Resources: narrative analytics 101

Organizational Narratives: A New, Powerful Approach to Making Employee Engagement Efforts Stick

Why change efforts fail: lots of data, little insight

To increase morale, productivity, and profit, creating the right culture and boosting employee engagement is essential in today’s competitive environment. Yet 75 percent of culture change initiatives fail. Why?

Traditional culture change initiatives rely on metrics that give a snapshot of employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity without revealing the mindsets that actually drive behavior. For example, typical employee engagement surveys measure “favorability” towards aspects of a company and its culture, but do not reveal the “why” behind the survey results. Let’s say 57% of employees agree with the statement “processes are well organized and efficient in my work group.” While leaders can benchmark and compare these metrics with prior years and industry standards, they ultimately provide little value for decision-making. Without deeper insight into employee motivations, leaders often launch culture change and engagement initiatives that fall flat—failing to see where their priorities are aligned or misaligned with underlying employee mindsets. We call these mindsets “Organizational Narratives.”

Organizational Narratives: a new tool for understanding and shaping employee mindsets

Organizational Narratives are the deeply rooted, emotional stories that employees tell themselves about a company, its mission, culture, leadership, and future prospects. Like many other types of stories, Organizational Narratives are anchored in beliefs and perceptions, not just objective facts. Monitor 360 applies its proprietary Narrative AnalyticsTM process to help organizations understand, quantify, shape, and monitor their Organizational Narratives. We analyze large volumes of qualitative employee data, surfacing opportunities to reinforce positive elements of employee culture and address sources of friction that impact satisfaction, commitment, and productivity. Because we quantify Organizational Narratives, we enable leaders to make data-driven decisions, set measurable goals, and track progress in shaping critical employee mindsets.

The Method: rigorous data-driven metrics to uncover beliefs at scale

To analyze employee mindsets and extract actionable insights, we use Narrative AnalyticsTM, our powerful proprietary tool that combines cutting-edge “big data” analysis with qualitative synthesis. This process has five steps:

Gather data. We go where employee conversations about the workplace are happening, both internally and externally, amassing large datasets with narrative-rich content.

Validate and cluster. We validate the datasets, ensuring that the sample reflects a robust range of employee views. We feed the anonymized data through a proprietary data analysis tool that organizes the content based on thematic similarity.

Identify Organizational Narratives. We analyze content clusters and extract narratives expressed by employees, separating them from everyday chatter or individual grievances. We then test this full set of narratives—what we call the Narrative LandscapeTM (see below)—in qualitative interviews to ensure that they authentically reflect the voice of employees.

Measure Narrative Impact. We use a variety of metrics to quantify the prevalence and resonance of each narrative—what we call the Narrative Impact—and assess how this varies across employee segments (role, tenure, business line).

Monitor. We track shifts in these narratives to gauge the effectiveness of culture change initiatives over time.

Organizational Narratives: A New, Powerful Approach to Making Employee Engagement Efforts Stick

The Impact: ensuring that culture change investments pay off

Understanding Organizational Narratives can be the difference between success and failure in culture change initiatives. Organizational Narratives provide leaders with a powerful tool to understand and shape employee culture. They offer critical insight into deeply held employee beliefs in a uniquely quantifiable way and point to specific, high-impact strategies for creating a more aligned organization.

The benefits of Organizational NarrativesTM for business and human resources leaders:

  • Provide unique insight into employee mindsets and what drives their behavior
  • Allow leaders to better diagnose business risk connected to company culture
  • Offer a new, actionable toolkit to increase the success rate of critical culture change initiatives
  • Get true insight “beyond the survey” and connect the growing volume of external and internal data to business outcomes
  • Ultimately, improve employee engagement, performance, and retention
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