Divisions And Matrices: How To Gather And Act On Employee Feedback In More Complex Organisations

Michael Dean
Divisions And Matrices: How To Gather And Act On Employee Feedback In More Complex Organisations

In all organisations, understanding how to improve employee engagement starts with gathering high-quality feedback, and learning what promotes enthusiasm and commitment at work (or inversely, what causes people to switch off and eventually leave). However, this can become a greater challenge in business with more complex organisational structures.

As a centralised HR function in a matrix organisation or a business split into distinct entities, working with engagement also means understanding: is it the overall company, division or team that employees feel committed to? Who’s responsible for acting on feedback, and how can managers make a coordinated effort to solve issues when reporting lines aren’t straightforward?

I recently discussed this topic with HR leaders at two very different – but equally people focused – organisations, to learn from their approach.

“Delivery Hero is made up of multiple brands, for example hungryhouse in the UK or foodora in multiple countries,” explained Spyros Plessas from the online food ordering service’s headquarters in Berlin. “People feel passionately about the brands they’re part of. It’s a big part of their experience working at Delivery Hero and so when we’re looking to understand and improve this we need to respect that. 

“Although all our employee feedback should come together in one place, small things like having their own brand logos and names in the engagement survey communications is very important for employees to relate to what we’re doing. We need everyone to know that this is something close to them – not feel like it’s going into a black hole or to sit with a consultant for three months – but feedback that will make tangible changes for them.”

Throughout the organisation, to help every managers better understand and react to the needs of their employees, Spyros and his team took a fundamentally new approach –  implementing the Peakon engagement platform. “We understand that employee engagement is not an issue for HR alone, managers are key in this process too. Using Peakon our managers get dedicated insights on what they should focus on in their team, based on the feedback from their employees. 

“If a manager raises something with us, we can effectively step into the manager’s shoes and see what they’re seeing on their dashboard. Rather than the old fashioned way of HR handing down findings and recommendations from a survey, this approach is much more collaborative.”

Another Berlin-based success story is hit mobile games maker, Wooga. There, head of HR, Steven Gillmore works with functional and team leaders in a classic matrix structure.

“At Wooga, building a game is a big investment,” Steven told me. “We have game teams of around 10 to 15 people, however we also have functional leads for areas such as engineering and art direction. A game lead is essentially responsible for the overall success of a project and they should be able to foster their own team culture. However, our CTO for example, is responsible for overall technical excellence and helps our engineers achieve this.

“What’s important in a matrix organisation like ours is that we have the transparency to ensure each manager can perform their role effectively. When our employees provide feedback, both managers need to know and be on the same page as to who’s responsible for acting on it. It can’t sit with one or the other, or wait for the next performance review. With Peakon we have a shared dashboard for employee feedback. This creates the transparency and therefore the accountability that’s required to get the full benefits of a matrix organisation and deliver a consistently great employee experience.”

Both Delivery Hero and Wooga rely on the analytics and insights from Peakon to understand what’s driving the success of their teams. Our recent platform updates make gathering and acting on employee feedback easier than ever, no matter how your organisation is structured.

Matrix organisation, for instance, can now better understand the dynamics of teams who share employees but do not sit horizontally or vertically aligned to one another in an org-chart. While businesses with distinct entities can brand their surveys to suit how employees interact with the company. If you’re new to Peakon or already using the platform, we’d love to walk you through the new insights available today – get in touch

Auteur - Michael Dean