Mindset case study

Case Study: Momentum Metropolitan

Driving the Employee Experience

Dr Cecile Benade
Group Human Capital: Organisational Effectiveness Lead

Momentum Metropolitan logo

The Company

Momentum Metropolitan Holdings Limited (Momentum Metropolitan) is a financial services group with an employee headcount of ±17 000. The Group's client-facing retail and specialist brands enable businesses and people from all walks of life to achieve their financial goals and life aspirations. With a market capitalisation of R22 billion and an embedded value of R45.4 billion as at 30 June 2022, Momentum Metropolitan remains one of South Africa’s larger life insurers and integrated financial services companies. It conducts its business through operating brands including Metropolitan, Momentum, Guardrisk and Eris Properties.

The Challenge

At the time of the case study, the business was undergoing a major transformation and turnaround after several disappointing years from a business results perspective.  The new People Strategy highlighted an increased focus on human-centricity, building a diverse leadership pipeline, and creating an engaging employee experience.  Central to the strategy was the ability to listen, respond and act to the employee voice.  The strategy was referred to as the “Think Human First” strategy which described the underpinning philosophy of driving a people first culture.

As part of the turnaround strategy, the business was continuously growing through acquisitions and restructures.  Employee listening was, however, conducted in an inconsistent and haphazard manner via a number of different listening instruments and large scale annual surveys with slow feedback cycles, which hampered the ability to timeously respond to employee feedback:

  • The listening tools were not flexible enough to accurately measure and track the employee experience in a highly dynamic organisational environment, which limited the ability to track longitudinal results;
  • The Human Capital (HC) team was not in a position to provide the different business units with the necessary flexibility regarding their measurement cycles, with the result that engagement surveys were conducted at best on an annual or bi-annual basis;
  • Similarly, the inflexible reporting and limited feedback options required a major investment in time and effort by the Human Capital teams to manually consolidate and prepare feedback reports and presentations to equip managers with the results of their teams;
  • Given the shift towards a more holistic human experience, the organisation was also not able to measure key moments that mattered across the employee lifecycle, often realising only after the fact that the employee experience may be lacking in certain areas;
  • The listening approach was focused on employee engagement and did not consistently include employee experience measurements across the employee lifecycle.

The Approach

To embed the new People Strategy with the emphasis on improving the employee experience, Momentum Metropolitan decided to partner with Mindset Management to utilise their Engage EX employee engagement and measurement platform. The approach was to make the platform available across the organisation for Human Capital and line managers to use for gathering employee feedback. The platform would make it possible to create both standardised organisation-wide surveys and decentralised, business unit-specific surveys, and then to effortlessly analyse the aggregate results via the real-time analytics dashboard. The approach would also include introducing employee experience measurements across the employee lifecycle.

The project was conducted in three phases:

Phase 1: Flexible Employee Engagement Measure

Mindset’s Flow@Work engagement survey was deployed as a consistent measure to understand and drive employee engagement across the entire organisation. Measurement cycles with sufficient flexibility to allow the different business units to decide when they wanted to conduct employee or pulse surveys ensured that regular feedback was obtained. The results were accessible to both the HC community and line managers on the Engage EX platform, which enabled a quicker and easier feedback process.

Phase 2: Measuring the Employee Experience

To facilitate continuous listening across the employee lifecycle, the Voice of the Employee (VoE) measurement was conceived and deployed via the platform to measure a number of employee experience touchpoints. To get the process going, a range of custom lifecycle pulse surveys were developed to measure the recruitment, selection and onboarding experience, which were later followed by a series of additional pulses to measure performance and off-boarding/exits.

Integration with the HR system as well as the recruitment system made it possible to listen to both employees and pre-employment candidates on a real-time, daily basis, with custom pulse surveys automatically triggered by specific lifecycle events. Data was available in real-time via the analytics dashboard, and a number of triggers automatically escalated measurements that fell below pre-defined thresholds to designated HC teams so timeous action could be taken.

Phase 3: Customised Measures specific to Momentum Metropolitan

In Phase 3, the focus shifted to the development and deployment of standardised organisation-wide surveys, such as the Employment Equity Barrier survey and the Momentum Metropolitan Culture survey. Employee surveys were in addition decentralised to allow the different divisions to develop and administer at their discretion their own business unit-specific surveys.

To ensure a sufficiently granular and up-to-date team-level view of the survey results, extensive use was made of the Engage EX platform’s Virtual Structure feature to merge the organisational structure as represented on the HR system with the different sets of divisional reporting lines. Business units were empowered to create their own virtual or alternate views of their organisational structures and reporting lines, which were then used as the basis for the administration of employee and pulse surveys as well as for the analysis and interpretation of survey results. This allowed for the most accurate hierarchal structures which enabled drill-down reporting.

The Outcomes

For the 2020 measurement period, a decision was made to utilise the Flow@Work engagement survey across the organisation. The survey results indicated that the Momentum Metropolitan workforce displayed high levels of commitment and willingness above the benchmark norm. Strong scores were achieved in terms of drivers related to Strategic Intent and Feedback.

Personal Development was highlighted in all divisions as one of the lowest scoring drivers. The driver was still higher than the benchmark, but was identified as an important focus area for the organisation since adequate growth opportunities would have a strong impact on the ability to attract and retain employees. This resulted in the different divisions putting a stronger focus on driving education and awareness around existing learning and development opportunities in the various business units. From an HC practice perspective, Talent Management and Career Management were also prioritised as focus areas to further enhance mobility and growth in the organisation.

Recognition & Praise was also identified as a lower scoring engagement driver. Although the organisation had a formal recognition practice and system in place, it was realised that more could be done to encourage people to actively recognise each other both formally as well as informally. Interventions to address this were identified at a business unit level, and included initiatives such as focusing on establishing a culture of appreciation and recognition, creating more transparency around how recognition winners are selected, and asking employees at team level for their input on how to better recognise employees.

The use of Virtual Structures made it possible to dynamically map and track survey results down to team level. More than 60 different virtual structures have been created at divisional and lower levels to address, for instance, reporting lines when measuring employee engagement in large divisions (e.g. Metropolitan Life, with more than 5 000 employees, and Momentum Health with 2 500+ employees), as well as at numerous smaller divisions with employee headcounts that ranged from 200 to 1000.

Virtual Structures also made it easier to decentralise employee surveys to lower levels, with the result that more than 150 different surveys and targeted pulses were conducted by the different divisions and business units to measure among others engagement, culture and employment equity barriers. Engage EX’s analytics dashboard made it possible to view and track survey results in real-time while a survey is still running, with survey results that could be analysed and compared according to any number of different virtual structures. The Engage EX’s analytics platform also made it possible to track progress on initiatives and to compare results of surveys over time. This provided the organisation with valuable insights on the effectiveness of the interventions and changing dynamics of employee engagement across the different business units.

The VoE lifecycle pulses tracked in real-time candidate and employee feedback at different moments across the employee lifecycle, in effect measuring employee experiences on an ongoing basis across the employee journey. The lifecycle pulses made it easier to highlight what works well, and more importantly what HC processes, practices and the use of technology in the Human Capital value chain had to be refined or improved. To illustrate:

  • After pre-employment candidates have applied for a position at the organisation, ‘Attract and apply’ pulse surveys are triggered to solicit feedback from the candidates regarding their application experience, and also to determine how they became aware of the career opportunity. Feedback from this touchpoint confirmed that the majority of applicants became aware of positions through social media platforms, which informed the recruitment strategy and where positions are advertised.
  • Feedback from ‘Interview’ as well as ‘Regret’ pulses highlighted the need to provide feedback timeously, which empowered Human Capital to actively work towards improving the timelines and quality of post-interview feedback. Follow-up pulse surveys validated the impact of the improvements, with the ‘timeous feedback’ rating showing an improvement of 26% over 18 months, and the ‘feel valued’ rating an improvement of 16% over the same period.
  • All new employees who join the organisation receive ‘Onboarding’ pulses at predetermined intervals. For example, the Day-3 and Day-15 onboarding pulses asked the employees whether they required any assistance with the onboarding documentation. Escalation triggers would result in Human Capital business partners providing the necessary support and assistance where required – which contributed towards a more effective and positive onboarding experience for all employees.

In conclusion, constantly measuring the employee experience through decentralised employee surveys and automated lifecycle pulses provided the insights necessary to refine and optimise Human Capital practices to ensure that Momentum Metropolitan remains an employer that #ThinksHumanFirst.