Robidus helps private and public sector organizations manage their obligations and risks around health and employment regulations, while assisting disabled or unwell employees reintegrate with the workplace. The company has almost 500 employees across its offices in Zaandam and Breukelen and it has been part of Aegon NV since 2018. When it wanted to understand its own employees better, Robidus turned to Culture Amp.
The insights Culture Amp’s employee engagement platform delivers have helped Robidus transform its learning and onboarding processes, change how leadership communicates with the company at large, and ensure employee engagement is a boardroom topic.
As a result, Robidus has seen turnover improve, going from 16% in 2021 to 10.5% in 2023 and sickness went from 6% to 4.5% in the same period.
Challenge: Speed of survey data analysis and measuring employee engagement vs assessing competencies
Gaby Wilbrenninck is Robidus’ Director for HR and Facilities. She joined the firm in 2020, initially as HR manager, and subsequently took on responsibility for facilities and internal communications.
The company’s workforce spans a wide range of skills and outlooks – from highly people-oriented employability consultants to extremely analytical and risk-focused insurance specialists, as well as experts in other areas such as IT and testing.
When Gaby joined the company, it was already running a regular employee engagement survey. However, the platform it used was geared towards assessment for competencies, and the questions posed were partly developed by the platform provider, partly by Robidus.
“Successful employee engagement means asking the right questions” Gaby said. “If you make questions suggestive, you don’t get the answers you really need to hear.”
Questions aside, she continued, “The greatest frustration was the tooling itself.” It imposed a large administrative burden and meant long waits for the data. When the data did eventually appear, it was down to Gaby and her team to carry out the analysis in Excel.
The weeks-long delay between survey and analysis using the existing platform also made it “a little bit awkward” for managers when it came to discussing the results with team members.
Solution: Implement Culture Amp to improve employee listening strategy
Gaby had experience utilising dedicated employee engagement platforms from previous roles so recognised the value of having a more appropriate and sophisticated tool that could support Robidus better.
Although many Netherlands organisations work in English, Robidus operates in Dutch and while Gaby looked at some native Dutch platforms she found them too simplistic.
On the recommendation of her counterparts at Aegon, who were already using Culture Amp, Gaby investigated the platform. A demo in Summer 2021 left her impressed with both the survey capabilities in Culture Amp, and the analysis tooling and real-time data access it provides, particularly compared to the Netherlands-specific options she reviewed.
After signing their contract, the first survey using Culture Amp was scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2021.
Survey uploading and distribution went smoothly. The survey was backed with lots of internal communication to encourage participation. This included an initial heads up to managers and team leads, personalized invitations to employees, and two reminders during the survey period.
“We were very pleased with the participation rate,” Gaby said, which was 86% for the first survey.
But, she continues, “We were a little disappointed by the engagement which came in at 61%.” On the plus side, it was instantly apparent how the company could take action, with training and development being the main area to focus on.
The company has always had an extensive training program with its own academy. However, the survey results showed that more effort was needed to highlight this to employees and communicate the available options. The findings also expedited the switch to a new learning management system, to better track who does what and ensure there are clear, distinct learning paths for different roles.
Gaby explained that the debut survey also raised the possibility that “Our leadership was not visible enough.Maybe not open enough, not informing enough.”
This spurred discussion with managers and team leaders on the importance of one-to-one conversations with employees about their development.
A leadership programme was launched to help Robidus’ leaders improve communication, give feedback,and have conversations with the trainers. This covered all team leads, and all managers within the company.
Additionally, Gaby shared that with Culture Amp it helps that managers and leaders can discuss insights and findings as soon as a survey closes – or even before – as they have real time data.
“It’s less awkward for the managers,” explained Gaby. “They only have to pull up the data on their laptop, and they can share the results with the team.”
Robidus now works more actively to improve the overall visibility of the senior leadership team, with monthly business and HR updates. Instead of just the CEO talking at the annual kick-off meeting, it now ensures the other directors are more visible.
Results: Increased engagement and improved attrition, sickness & absenteeism rates
A subsequent survey in March 2023 showed that these actions were clearly paying dividends. Overall, engagement rose from 2021’s 61% to 73% in 2023.
Scores across a range of other metrics also rose.
- Employee turnover improved, going from 16% in 2021 to 10.5% in 2023 and sickness went from 6% to 4.5% in the same period
- Pride in working at Robidus climbed from 71% to 79%, while the proportion of employees who would recommend working at the firm jumped from 81% to 92%.
- The share of employees saying “Robidus motivates me to go beyond what I would do in a similar role elsewhere” leapt from 57% to 75%. This puts Robidus 14% above Culture Amp’s Netherlands benchmark.
Gaby shared that, “What is less visible but feelable on the floor is that people are more productive when they’re happy. Culture Amp and the engagement survey gives us an insight. Are we on the right track? Do we need to do more? Are we forgetting anything?”
But this, on its own, is not enough: “The greatest learning point is that you need to keep communicating.”
Looking ahead: From pulse surveys to well-being
Robidus is using the platform to broaden their engagement with and continue to learn about their workforce. The firm rescheduled a followup up survey to March 2023, and ran quarterly pulse surveys in the meantime.
They have added driver analysis questions and questions regarding wellbeing. They also included questions about the company’s workers’ council which, as with company management, highlighted similar issues around visibility and accessibility. The council has now become active in communicating and asking questions of both the workers and the firm.
“We also use it now for onboarding and exit interviews,” said Gaby. That allows the firm to be more structured about exit interviews, enabling better analysis. “If there are trends, then you can jump on them.”
The results from Culture Amp’s onboarding surveys highlighted that while new starters appreciated the training Robidus offers, condensing all onboarding into one month created a poor experience. Now, Robidus has extended the programme across three months, taking more time to introduce new employees to all the different services Robidus offers its clients along with day-to-day aspects such as HR and IT information.
Overall, since partnering with Culture Amp, Gaby has a better grip on what the workforce thinks.
“I don’t implement changes on just a feeling, I have numbers that show this is really what people feel and think. It's not just one person who said it to me at the coffee machine.”
And this helps well beyond the coffee machine or the shopfloor.
As Gaby says, “[Culture Amp] helps me get a right to play in the boardroom.”