« DISH has a long history of being an industry disruptor, so we are not afraid to make massive changes to our business to innovate for our customers, employees, and shareholders. Our connectivity company transformation will be our largest and most challenging yet, so we will need to perform at our best. Building the industry’s best team, anchored by very high engagement levels, will be a key to our success as we change the way the world communicates. »

Senior Vice President, Human Resources, DISH Network

Highlights

  • Faced with an evolving industry and new product lines, DISH Network revamped its employee engagement program
  • The organization embarked on a five-year journey from a large, annual survey to a real-time survey released every four months
  • DISH’s new engagement platform has given managers the resources and tools to take concrete action to address engagement issues in their teams

Key Business Benefits

  • Since DISH launched Glint, the average engagement index has increased by 3.3 percentage points across the board—most notably in the areas of prospects, culture, and career.
  • DISH was able to keep a pulse on its employees and address issues as they appeared after both a recent acquisition and the restructuring of select business units.
  • The talent management team uses the qualitative feedback to highlight areas for future development, including leadership development, communications, and other facets.

Background

DISH Network is best known for its satellite and Internet-based pay-TV providers, servicing more than 13 million subscribers. While television distribution has always been at the company’s core, it is transforming into what its leaders call a “connectivity company.” DISH’s vision is to play a major part in a technological evolution in which billions of devices—from autonomous vehicles to smart cities to diagnostic home health care—are connected to the Internet at breakneck speeds. In 2008, DISH began acquiring strategic holdings of wireless spectrum licenses and is building out one of the nation’s largest 5G-compatible wireless networks.

Challenges

To understand employee engagement at DISH, the company launched its first companywide employee engagement survey in 2012. Beyond measuring engagement, DISH intended to determine what the company needed to do to retain employees and attract critical new talent to drive a transformation.

The team repeated the survey for the next three years. While the results provided a good foundation of knowledge, employees felt that follow-up action was not being taken—it often took months for results to cascade down to frontline leaders and team members, and managers struggled to distill meaning and prioritize action items.

In 2015, only 56 percent of employees gave the company “favorable” scores on whether “meaningful action would be taken as a result of the survey.”

The problem was compounded by leaders who were not consistently transparent with results. This meant employees took the survey but rarely heard any follow-up on trends, directional insights, progress updates, or other useful information.

Solution

DISH selected Glint as its employee engagement provider and launched its first survey in 2016.

With the new platform, senior leaders and frontline managers can view results in real time as soon as the survey meets reporting thresholds. The old system often took up to three weeks to produce viewable results.

Department heads across the company can see results of their own teams via a department-level heat map, which highlights areas of concern and success. Furthermore, every senior and executive vice president can view results across the enterprise.

Beyond giving managers results in real time, the new platform also reveals key areas of concern or opportunity for every eligible manager. For example, the survey results show managers which issues are most important to their teams’ engagement levels—such as career, recognition, and work-life balance. These results are based on algorithms, rather than just high and low scores. As of 2018, DISH surveys the entire employee population three times a year.

Results

Employee engagement scores have increased by an average of more than 10 percentage points since DISH began measuring them in 2012. From 2016 to 2017, when DISH launched the new platform, the average engagement index increased by 3.3 percentage points across the board—most notably in the areas of prospects, culture, and career.

With more frequent feedback and insights, DISH’s leaders and managers have been able to identify targeted opportunities to drive sustainable improvements in engagement and their business. For example, DISH was able to keep a pulse on its employees and address issues as they appeared after both a recent acquisition and the restructuring of select business units.

By utilizing more frequent feedback, actionable insights driven by both quantitative and qualitative data, and easily accessible results, DISH has reinvigorated the conversation around employee engagement and strengthened the partnership and mutual accountability between HR and leaders. Today, executives prioritize engagement as a critical driver while the business evolves from pay-TV services to wireless connectivity and Internet-based solutions.

Read the full case study here.