When organisations first start using Joyous, they are often also transitioning away from infrequent anonymous surveys. For whatever reason, participation seems to be one of two KPIs that are a major focus when using such anonymous tools.
In fact, I've been part of organisations in the past, where participation was mandatory, and all employees were hassled to participate - whether they wanted to or not.
In this respect Joyous is different. Our mission is to make life better for working people. Joyous, is built for employees first and foremost. We help many organisations first starting out with Joyous to retrain their mindset when it comes to knowing what to focus on.
Essentially the thing that matters most is not the participation across the organisation. What matters is when an employee chooses to participate, someone engages back. This is the single biggest predictor of actual regular improvements occurring for employees at work, and also incidentally drives up participation.
Before I share our specific recommendations on participation it's important that you understand the two fundamental differences about Joyous that also drive this perspective. They are:
Firstly, employees are asked about only one topic a week. It's happens every week. It's a short and focused conversation.
Secondly, once a day leaders are notified when someone in their team has participated, and are encouraged to respond.
Here are are 7 easy-to-adopt recommendations from Joyous regarding participation:
Don't force people to participate. People should respond if the topic being discussed matters to them. If it doesn't matter, then it's totally fine for them to skip it.
Ensure that someone is responding. This is the one thing that matters the most! There are many ways to go about this - regular encouragement from senior leaders, and senior leaders modelling the behaviour is our recommended approach. Some organisations have even chosen to make leader response rates a performance metric.
Leaders should always be curious, ask open questions and seek to understand how an employee feels, and why they feel the way they do. This enables leaders to build strong relationships, come from a place of knowledge, and it creates more opportunities for change.
Offer leaders and others responding regular training on Joyous, and regular coaching on how to have authentic and open conversations.
Emphasise the value of open & honest feedback on a regular basis. Encouraging people to be open and honest is something that you need to do regularly, not just once. As regular as once a month in case you're wondering. It should start from the C-suite and then trickle down from there.
And, it could go something like this: "We really want to hear your honest feedback, we wouldn't be using Joyous if we didn't. If you could place focus on providing constructive actionable feedback, then there's nothing that's off limits."
Make Joyous a part of your organisations' everyday rituals. Bring the topics and common themes raised in Joyous into real life. This could be something a team leader does in one-on-one's, in stand-ups, and in team meetings. For senior leaders this could be raising the discussion further in division and executive meetings.
Socialise outcomes with the entire organisation - even if you chose not to act. Employees will not always expect each recommendation to be acted upon. However they will value being included in knowing what they were. This is a form of inclusion that is more powerful than most. Being kept in the loop is a great motivator for participation.
Don't look to others to define what good looks like. There's a ton of reasons why this is a bad idea. Read more about them here.
If you follow our recommendations above, you will begin placing focus where it will make the greatest impact: on the conversations between leaders and their team members. In doing so, your organisation stands to enjoy as much as one improvement per employee per month. That's a return on investment that's both hard to ignore and incredibly exciting. Far more exciting than a participation rate could ever be.