need at the right time. 23% of companies fell in this range.

Rock star (scores 101+):

Just 4 respondents—3% of companies—fell into this category. What can I say, these organizations are very evolved relative to communication, tools and connections. Rock stars organizations are the most digitally transformed when it comes to internal communications, and generally use multiple online and offline methods of communication. Also, they have begun to break down silos by using digital tools to get feedback, find internal talents, and match employees with opportunities. This is a great platform from which to continue improving. Organizations at this level should continue to look for new ways to help employees develop internal connections, promote their skills and reach their potential.

Results Summary

ESQ Score Range     Success Category     Responses     % of Total

20 - 50                                Beginning                        26                     20%

51-80                                   Growing                           70                     54%

81-100                                 Succeeding                      30                     23%

101+                                     Rock star                            4                        3%

Avg. = 67
Total Possible = 133

There were a wide variety and types of organizations that took the survey.

  • Organization Size: 50% of respondents were from organizations larger than 100 employees, and 18% were from organizations of over 5,000
  • Role/Level: 44% of respondents were Director, VP or Above
  • Industry: 55% came from the technology space, and 21% came from a consulting background
  • Department: Sales/Marketing made up 49% of respondents, 15% came from the Operations and just 3% from Human Resources
  • Goals: 53% of respondents say they are focused on having employees help them get more revenue (eg - share information with networks, etc.) and 52% want to drive employee engagement.
  • Ranking investment in HR strategies: Of 8 priorities for potential investment, respondents ranked these 3 most important: Better team alignment on growth, Employee Engagement, and Hiring

The Full Employee Success Survey Results:

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