To receive authentic employee feedback, organizations need to become better listeners.

Recently, Waggl CEO Michael Papay sat down to discuss the partnership between Waggl and Denison Consulting and the value he believes they bring to organizational culture. Speaking of the role of Denison’s culture survey in helping organizations diagnose and align around their culture goals, Michael says:

It’s just not a theoretical question set. These are questions that, when done well, and when actively managed, will fundamentally increase and drive up the performance of an organization.

Denison first joined with Waggl after recognizing the potential of the Waggl platform for applying the survey questions in a more engaging way. Waggl succeeds in this by following several important principles.

First, Waggl keeps a focus on simplicity. When a design becomes bogged down by complexity, it turns employees away. They perceive it as too hard, or not worth the effort. Second, Waggl’s crowd-sourced survey is designed to generate more authentic feedback from employees. And finally, Waggl focuses on transparency, because transparency accelerates action. When employees can see the survey results from their peers across the organization, it sparks the kinds of conversations organizations need to drive change.

However, these conversations can be effective only if organizations recognize and respond to them quickly. When organizations drag their feet in responding to employee feedback, the change process loses momentum, and employees begin to question if they’re really being heard.

How can organizations be more agile in responding to employee feedback?

Increasingly, companies are looking for ways to respond more nimbly to employee feedback. Doing so requires not only that they gather employee feedback data more frequently, but that they also digest and respond to that feedback in a timely manner.

In other words, organizations need to become better listeners. A light, accessible, easy-to-use survey won’t fix a company’s culture all on its own. This mindset can just as easily leave employees feeling disillusioned if they feel their survey responses aren’t being heard. Instead of building engagement among the workforce, individuals could grow to feel like just another data point.

Instead, Waggl is designed to create a better experience for employees when they deliver their feedback—an experience that allows them to be heard. By promoting an environment in which feedback receives an authentic response, employees can see the impact of their survey answers happening in real time.

Denison + Waggl gaining traction in the C-suite.

CEOs are catching on. The Denison Organizational Culture Survey has long been recognized as a standard-setting tool for organizational culture consultants around the world. Combined with Waggl, it brings CEOs closer to the everyday office environment, something that has become more difficult in recent years as offices have become more dispersed and CEOs more mobile.

WATCH: Michael Papay on the Denison and Waggl Partnership.

Video Transcript:

Hi there. I’m Michael Papay.

I’m the CEO and co-founder of Waggl, and I’m excited to share with you a little more insight about our relationship with Dan Denison and his group at Denison Consulting. It’s a great partnership. It marries world-class IP that’s been proven and tested around culture for decades and linked back to high-performing organizations…and I think that’s really what separates their model. It’s not just a theoretical question set; but these are questions that, when done well and actively managed, will fundamentally increase and drive up the performance of an organization.

You take that and apply it to Waggl’s methodology and platform that allows organizations to be more agile and nimble, and on the pulse of what’s happening, you’ve got something really exciting on your hands.

At Waggl, we’re really focused on promoting action; because to listen and to measure without taking action, from our perspective, is a fail and can lead to further disengagement in the workforce.

The way we do this and promote this within the platform comes across a few different ways. First, we really believe that things need to be simple. We’re not going to hear from employees if we come out with too much complexity…too many questions…too much detail related to Likert scales. Let’s keep it simple and we’ll hear from people. That’s a good first place to start.

Second, we really want to promote more deliberation and more authentic debate around the insights people are providing, and we do this by offering crowdsourcing. So, after people answer questions, they now have the benefit of reading other people’s answers and voting on which ones they like; and that brings it to life, and it creates a lot of shared energy and engagement around those actions. We have a saying at Waggl that we’re really promoting behavior change through participation in the platform—which is pretty cool and very different than a typical survey.

And lastly, we focus on transparency—because we believe that transparency accelerates action; and when it’s out there, people all have the benefit of seeing it, and they have the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation around it. And it’s that conversation around the insights that fundamentally leads to driving action.

We’re entering into some really exciting times; and right now, there is a lot of dialogue and conversation around, “How do we be more agile?” “How do we be more nimble?” “How do we be on the pulse of what’s happening in the organization?” And in order to do that, you need to be listening at a higher rate of frequency. But from our perspective, it’s not just sending out smaller, lighter, prettier surveys. It’s really about changing the game of how we listen and how we honor receiving feedback from our employees and critical stakeholders. No longer is it acceptable to just answer a few questions and hit “submit” and then that information goes off somewhere to someone and somehow, sometime it might be shared back to me. But let’s really strive to create a better experience. Because if we’re going to increase the frequency by which we’re listening, we’re going to need to provide a better experience for employees when they deliver their feedback and insight. And that’s really what the Waggl platform has to bear; and that’s the genesis of where we started our business almost four years ago.

What’s great about this partnership is really just getting started. The question set applies to the web. All framework unlocks incredible opportunities to be able to apply this across the business. So we’re directing it towards culture, and we’re feathering it into the work that’s so typically held by HR around sentiment, climate, and employee engagement.

But what’s really cool is that CEOs are grabbing hold of this question set in this framework and saying, “This is critical to my job, and I want to be able to use this platform as a modern-day version of the CEO walking around.” So, we literally have the CEOs of 10,000+ organizations who are using the questions set every six months to gauge and determine: “How are we doing on our culture across our geographically dispersed organization?” But then, we are also feathering in some questions on the off quarters around strategy…you know, “How are we positioned in the marketplace?” and “Do you have what you need from us to be successful?”

So, being able to marry the culture and strategy and elevate this platform and dialogue beyond just an HR dialogue to a leader conversation, is where we see this moving in the future.

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