Sony Pictures and Modern Survey teamed up Monday in an HR Tech Conference session designed to “tell the story” of real engagement and better ways to listen to employees, as Modern Survey’s president and co-founder, Don MacPherson, described it.
Sony’s global talent analytics and insights manager, Antonio Aranda, also mapped out “the story” for the audience. Sony, he said, was like many companies before deciding to turn its engagement-surveying approach completely around by partnering with MacPherson’s company.
Although the Culver City, Calif.-based movie and entertainment conglomerate was doing things slightly differently, just based on its creative approach to doing business in the picture industry, it was still operating in old-school mode, Aranda said, similar to organizations that still today survey employees maybe once every two years by asking way too many questions and then securing and sending out data that’s bloated, fuzzy, very low in its level of insights, and so unfocused and confusing that “employees don’t even know why they’re taking it; in fact, end up feeling like the survey is a mere exercise just to prove the company surveys its employees.”
As Aranda told it in the session, Sony Pictures: From Analytics to Insights, “we knew is was absolutely imperative that we work in harmony more by listening to our employees, but with 6,500 employees across 30 locations in multiple countries, we knew launching a widespread, more ongoing listening survey would come with many challenges.”
Modern Survey was up for them, though — with its “continuous listening strategy” that includes surveys throughout the life cycle of employees, from entrance to onboarding, all the way to exit surveys.
The approach, said MacPherson, promotes trusting relationships, not just between managers and employees, but between employees and their organizations.
“Anybody telling you engagement is all about the manager is forgetting what surveys are telling us about how important employee trust in the organization is,” he said.
Together, the two partners pruned Sony’s more monolithic list of questions — which could really only be blasted out once a year at most — down to something much simpler and leaner, with about five major and much more focused areas of concern.
“We wanted shorter time, greater focus,” said Aranda.
Customizing it to Sony’s needs, the survey went after net promoter scores — as in, “Would you recommend this company to a friend? — instead of engagement scores. The two also agreed feedback from the surveys would be immediate, and communication with employees about solutions and strategies for fixing any problems or concerns that were raised would be more in-depth and robust.
Top leaders and stakeholders also needed to be on the receiving end of better communication, said Aranda, “so they knew the story of our listening survey.”
To date, engagement and retention scores have increased and Sony employees are getting the message that “they’re being listened to,” he said.