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How to use Qualtrics employee experience tool to gather feedback

SAP Qualtrics is meant to be a powerful employee experience tool. Discover its features, feedback software and which products are currently available.

SAP Qualtrics can help organizations measure how well employee experience initiatives are working, which, in turn, can point to actionable insights.

Creating a positive employee experience has a number of benefits, from improving productivity to attracting top talent, but it's not easy. Everything from a company's culture to benefits to how employees are treated help -- or hurt. But it's impossible to fix what's broken if you don't know it's broken.

How SAP Qualtrics works

SAP Qualtrics' employee experience tool combines and presents trending data and enables HR to make informed decisions about its employee experience strategy. A key feature in Qualtrics is its merging of operational data, or O data, with the experience data, or X data. The O data -- for example, employee pay and performance reviews -- comes from an HR system such as SAP SuccessFactors or SAP ERP HCM. The X data comes from Qualtrics. In simple terms, O data is based off what has happened, while X data is information about why it happened.

HR teams can gather this data through various feedback channels and methods, such as Qualtrics surveys, and visualize the data through the range of analytics provided in the system. The methodology for an employee experience strategy should look something like the following:

  • Initial strategy setting: Set goals, define questions and design surveys.
  • Gather: Conduct surveys.
  • Understand: Analyze the data -- combined with the operational data -- to understand the outputs and trends.
  • Action: Take action based on the insights.
  • Evolve: Optimize a strategy by continuing to listen, understand and act.

To take these steps, the SAP Qualtrics suite provides three products:

  1. SAP Qualtrics Employee Engagement, which enables creation of surveys and analytical reporting of collected feedback.
  2. SAP Qualtrics Employee Lifecycle, which provides HR with the capabilities to collect employee feedback throughout the employee lifecycle.
  3. SAP Qualtrics Employee Benefits Optimizer, which gives HR the ability to use employee feedback to design and optimize benefits and benefits packages for employees.

Qualtrics has a number of different use cases throughout the employee lifecycle for gathering feedback. Some of these use cases include hiring, turnover reduction, career development, and onboarding and offboarding.

Using Qualtrics surveys to glean data

Once HR teams have formulated their use cases, it's time to go ahead with surveys. Feedback programs give companies the X data that combines with O data to gather valuable employee experience insights. The best way to understand the experience of employees is to ask them. Typically, the most common type of feedback program is a survey.

Build the survey. There are a number of survey options in Qualtrics, such as annual engagement surveys, quarterly pulse surveys and surveys for a particular point in the employee lifecycle -- for example, as part of onboarding or training. Business and HR leaders should formulate questions that will measure employee experience sentiment.

SAP Qualtrics' employee experience tool combines and presents trending data and enables HR to make informed decisions about its employee experience strategy.

Qualtrics' survey builder enables HR to configure all aspects of a survey, including the questions, visual design and theming, usability, workflow and options related to skipping or hiding questions. The ExpertReview feature gives an overall rating of the survey design, including aspects such as accessibility, minimal use of text boxes and whether it works on mobile devices.

To help HR teams create and launch feedback programs without spending significant time or cost, Qualtrics designed XM Solutions, a set of tools that includes prebuilt questions. XM Solutions also provides results from the automated data analysis on one dashboard. Qualtrics has XM Solutions for Employee Engagement, Employee Onboarding, Exit Insights and more.

Share the survey. Once stakeholders define the survey participants for a given survey, they can email the personalized link to complete the survey, or they can provide an anonymous link. For lifecycle surveys, companies can set parameters that trigger the link automatically when employees meet a certain threshold, such as an annual milestone.

Qualtrics provides the possibility to have a permanently available feedback form for employees to leave comments whenever they like. Qualtrics is also fully mobile-enabled, so employees can take surveys on the go. Executives and managers can also view analytics on mobile.

Protect the users. Qualtrics offers anonymity capabilities used to safeguard employees' identities so that companies never reveal an individual's identity. When creating or importing employee data, it is important to ensure that there is a balance between providing enough useful data for analyzing responses without compromising the privacy of individuals.

Analyzing the data

Once teams have collected the X data, they can combine it with the O data. This includes employee and organizational information, such as job history, compensation increases and performance ratings, just to start. HR can then use this data to get actionable insights and implement changes to the aspects of their business that impact the employee experience.

As an employee experience tool, Qualtrics provides a few proprietary analytics platforms.

Stats iQ gives power users and users newer to analytics a set of tools to analyze data, identify trends and understand what the combined X data and O data is showing. For example, a trend might show that more tenured workers don't feel as valued as younger or newer workers, which could be a concern for succession planning or making long-term strategic decisions with those employees that have the most experience. Stats iQ provides different bivariate statistical analyses and multiple different regression statistical analyses. The tool can also import data from outside of Qualtrics, if required.

Text iQ focuses on analyzing unstructured, free text feedback. Text iQ can ensure that these free text responses are no longer left for manual review or no review at all. Text iQ analyzes these responses not just for content, but also for sentiment. It enables HR to understand not just what employees are saying, but also whether what they're saying is positive or negative. Whereas surveys can often have predetermined answers for employees to respond to, free text provides them with the ability to give whatever response they choose.

Qualtrics can't fix deeper issues

Technology alone can't solve your employee experience problems. Simply implementing SAP Qualtrics without providing expertise in areas such as employee experience, employee engagement and organizational psychology will not necessarily help you get the best out of the platform. In that same regard, you cannot solve problems that are inherent in their root cause. For example, if a piece of software isn't integrated and requires an employee to perform the same task twice in two systems, then the implementation of Qualtrics can't fix this problem for you.

Survey fatigue is another area to watch out for. It is one thing to ask workers for their feedback periodically, but it is another to bombard them with regular surveys covering all manner of topics that don't address the real needs of employees. If you do survey your employees, then it is important to put that feedback into practice. Otherwise, you are at risk of creating a negative employee experience by being perceived as not listening to your employees and wasting their time.

It is also important to keep in mind that some employees aren't interested in completing surveys, feel their views won't be heard or are simply cautious in providing any information that may potentially be used against them or lead to them being laid off, even if such an action is not likely to happen. Other employees only tend to respond to surveys when they have a complaint to make.

In addition to these analytics capabilities, the Guided Action Planning feature provides users with recommendations, such as training courses, publications or videos. It can also go further with these suggestions, such as connecting an employee with a mentor or setting up a user with a one-on-one meeting with a direct report. This sort of capability is meant to enhance the employee experience by offering solutions to the feedback they are providing.

Qualtrics also provides a variety of dashboards and dashboard templates. HR teams can build dashboards to provide executives and managers with access to employee experience data.

SAP and Qualtrics roadmap

At the time of this writing, employee data integration between SAP SuccessFactors and Qualtrics is planned for delivery beginning in 2020. Companies will be able to collect feedback from their employees around any event in SAP SuccessFactors, either via survey or digital intercept directly in the SAP SuccessFactors interface.

Data integration for analytics and manager actions integration are planned in and beyond 2021, along with further UI integration.

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