How Adidas is bringing its customer experience approach to employee feedback

Adidas is taking its approach to gathering and responding to consumer feedback and applying it internally for employee feedback and satisfaction with a dynamic, monthly, mobile-first approach.

When director of people analytics Stefan Hierl started at Adidas Group, he found himself wondering why the company was using sophisticated resources to monitor consumer feedback but "archaic methods" internally. "That didn't make any sense to me," he says.

So Hierl went about moving away from the monolithic employee engagement survey of 80 questions, followed by months of analysis and reporting cycles. Now Adidas wants to create more of a constant feedback loop for its employees that better resembles the way it engages with customers.

Working with customer experience software vendor Qualtrics, Adidas is able to capture this feedback from a dedicated mobile app to gather net promoter score (NPS) data from employees.

The new approach is called "People Pulse" and is a fully branded mobile app for internal use, which runs on monthly cycles to capture both open text and 1-10 rating survey responses in a format that takes just five minutes to complete. This is important for a company like Adidas that has a lot of young employees who, according to HR Director Tony Cooke, "won't read email".

The flexibility of the Qualtrics platform means that Adidas can adapt the questions in People Pulse depending on changing business factors, like a change of CEO for example, on the fly.

Employees will be asked how likely they are to recommend working at Adidas and then two open-text questions on what is best and what could be improved about working there.

The respondent will then instantly see the results. "We provide real-time feedback to stakeholders and employees for confidence and trust that we are listening," Hierl says.

Adidas wants to continue to capture this sort of feedback at the appropriate point, and going mobile is a smart approach for this. This mirrors the consumer feedback model, where Adidas wants to get feedback at the appropriate touchpoint, such as straight after a purchase or delivery.

For employees this could be for feedback around the onboarding experience, which the company will request immediately via the app. "If you systematically capture this data you get more insight," Hierl explains.

The Qualtrics platform then performs text analysis on the results and clusters them according to keywords and sentiment. Managers can then easily digest the feedback through their own branded mobile app called Leadership Experience.

Hierl says that the results of People Pulse, internally known as the people score, is now considered a top KPI alongside revenue and share price.

Hierl would like to see the data capture side catch up to the modern day even further, going beyond form filling to more conversational interfaces like chatbots or AI personal assistants like Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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